SUSTAINBILITY THEORY AND CONCEPTS
Sustainability, as defined by The Brundtland Commission, strives to achieve the following: (1) maintenance of economic well-being, (2) social progress, and (3) environmental protection for the present and future generation through the use of various assessment methods such as life
cycle assessment, life cycle cost analysis, and sustainability indicators. These various integrated methods of assessment attempt to evaluate the impacts of various processes, products, and activities over a set lifetime. They are also used to compare alternatives from a systematic, holistic perspective. Results from such a study that utilizes integrated assessment methods to gauge the environmental, economic and societal impacts of competing alternatives may be used as a guide to aid in decision-making in selecting and implementing the most appropriate strategy. Such integrated assessment methods can also be used in determining where improvements/innovative strategies can be made. The following paragraphs cover the basic concepts and theories of sustainability including the methods of various methods of assessment and how such methods lead to innovation. The concepts of sustainability as covered in the Introduction section are applied to the built environment as a system.