playlist

Sustainability by design

Humans are builders and creators—but how can we build thoughtfully, without waste? These talks explore sustainable design—both past and present—and its beautiful, inspiring results.

  1. 6:13
    Catherine Mohr The tradeoffs of building green

    In a short, funny, data-packed talk at TED U, Catherine Mohr walks through all the geeky decisions she made when building a green new house — looking at real energy numbers, not hype. What choices matter most? Not the ones you think.

  2. 4:04
    Kamal Meattle How to grow fresh air

    Researcher Kamal Meattle shows how an arrangement of three common houseplants, used in specific spots in a home or office building, can result in measurably cleaner indoor air.

  3. 7:32
    Rachel Armstrong Architecture that repairs itself?

    Venice, Italy is sinking. To save it, Rachel Armstrong says we need to outgrow architecture made of inert materials and, well, make architecture that grows itself. She proposes a not-quite-alive material that does its own repairs and sequesters carbon, too.

  4. 13:46
    Michael Pawlyn Using nature's genius in architecture

    How can architects build a new world of sustainable beauty? By learning from nature. At TEDSalon in London, Michael Pawlyn describes three habits of nature that could transform architecture and society: radical resource efficiency, closed loops, and drawing energy from the sun.

  5. 10:58
    Mike Biddle We can recycle plastic

    Less than 10% of plastic trash is recycled — compared to almost 90% of metals — because of the massively complicated problem of finding and sorting the different kinds. Frustrated by this waste, Mike Biddle has developed a cheap and incredibly energy efficient plant that can, and does, recycle any kind of plastic.

  6. 9:05
    Eben Bayer Are mushrooms the new plastic?

    Product designer Eben Bayer reveals his recipe for a new, fungus-based packaging material that protects fragile stuff like furniture, plasma screens — and the environment.

  7. 2:56
    Mitchell Joachim Don't build your home, grow it!

    TED Fellow and urban designer Mitchell Joachim presents his vision for sustainable, organic architecture: eco-friendly abodes grown from plants and — wait for it — meat.

  8. 17:14
    Anupam Mishra The ancient ingenuity of water harvesting

    With wisdom and wit, Anupam Mishra talks about the amazing feats of engineering built centuries ago by the people of India's Golden Desert to harvest water. These structures are still used today — and are often superior to modern water megaprojects.

  9. 13:21
    Pam Warhurst How we can eat our landscapes

    What should a community do with its unused land? Plant food, of course. With energy and humor, Pam Warhurst tells at the TEDSalon the story of how she and a growing team of volunteers came together to turn plots of unused land into communal vegetable gardens, and to change the narrative of food in their community.

  10. 17:57
    Dan Phillips Creative houses from reclaimed stuff

    In this funny and insightful talk from TEDxHouston, builder Dan Phillips tours us through a dozen homes he's built in Texas using recycled and reclaimed materials in wildly creative ways. Brilliant, low-tech design details will refresh your own creative drive.

  11. 18:07
    Leyla Acaroglu Paper beats plastic? How to rethink environmental folklore

    Most of us want to do the right thing when it comes to the environment. But things aren’t as simple as opting for the paper bag, says sustainability strategist Leyla Acaroglu. A bold call for us to let go of tightly-held green myths and think bigger in order to create systems and products that ease strain on the planet.

  12. 8:43
    Jessica Green We're covered in germs. Let's design for that.

    Our bodies and homes are covered in microbes — some good for us, some bad for us. As we learn more about the germs and microbes who share our living spaces, TED Fellow Jessica Green asks: Can we design buildings that encourage happy, healthy microbial environments?