Skip to main content

Author: David

Sustainable Design : Waste not Want not

Ireland generates 587kg of waste per person per year. Well above European average! According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the total amount of waste generated in Ireland (industrial, commercial, household) at the last survey ‘was 19.8 Million tonnes, which is equivalent to 4.3 tonnes per person.’  With all our data relating to waste, the environmental impact of current consumer markets, and the catastrophic effect of unsustainable manufacturing practices, we can no longer ignore these figures.

The golden rule of good design is innovation.

Is it innovative to design with unsustainable materials and non-green production procedures? Despite advancement in technology our current standards of design and manufacturing steer us on a path of self-destruction. Heavily influenced by consumerism we hold unsustainable economic values as our main production driver. We have bought into a global throw-away society, favouring cheap single use design typically made from non-renewable resources and toxic materials.

Scientists have declared humanity’s impact on the planet so significant that Earth has officially entered a new geological era, the Anthropocene. Our planet is undergoing a mass extinction event, only the 6th since the beginning of complex life 700million years ago. To make matters worse we are the one causing it! We pump over 40 billion tonnes of CO2 into the earths atmosphere every year. We have altered over 50% of the Earths land, and through our direct actions 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours.

Time to set sustainable design standards! We must develop environmentally responsive systems, adopt green thinking methodologies, and take corrective action to make environmental responsibility a reality. Now is the time for great design innovation.

Great design is sustainable design.

Sustainable design is not just a concept involving a set of principles, it is a way of thinking that takes an ecological approach to design solutions. A process that integrates environmentally friendly methods, and considers natural resources as part of the design. Sustainable technologies, for example, use less energy, fewer limited resources, do not deplete natural resources, do not directly or indirectly pollute the environment, and can be reused or recycled at the end of their useful life.

Contrary to common belief sustainability does not mean going without. It means thinking ecologically and designing with an interconnected framework. It is as much about process as it is about product. According to the World Commission on Environment and Development, sustainability is ‘a form of development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’

Sustainable design is not just a structure it is a way of building the future.

This article was written by one of our students as part of our Graphic Design for Print course.  

Article by Ashleigh Downey I Nature Connect : Solutions I

How do I balance study with a full time job and still have a life?

It is true that it is no joke taking on additional study while working full time and trying to have a life but it can be done with a little preparation and effort you can have the best of all worlds and a qualification in one year.  It is a very achievable goal to set yourself. So what are you waiting for?  Here are some tips to make it easier.


Create a schedule and stick to it

Be realistic if you already have 23 hours of your day accounted for then schedule 40 minutes a day for some intense study.  Most courses take between 10 and 20 hours per week to really master and stay on top of all the materials.

Study smart.

Even a part time course will have a great deal of additional reading required so make sure to be clever about how you spend your time.  Use your commute (audio books are great if you are doing the driving).  Miss traffic by going in to work early or staying late and get an extra hour study done.

Choose your topic wisely

I cannot not tell you how important it is to enjoy what you are studying (especially for a thesis) but if you can also make it work related then you get to “study” while doing the day job.  This way you can talk to people who have done similar projects before and network with the right people.

Get it done

Procrastination is the killer of a good study routine.  Schedule time 4 or 5 days a week to get some study in (not every day – you need a break to assimilate all that knowledge you are gathering).

Take notes and type them up

Take as many notes as you can in class and type up those that are of interest to you or may be useful for assignments.  Also take notes while you read and PLEASE remember to keep a list of references that you will need. There are lots of software programmes that can do this for you or just keep a simple excel spreadsheet but keep it as you go along. If you take nothing else from this blog remember that, you will thank me I promise.

Avoid distractions

While you are studying, study!  Turn off the phones and social media. No unnecessary noise or interruptions. Set an alarm for about 50 minutes and stand up and walk around a bit. Drink some water, stretch. Then get back to it.

Take care of yourself

Your health, diet and exercise regime all affect your ability to learn and retain information.  Be good to yourself eat as much fresh, healthy food as you can and cut back on the alcohol it really does affect memory. When drinking your brain processes slow down and your memory can be impaired (


Check out all the possible courses we have available from certificates to Diploma and Masters get the qualifications that you deserve now!