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Sewanee: The University of the South

Publication Date

Fall 2022

Program Name

Portugal: Sustainability and Environmental Justice


Sustainable development in the built environment seems paradoxical given that the architecture, construction, and buildings sector is one of most polluting, wasteful, and inefficient industries. Despite this notion, the role of the architect is evolving and their influence on design is expanding beyond ideas for physical structures and into designing interactions between the built environment and components such as policy, material usage, sustainability, and urban regeneration. Architects that are able to implement paradigm shifting design ideas that improve the environmental, social, and economic dimensions of sustainability can be catalytic for systemic change and act as a vehicle to move away from linear systems and into circular models. This study aims to review international building sustainability assessment methods (BSAM) used by architects to assess the extent that sustainable building criteria are being fulfilled. The study will then address the limitations that these models have in measuring sustainability criteria through a process-based lens. The paper presents specific modifications to the Simplified Method for Evaluating Building Sustainability (SMEBS) which was also created to address limitations in BSAM. Modifications to the SMEBS model will be implemented through the context of Lisbon’s historical and current sustainability initiatives.


Architecture | European Languages and Societies | Place and Environment | Sustainability | Urban Studies and Planning


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