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Mark DeKay, chair of graduate architecture at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has broken new ground in the design theory field with a book that applies integral theory to sustainable design.

The new book, entitled Integral Sustainable Design, transformative perspectives, lays new track as it suggests that technical aspects are only a quarter of the sustainability pie, and that one of the reasons the desire for sustainable architecture has not been fully embraced is that other equally important realms of sustainability have been sorely missing. DeKay’s intention was to help create a breakthrough in the effectiveness of the sustainable design movement.

DeKay’s book “could well turn out to be the most important book yet published on sustainable design,” according to Gary Coates, the Regnier Distinguished Chair of Architecture at Kansas State University. Coates is a leading voice and internationally known expert in sustainable design.

Integral Sustainable Design offers practical and theoretical tools for more effective sustainable design solutions and for communicating sustainable design ideas to today’s diverse stakeholders. It uses integral theory to make sense of the many competing ideas in this arena and offers a powerful conceptual framework for sustainable designers. Profuse with illustrations and examples, the book offers many conceptual tools, including:

  • Twelve principles of integral sustainable design
  • Six perceptual shifts for ecological design thinking
  • Ten injunctions for designing connections to nature

The book was released by United Kingdom-based Earthscan Publishing, which specializes in books about sustainability.

DeKay, who also co-authored the first paper on integral design, has centered much of his work on finding ways to measure and adjust for energy uses in architectural design. He has spent more than twenty-five years working as a technically oriented researcher in the sustainable architecture realm.

DeKay also is the co-author of Sun, Wind & Light, architectural design strategies, 2nd edition (Wiley, 2001). DeKay is an associate professor of architecture and director of graduate studies in the College of Architecture and Design at UT Knoxville. He is a registered architect, co-director of the UT online continuing education Certificate in Sustainable Design and Green Building, and honorary fellow of the Institute of Green Professionals.

For more information about DeKay’s new book, visit

For more information on other UT faculty authors, visit the Books section of Quest, UT Knoxville’s comprehensive research initiative, at