In today’s post, we’re going to talk about the latest trend: Sustainable Architecture and Design.
As humans’ actions have continued to have an adverse effect on the environment, we’ve seen an increase in advocating for a more sustainable lifestyle. Thus, the concept of “green architecture” has come into view, with the goal of stylising and creating buildings that are more “green” and environment-friendly.
But, before we dive into the main features of sustainable architecture, let’s review some key information.
What is green architecture?
Green architecture essentially consists of constructing buildings that use fewer resources, thereby curbing the harsh effects buildings often have on the environment (namely, the emission of pollutants and construction waste). The concept of sustainable architecture monitors the use of water, natural resources, raw materials and energy.
Overall, green architecture helps to reduce the carbon footprint, providing people with an alternative lifestyle architecture that is functional and efficient. When green architectural buildings and spaces have the capacity to generate their own electricity, heat and produce other resources, it has an extremely positive impact on the environment.
Why is it necessary to aid the environment with sustainable architecture?
Unfortunately, human actions have played a major role in the deterioration of natural habitat. Therefore, it is essential that humans do all they can to restore the earth and not contribute to its further destruction.
The architecture and construction sector is particularly carbon-intensive. For example, cement being produced accounts for 5% of greenhouse gases. Similarly, the electricity and heating appliances used in the residential buildings amount to 10.2% and in the corporate buildings account for 6.3% of total CO2 emissions worldwide. So, it’s paramount that we understand the gravity of the current situation, and how sustainable architecture can and should be implemented during the construction of every building.
What are the characteristics of a sustainable design?
As the concept of sustainable architecture continues to increase in importance and popularity, both individual architects and larger firms are working hard to incorporate elements of sustainable architecture.
Interestingly, many architects are interested in finding solutions correlated with the varying resources and needs of their specific locations. For example, in some countries, people have come up with innovative methods to harness water and make this resource available to communities with less access. In other places that receive a great deal of sunlight, architects are constructing buildings that can capture and convert solar rays to be later used for heating of the residential areas.
The following list contains even more examples of actively incorporating green and sustainable elements into modern-day architecture:
- Use of lighting and internal appliances which are energy-effective.
- Presence of proper ventilation structures for productive heating and cooling of the building.
- Making use of the building to harness solar energy.
- Use of renewable energy resources (such as solar power, hydropower, and wind power).
- Fixtures and taps with water-saving features.
- The minimal scope of any damage to the natural surroundings.
- Use of non-toxic materials and any other non-synthetic materials in the building.
- Sourcing nearby wood, bricks, and stones to avoid excessive transportation of materials.
- Repurposing of old structures for new functions.
Before we continue our discussion on sustainability, let’s review a quick real-world example of green architecture in action:
Did you know that the site of the 2012 Olympic Games held at London was actually an old field that was modified by Great Britain specifically for the Olympics? Their ideas and actions led to the process of cleaning the waterways, renewing concrete and other building materials, use of rail and water for proper dispatch of necessary materials, and many others. Thus, they presented the world with a historic implementation of sustainability.
How does virtual reality aid in green architecture?
Virtual reality, put simply, is a computer-generated representation of an image or environment that can be interacted with using a dedicated software or electronic device. It’s long been an important buzzword in the industry, but especially so when thinking about sustainable architecture.
VR in architecture has seen immense success in virtual walkthroughs, which allow architects and interior designers to give their clients a realistic spatial understanding of an unbuilt space. It also enables two-way communication, as the client can not only immerse themselves in the design professional’s vision for space but can also give feedback and suggestions in real-time, that can then easily be incorporated by the architect or designer.
This point is especially relevant when it comes to sustainable architecture – if there are minimal changes and revisions that need to be made later on, then construction – and subsequent harmful emissions – can be reduced as well.
How are green buildings rated?
Did you know that green buildings have a rating system? This system helps ensure that buildings are up-to-standard in their sustainability – and it also encourages builders to increase their green-ness in order to maximize their score.
The most commonly used green building rating system worldwide is LEED, short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. All of the building communities, architects, designers, and developers adhere to this rating system, whose framework is built around three ideals: energy-efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and eco-friendliness.
The projects whose goal it is to achieve LEED certification can acquire points in several categories. These include efficiency in terms of energy and power, air quality, water usability, and many others. With enough points earned, a building can secure one of four LEED ratings: Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum. This certification is valid for any type of architectural activity. ranging from any personal building space to a commercial structure.
Whether you’re an architect or designer looking to create more sustainable buildings, or you’re just interested in the various ways to “greenify” your space, we’re here for you!
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