Read this well-researched article to know 6 Key Principles to Create Sustainable Architectural Designs for the present and the future
As technology advances, it should come as no surprise that people are looking for newer and better ways to improve life within their homes. This includes basic things like heating and air conditioning, to more modern touches like automated appliances and systems created for maximum convenience. Add it all up, and the energy consumption is higher than it's ever been.
In the United States, buildings alone account for 68% of the total electricity use, 38% of CO2 emissions, and 39% of energy use overall. As the demand for comfort and convenience increases, these numbers will only rise if eco-friendly solutions aren't put into place.
Fortunately, there is much to combat these growing numbers.
Creating more sustainable buildings begins with the architect and their principles. Those that are working towards an eco-friendlier future in architecture will follow these six principles -
Active sustainable design includes minimizing the environmental footprint of the building elements that regularly consume energy.
Architects will consult with electrical and mechanical engineers to install high-efficiency systems plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems. When these are done correctly and sustainably from the start, they will naturally consume less energy regardless of what those in the building do.
Passive sustainable design is creating the static parts of the house in a thoughtful and eco-friendly way. For example, positioning windows to maximize the natural sunlight based on climate and location, reducing the building's need for artificial lighting.
Architects who are being intentional about sustainability will also consider things like thermal mass techniques. An example is thicker walls - they absorb the heat from sunlight throughout the day and release it at night, reducing the building's need for heating.
Renewable energy systems are things that harness the power of wind and solar energy to power the building. Solar panels, for example, are slowly becoming more and more common in both commercial and residential buildings.
These are often successfully used in tandem with other passive design elements to further reduce the need for energy consumption.
People don't often think about conserving rainwater, but it's just as important as anything else. On natural, bare ground, rainwater that doesn't evaporate would absorb itself back into the ground and naturally replenish the water table.
When a building is in the way, this doesn't happen. Rainwater runs off paved surfaces and into drains instead.
If you implement stormwater retention strategies as you're building, you can reduce the negative impact the building has on the environment by ensuring more water goes where it naturally should. These strategies include, pervious pavement which reduces runoff, or a retention pond to capture runoff and release it back into the ground.
There are a couple of things architects can do here. First, they can commit to purchasing only the most sustainable materials, such as steel, concrete, and lumber. They can also seek out the most sustainable carpeting and other furnishings.
Secondly, they can commit to only purchasing from companies that use sustainable sourcing and manufacturing methods. In this way, they are doing all they can to ensure their materials are as kind to the environment as possible.
Lastly, the choice of landscaping is significant, especially when it comes to the amount of water a building consumes. Architects can significantly reduce the building's irrigation needs by using grasses, trees, and plants that are native to the area.
Landscaping is also considered a passive energy strategy. Trees, for example, can provide shade to roofs and windows during the day, thus reducing the amount of air conditioning needed.
While there is much an architect can do during construction, one can also design the building to reduce the environmental footprint. These are known as "greenhouses," and it's a building that is eco-friendly from start to finish, including everything from design, through to maintenance and even eventual demolition. There are several design principles that, when followed, create a sustainable building.
This involves utilizing the site itself in the most eco-friendly way possible. One must consider the location and its current eco-system, and the building placed to affect and change it as little as possible. This consideration even includes transportation and energy use. The building's main entrance should be easily accessible by the road and without requiring unnecessary driving to reach it.
Ultimately, we should aim to operate net-zero energy buildings as this is a significant way to reduce our dependency on energy derived from fossil fuels. Efficient energy use involves using every single part of the house in the best way possible, from walls and lighting down to those using the building to be conscious of their energy consumption.
Achieving a net-zero home means producing as much renewable energy as you use. Reaching this goal requires a combination of suitable equipment, systems, and materials and a solid effort on the part of the residents.
Water has a huge impact on a building's environmental footprint, and a green building is one that uses water as efficiently as possible. For example - the stormwater management. Sustainable ways of dealing with rainwater is a big step towards becoming a green building.
The building should also be sure to recycle and reuse the water for their purposes, when possible.
The truth is that the world is running out of natural resources, even though the population continues to increase. A sustainable building keeps this in mind and makes every possible effort to both use and reuse materials in the best and most efficient way possible throughout its entire life cycle.
This includes using or repurposing recycled materials when possible and buying from sustainable companies when it's not.
The IEQ of a building is important as it not only affects the environment, but it impacts the health and comfort of those living in the building.
An example of a building with good IEQ is one that maximizes natural daylight with properly placed windows. It should also have good moisture control and ventilation. This reduces the need for materials and devices with high VOC emissions.
Lastly, designers of a green building should select systems and materials that reduce the need for maintenance and repairs down the line. This could mean choosing systems with automated controls for things like water and energy, to prevent waste.
It also includes little things like operational staff/residents using eco-friendly, efficient, and non-toxic cleaning compounds. Proper cleaning will reduce higher maintenance costs in the long run and keep the building healthier for everyone. Everything adds up, and even the little things count - it's important for the building to remain sustainable for its entire life cycle.
It may not seem like one building can make a difference, but that's not true. If everyone committed to building greener buildings, the whole world would be in better shape. Outsource2india offers an array of design and architectural services that proudly support green building and sustainable energy architecture.
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