Sustainability in Architecture

Architect are receiving more and more requests for sustainable projects and everything starts with research. The first thing to do is to inspect the site and determine the existing conditions of the environment. That also includes, regulations, laws and requirements for the project. If you are building something that will serve a community you have to chat with the locals, because cultural or religious views can be different just around the block.

Next step is going to do the sketching. To offer different types of design and choices of various materials. Creating a model is also important, 3D printed ones can explain everything better than just a simple 2D sketch. It will help clients visualize the object better and how it would look in the big picture. While creating the 3D model, you will have to think about energy sustainability and materials that would work best for the design.

Energy Efficiency

To be sustainable means to be energy efficient in every step, and not to build something that will stand there for hundreds of years while emitting pollution or damaging the environment in any other way. That means that, the implementation of active and passive techniques to reduce energy is a must. Like capture energy or creating a way for the building to generate its own. The right placement for the building is everything, the goal is to create a design which works with its natural surroundings and not against them. Good insulation in the building is required to reduce the amount of heating, and to keep the building cooler during warm seasons instead of building air conditioning systems which very wasteful.

Solar panels can be added on the roof or in the yard to generate electricity for the building or even the surrounding area. Solar panels would also enable heating for the building and water heating using electricity. Small wind turbines can also generate electricity and be as effective as solar panels in creating a sustainable building.

Building Materials

If you want to have a sustainable architectural masterpiece, you have to choose your materials wisely to make sure that they won’t have any negative impact on society and the environment. Reclaimed wood is going to help reduce energy consumption. Demolished old buildings have a lot of usable lumber, which can be reclaimed, renewed and made into something new and beautiful like window frames, doors, or floors. If you choose to use new materials for a sustainable building, look into those materials, that can be reused like a bamboo. Bamboo is being harvested every 6 years, but for timber it takes decades. Straws are a wasteful material which can be pressed into panels. For example, corn of an oak tree can be used without cutting the whole tree down.

Architects like to use materials that are already found on site. If trees need to be cut down to build a new structure, that wood can be used for building. It will reduce energy costs for transporting new material to the construction site. Sustainable architecture also means using materials that are low- impact. VOC is volatile organic compound. For example, cellulose or recycled denim are low VOC as milk-based paints. Some organic or green products contain natural VOC.

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