6 Sustainable Design Solutions Your Architectural Design Services Should Use

6 Sustainable Design Solutions Your Architectural Design Services Should Use

Sustainability is about making sure that the natural resources we use have a minimal negative impact on the environment. This allows future generations to harvest the same resources for a better quality of life.

When implemented to design, sustainability requires architects, freelance interior designers, and homeowners to carry out environmentally-friendly practices beginning with the construction process all the way to homeownership.

Despite all that, architectural services can minimize the environmental footprints of buildings as much as occupants can reduce their negative impact on the ecosystem. Both can work together to put the following six sustainable design solutions to practice.

Healthy Indoor Environments

For an architect, creating a healthy environment means ensuring the health, safety, and comfort of a structure’s interior with a steady supply of fresh air, HVAC powered by clean energy, and efficient insulation. Furthermore, the elements of interior design, such as furniture and paint, must not release harmful substances detrimental to health.

Indoor air pollution has consistently ranked among the top environmental threats to public health, according to comparative risk studies by EPA’s Science Advisory Board. Sources of pollution indoors may include excess moisture, fuel-burning combustion appliances, deteriorated asbestos-containing insulation, chemical-based cleaning solutions, and unsafe building materials. Certain pressed-wood products may have been treated with harmful chemicals.

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Choosing low VOC (volatile organic compounds) building products should be an architectural design service’s top priority. Natural and electricity-assisted ventilation is equally as important to keep indoor air fresh and circulating all the time. Use easy-care plants as natural air filters inside and carpets to trap dust particles between vacuuming.

A healthy interior must also allow access to natural light as much as possible in most (preferably all) rooms. Tall ceilings are not only for overhead decorative spaces, but also to make the buildings airier and brighter. If need be, the overall design should encourage the occupants to take a walk by implementing the clever placement of shared resources and stairs.

Longevity and Flexibility

All architectural detailing services want their designs to last and require low maintenance. The use of non-combustible building materials and environmentally-friendly components (non-toxic) is a smart choice. In addition to designing for aesthetics, another aspect of longevity is safety.

For example, easily accessible entryways and pathways help reduce the chances of accidents and injuries. Security fixtures, including alarms and sensor systems for fire, smoke, intruders, and other potential threats, are mandatory.

The lifespan of the materials used matters much in the design plan, but even more so in areas utilized the most which experience a lot of wear. Designing for longevity requires the architect to build something both structurally durable and of a timeless style. To put it in other words: quality over quantity, classic over trendy, functionality over embroidery.

Durable is not synonymous with unchangeable. Instead, the best word to describe longevity, at least in an architectural practice, is flexibility. It is almost impossible to prevent the occupants from changing or multiplying. As occupants grow in number and their tastes shift with new ideas, the space that they live in also needs to reflect those changes. The occupants may want more rooms, upgraded home appliances, and an expansion of the existing building.

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This presents a challenge for an architectural planning and design service because most structurally sound buildings are not meant to undergo a major overhaul without compromising overall strength. Modular homes are excellent ideas with one major drawback: the most common models are constructed with a timber frame, which may create problems concerning fire resistance and heat accumulation. Timber is much more flammable than brick, and it does not accumulate heat from the day. In the event of an interruption of the heating unit, a timber house cools down very quickly.

Flexibility has only to exist in spaces that will need it to accommodate inevitable future changes. When occupants need more rooms, they should modify the interior walls and create more space. The technology for fire-resistant modular walls is already here, as well as modular flooring. Both allow for easy personalization and replacement of individual pieces.

Waste Management

Easy maintenance is relevant to both the longevity and waste management issue. Homes and spaces that are difficult to clean and maintain suffer from damage and likely left untreated. Over time, the damage goes beyond repair, which necessitates replacement. Not only is renovation expensive, but it also generates more waste. Investing in sturdy and easy-to-clean materials or components can save costs in the long run.

RELATED: Solar Architectural Design Solutions for Buildings

An architectural drawing service has plenty of options when it comes to waste management. A sturdy plumbing system should not allow for wasteful water use, while on-site composting will cycle back any food waste to replenish the soil. High-efficiency toilets and low flow (water-saving) fixtures have also become the standard.

Storm-water management strategies must be taken into account, as well. Rainfall on an untouched site is immediately absorbed back into the ground, replenishing natural water. On a building, however, water runs off surfaces and into storm drains. From there, it goes straight into a natural reservoir such as a lake or river. The use of pervious pavement can also reduce runoff.

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Whether or not the idea for better waste management comes to fruition depends entirely on the occupants. At the very least, the ArchiCAD design services offer easy solutions to help homeowners dispose of used resources (including water and food) efficiently so that waste doesn’t bring negative impacts to the environment.

Low Environmental Impact

On the architects’ part, it is also pleasing to see that people are no longer fond of disposables. In the past, a disposable item was considered a convenience. Now, disposables are a nuisance as they get in the way of sustainability.

As the world is having a surge of interest in sustainability, architects are taking part in the global effort to reduce waste. The rule of thumb is to use recycled products for building materials. The smartest choice for any construction is to take resources available from the building site itself or its immediate surroundings. In most cases, people cannot just repurpose used items without further processing. Recycled materials are actually synthetic goods manufactured from recycled waste.

Even if architectural model making services don’t have the luxury of quickly repurposing ready-made products, interior designers should. Organic materials (for example, natural stone, wood, and wool) are all renewable, albeit at a different pace. Workers have to extract them in an environmentally responsible way to lower the negative impact on the ecosystem. There needs to be an evaluation regarding the production, processing, transportation, and proper disposal of each material prior to extraction.

Passive and Active Sustainable Designs

Architectural services have two approaches to sustainable design:

  • Passive Strategies: An attempt to ensure sustainable design by letting the building itself do the work. Thoughtfulness in shape, form, and placement of the building’s components goes a long way. For example, to harness daylight and efficient airflow, architectural BIM services must consider the climate and sun orientation relative to the building site. Placement of windows and other natural ventilation can increase thermal comfort without high energy consumption. Fan-forced models should be used only if the building receives no regular breeze or sits in a place where the nighttime temperature is high. The utilization of solar panels is also part of this passive approach.
  • Active Strategies: When the building (as the brainchild of an architect alone) cannot maintain reasonable sustainability, an architectural service may bring in experts from other fields, including electrical and freelance mechanical engineers, to construct high-efficiency systems designed to minimize environmental footprints.

There is never a rule that an architectural service cannot implement both strategies together.

Energy Efficiency

Residential and commercial buildings are among the major contributors of greenhouse gas emissions. Fuel combustion for cooking and heating emits carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). Wastewater treatment plants emit CH4 and N2O, while organic waste in landfills emits CH4. Refrigeration and air conditioning systems emit hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) when leaking or during servicing.

And then there are indirect emissions, like those from the burning of fossil fuels at a power plant to generate electricity for buildings.

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Freelance 3D architectural rendering services cannot, on their own, solve the problem, but they can deliver a large contribution to reducing greenhouse gasses with designs built for energy efficiency. Nearly all appliances require electric power, and the electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels.

The alternatives have been available for a while now, including solar panels and wind farms. However, not every place in the world has access to those clean sources of energy. If there is no other way but to power buildings using fuel-combustion electricity, architects can build with efficiency in mind.

Heating and air conditioning take a lot of electricity, but energy consumption is possibly minimized by implementing adequate thermal insulation and window placement. Once the interior reaches a comfortable temperature, either low or high, the walls can keep it at a steady level for many hours. Well-insulated spaces also require less heat-generating and dissipating power to begin with, especially with enough ventilation to replace polluted indoor air with a fresh supply from the outside.

Glass windows along with blinds and shades give homeowners control over the amount of sunlight that comes through the interior. They can open and close the accessories to let light in and for privacy. The use of reflective surfaces and bright paints in interior spaces helps increase the amount of light without adding more lamps.

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