Sustainable architecture refers to structures being designed to sustain users by improving the quality of life with healthy environments and minimal production of waste. It is the practice of designing buildings aimed to promote efficient use of resources.
Sustainability in architecture is, at its core, the attempt to curb the negative environmental impact of buildings by implementing eco-friendly design methods and development processes to avoid adding unnecessary damage and destruction to the surrounding ecosystem. Architectural design services would be wise to adopt this approach, as it is the future.
The practice is reflected in construction methods, materials of choice, and how users harness energy to power essential utilities for well-being, including electricity, water, HVAC, and wastewater treatment. In simple words, the buildings constructed today must not create negative environmental consequences for generations to come.
How Can Architecture Be Sustainable?
One can argue that most buildings of the past were sustainable when they were being worked on by architectural drafting services. In addition to providing structures that met locals’ needs, construction methods often took advantage of local resources and skills in an efficient manner to save costs.
As the community changes, concerns over the depletion of natural resources and environmental damage become more intense. Factors such as climate change, demographic growth, urbanization, pollution, and lifestyle changes in favor of renewable resources combine and intersect in various ways to demand radical improvements over the traditional architectural paradigm.
What was an ideal architectural design a decade ago is no longer considered suitable given the ongoing decline of the natural world. It is good to see that the general public, government, and professional communities show widening appreciation for energy-efficient buildings.
Design and construction methods that worked well in the past have become difficult to afford. Even if a freelance architectural animation service insists on implementing old design methods and attaining approval from the project manager, the final product may not meet the renewed demands of the public and local community.
Sustainability is not only about the resources required to build the structure, but also how people can live comfortably in and around the structure without negatively affecting the ecosystem.
New policies are created in an attempt to force and govern the creation of new buildings. These guidelines include regulations for construction methods, materials deemed environment-friendly, waste management systems, energy efficiency, and so on.
Sustainable architecture provides guidelines to bridge the gap between the decline of traditional solutions and the expectations of future generations.
Sustainable Best Practices for Architects
A sustainable building is one that uses natural resources in a way that does not harm the environment. When that goal is achieved, both the building and the resources required to keep it running can continue to coexist. The goal is to avoid the depletion and destruction of natural resources to maintain ecological balance among the structures, users, and the environment at large.
A building designed by an architectural planning and design service for sustainability features a balanced system in which the waste produced from energy usage is outweighed by how the environment utilizes that waste. An effective way to reach that goal is to allow waste to become the fuel to replenish energy sources. In other words, the output of one process turns into the input of another.
A typical example of such a process is composting, where organic materials such as food waste and manure are converted into natural fertilizers. Composting creates a somewhat stable balance between the amount of resources users take from the environment and what users give back for future use.
Then there are solar panels, which absorb renewable energy from the sun and convert it into electricity to power appliances with zero fossil fuel.
Natural renewable resources in sustainable architecture are utilized to not degrade or diminish their usefulness for generations to come. Not so long ago, solar panels became the most popular idea to fulfill that purpose, and they are widely used today.
The concept of clean energy has gradually expanded to water use, air purification, food production, wastewater treatment, and energy efficiency.
Since sustainable architecture also deals with construction methods, the concept must encompass raw materials used as well as the type and amount of waste or byproducts created both from the construction process and by inhabitants or their activities. Given those challenges now in the bigger picture, an architectural site plan design is considered sustainable if they manage to conform to the following principles:
There are two equally important elements involved in creating a healthy interior. First, the materials and overall building must not emit potentially dangerous substances.
Second, there should be no toxic gasses released into the atmosphere inside or outside the building. Additional measures can be taken, for example, the use of plants and solar-powered air filtration. An interior design service can help.
Efficient Use of Resources
Solar panels are a prime example of energy efficiency, but other techniques or methods are used to minimize the use of even renewable resources.
Smart placement of ventilation and insulation in the right places throughout a building ensures effective cooling, heating, and lighting systems to conserve (if not eliminate) energy use. The installation of energy-efficient bathroom fixtures can also help minimize water use.
Materials are selected based on toxic waste production, as in only the materials that create a minimum amount of waste are used. If wood is the material of choice, everything must be acquired through non-destructive forestry practices. Recycled materials are the most ideal choice, but the cost to produce this type of material must be taken into account.
The goal of an architectural project is to create a good balance between function and form. In today’s sustainability purpose, the function takes an expansion and now includes a harmonious relationship among the ecosystem, inhabitants, and the building itself.
It is not just comfort and convenience, but also a focus on the site’s ecology and the surrounding environment. In general, drafting services, building materials, and products must help reduce the destruction of the global environment.
All principles of sustainable architecture point to efficient design. All possible measures are taken to ensure long-lasting beneficial relationships among construction technology, land use, mechanical system, electrical system, inhabitants’ well-being, and nature.
As challenging as it seems, sustainable architecture is not a new concept. Brilliant freelance BIM modeling services worldwide have managed to deliver prime examples of how the new paradigm could effectively translate into reality without sacrificing good design.
Known Sustainable Architectural Designs
Many assume that green architecture is only possible at the expense of beauty, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth, as proven by the following designs:
Taipei 101 (Taipei)
Designed in 2004 by C.Y. Lee and C.P. Wang in Xinyi, the Taipei 101 skyscraper is soaring high at 1,667 feet tall. It was the tallest building in the world for six years between 2004 and 2010.
One of the best parts is implementing low-flow water fixtures throughout the facility to save around 7.4 million gallons of water per year. Overall, the water usage is about 30% lower than the average building.
Bank of America Tower (New York City)
American architect Rick Cook is the man behind the creation of the Bank of America Tower located in New York City. It will be forever remembered as a piece of engineering marvel that stands at the forefront of sustainable architecture throughout history.
The building features window glazing from floor to ceiling to trap heat (and therefore minimize energy use for the heating system) and maximize natural light (which once again reduces electric power to a great extent).
Oasia Hotel (Singapore)
Singapore-based architectural practice WOHA is credited with the construction and CAD services design for the Oasia Hotel. When it comes to a sustainable approach to high design, the hotel shall stand right at the front and center.
The building features a porous exterior and many gaps on the outside to allow for natural airflow into the interior, minimizing the use of HVAC energy consumption. Construction was completed back in 2016.
So far, the biggest challenge of sustainable architecture is the requirement to consider the building’s impact long after the construction is completed. As the name suggests, the sustainability principle goes beyond the project phase, but reaches far into the future. While the building itself and the materials can wear out over time, the design process and approach to an eco-friendly system will always be here to stay.
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