Garbage recycling, conscious consumption, and reuse of materials and natural resources are some of the nature-friendly actions. However, it is possible to go further with the help of sustainable architecture.
This term refers to the adoption of projects that have less impact on the environment. On top of that, they also bring economic and quality of life benefits. Therefore, this trend has been increasingly used in recent constructions, both because of the property’s appreciation potential and because of the environmental responsibility necessary for all of us.
Given the importance of sustainability, we created this content with the main information on how to combine these benefits with architecture. In addition, you will understand how to put these ideas into practice and what their principles are. Read and learn more!
What is Sustainable Architecture?
Sustainable architecture, as of Blue World City, consists of designing projects that minimize the environmental impact of buildings. For this, low-impact materials, waste treatment, reuse of resources, and adaptation to the local climate are used. In this way, housing, energy, and food needs are met, in addition to bringing more efficiency.
In addition to construction, sustainability in architecture also refers to the use and operation of the building. For example, a house may have solar panels to reduce electricity consumption. In this way, there is less emission, pollution, and waste of materials and components.
In practice, what this concept does is optimize the systems to achieve the best energy coefficient and use less energy. Other factors are also considered, such as:
- disposition of real estate
- space planning to save a natural asset
These measures are very important for the environment. Especially, due to the impact of civil construction and architecture on resource consumption. According to data from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), this sector is responsible for :
- 36% of energy consumption
- 38% of energy-related carbon emissions
- 50% of the consumption of natural resources
In addition, the expectation is that if nothing is done, the rates will increase by 100% by 2060.
In Pakistan, the scenario is also complicated. Civil construction generates between 35% and 40% of all waste in large cities. Every year, the projection is that the works will produce approximately 400 kg of rubble per inhabitant.
It should also be noted that cement production generates between 8% and 9% of all carbon dioxide emitted in Pakistan. In addition, about 8% of everything produced in the works is discarded. Therefore, it is urgent to consider sustainable architecture and its best practices.
Emergence of the Concept of Sustainable Architecture
The term sustainable architecture began to be used in 1992, during the UN Conference on Environment and Development — also called Eco-92 or Rio-92. However, even in 1987, a public speech had already been made indicating the need for sustainable development in the long term.
The purpose was to ensure economic progress while at the same time ensuring that the needs of future generations were met. In other words, the proposal is a paradigm shift in which investments, resource exploitation, and the orientation of technological development are in accordance with environmental measures.
What are the Principles of Sustainable Architecture?
To ensure that projects are suitable for the environment, with cost and waste reduction, it is necessary to know the principles that underpin sustainable architecture. These pillars are related to the actions taken for any construction and aim to ensure maximum respect for nature.
Therefore, these principles are important for the promotion of social, cultural, and economic development. See what they are and why they should be considered in your project.
Adaptation of the Project to the Local Climate
Considering the reality of the construction surroundings guarantees maximum energy efficiency. The local climate allows the architect to study the best direction to take advantage of the lighting, the position of the sun, the winds, and the changes in the seasons.
Thus, there is greater thermal comfort since the environment is cooled without depending on an air conditioner. In addition, thermal insulation also protects against excessive heat in the home.
The adaptation of the project to the local climate still uses architectural elements, such as brises and cobogós, to favor well-being in the environment. These items reduce energy consumption and the environmental impacts of construction.
Use of Green Roofs
Also called a green roof, it consists of using vegetation as a covering system. This ensures more thermal insulation and reduces heat gains. In addition, it reduces thermal loads, which increases comfort and energy efficiency.
To give you an idea, the attenuation of the temperature generated by the heat islands reaches 18 °C. Gardens and gardens can still be cultivated on the roof, including automatic irrigation and connection to cisterns that store rainwater.
Use of Photovoltaic Solar Energy
Using photovoltaic panels is a good measure to reduce energy consumption. They transform solar energy into electricity in a sustainable way and without harm to the environment. In addition to being used in sustainable architecture projects, they can also be adopted during construction.
Promotion of Practicality
In addition to ensuring the reduction of consumption of natural resources, sustainable architecture also has a duty to promote practicality. The entire project is tailored to the needs of the residents, so it brings more comfort and well-being to everyone who lives in the residence.
It is worth noting that the design must be flexible. Thus, it is possible to make the necessary adjustments in the short, medium, and long term, always respecting the environment.
There are still other important principles to consider. They are as follows:
- analysis of the surroundings to respect the conditions of the urban space
- sustainable land use
- integrated and detailed planning to avoid waste, good execution of the work, and the best possible result
- compliance with rules and legislation
- rational use of materials
- water efficiency
- economic viability, with added value
- construction life cycle analysis
- promoting awareness of all those involved in sustainable architecture, including residents
What are the Benefits of Sustainable Architecture?
By applying these principles, you can gain several advantages. Below, we list the main ones. Check out!
Reduction of Consumption of Natural Resources
Both water and electricity consumption is reduced with the adoption of sustainable practices. The residence becomes self-sufficient, at least partially. As a result, there is less use of services and more guarantee of survival for the next generations.
For example, instead of using air conditioning, the design considers natural and cross ventilation. Thus, it is possible to prevent environments from becoming stuffy or too cold. In other words, uncomfortable.
Preservation of the Environment
Sustainable architecture seeks to preserve nature. In addition, construction lots tend to be close to green areas and establishments that offer basic services. These aspects impact access to shading, ventilation, and light. They also reduce energy requirements for lighting and climate conditioning.
Excessive and untreated waste production causes pollutants such as methane gas and toxic leachate to be released. In addition to polluting water channels, they also contaminate the soil; that is: there is a risk to everyone’s health when sustainable architecture is disregarded.
How to Apply Sustainable Architecture to a Project?
All this information needs to be applied and out of the world of ideas. How to do this? There are several tips that help you implement best practices. Understand what to do.
Bet on Technological Solutions
More than making our lives easier, different technologies are applied to sustainable architecture to increase the benefits of this concept. So much so that many products are created from it, such as:
- coatings made from recycled materials, such as expanded polystyrene (EPS), also called Styrofoam®
- furniture made from sustainable materials and reforested wood
- economical light bulbs
- floors that imitate wood
- intelligent lighting systems with presence sensors
Realize that environmentally friendly practices go beyond construction. The architecture also encompasses sustainable decoration, which envisages the reuse and recycling of materials. That way, you have a technological, comfortable home that takes full advantage of resources.
Reuse Building Materials
Reuse the maximum amount of materials used in work to avoid waste. Here are framed woods, ceramics, metals, and other products that turn into rubble. However, they can have another use.
It is worth using creativity to reuse everything that is still in usable condition. For example, they can be used to manufacture furniture for the outdoor area.
Save Nature in your Projects
It does little good to create a sustainable architecture project but to do away with the surrounding nature. Therefore, try to use green areas in your favor. Try to save the soil and vegetation, as well as preserve the existing water in the region.
Several alternatives can help with this process. For example, using a cistern to store natural resources or photovoltaic panels to generate electricity.
These are even tips to save water and electricity. However, these benefits must also be combined with a landscaping project to truly build a sustainable home.
Monitor Consumption of Natural Elements
Use indicators to find out how the sustainability-oriented architecture is being applied. They help you know if the work is efficient and if the results will meet what you are looking for.
There are no specific indicators to carry out this monitoring. The ideal is to control the consumption of energy, water, and other important information for the project. That way, you can know if you’re heading in the right direction.
Prioritize Natural Ventilation
Sustainable architectural projects prioritize good ventilation. Buildings must be well-ventilated and ensure good airflow. This increases thermal comfort. On the other hand, care must be taken not to create uncomfortable wind corridors.
Therefore, it is necessary to design the project based on the so-called cross ventilation. This name refers to the phenomenon of air movement that occurs inside buildings without the help of mechanical systems. To reach this result, it is necessary to verify the prevailing wind direction in the project.
With cross ventilation, you create a smarter, more efficient design. For example, you can use larger windows. In addition to facilitating air currents, they increase natural lighting.
Build a Water Reuse System
The rainwater harvesting system favors the reuse of this natural resource. It can even be complemented with a method for treating and reusing gray water. This is the residue of the product used in the shower, tank, bathroom sink, and more.
Rainwater and reused water can be reused to wash backyards, cars, floors, and water plants. In addition, materials recycled, produced, and reused from renewable sources must be prioritized in any sustainable architecture project.
Optimize Energy Usage
The choice and orientation of materials make it possible to reduce the use of electrical energy. For example, a solar heating system guarantees a comfortable home in winter without wasting light if you live in a cold city.
To ensure the optimization of this consumption, it is necessary to consider the characteristics of the local climate and carry out studies to take advantage of the position of the sun, winds, lighting, and seasons. In addition, the roof must be designed in a sloping way to take advantage of the longest solar period in the region in the deployment of photovoltaic panels.
Other tips to optimize energy use are to use LED lamps and electronic equipment that have the Procel seal.
Use Renewable Resources
Renewable resources must be a priority in a sustainable architecture project. The examples are all that we have already mentioned throughout this article. This is the case with energy and water. However, you can still go further.
Home composting, for example, produces fertilizer for your plants without having to spend anything. It also reduces the production of waste to avoid pollution of the environment. In other words, it is another way of adapting to a lifestyle focused on sustainability.
With all these tips, you can now build a house adapted to all your priorities and preferences. In addition, you have the chance to live in a place integrated with the environment, where resources are used to the fullest.
For this, buy a lot in a subdivision that already prioritizes positive attitudes. This is a way of knowing that the company has socio-environmental responsibility and acts in accordance with all existing rules and legislation.
That’s what sustainable architecture values. After all, this is a practice that must be implemented from construction to the result of the work, bringing practicality, comfort and beauty to your family.
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