Sustainable architecture promotes efficient energy use in buildings in order to prevent unnecessary energy costs, to take advantage of local resources for system operations, and to ensure that there are no negative environmental impacts.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN BUILDINGS
Eight steps towards sustainable construction
Sustainable architecture promotes efficient energy use in buildings in order to prevent unnecessary energy costs, to take advantage of local resources for system operations, and to ensure that there are no negative environmental impacts. Here are some examples:
Innovative construction methods, new materials, and technological advances are boosting the energy efficiency of new buildings worldwide. Housing that saves 75% on heating costs, hospitals that consume 70% less energy, shopping centres that barely waste any water... How is this possible?
The key lies in the design. First, the design is aligned with nature by choosing the appropriate location and orientation of the structure to take advantage of sunshine for lighting and the breeze for cooling. Construction materials are increasingly recycled and are purchased from local suppliers to reduce the carbon footprint from shipping. Likewise, proper insulation is used to reduce the need for heating and air conditioning as much as possible.
New technologies are essential throughout this entire process: evaporative cooling towers, water recycling systems, solar panels, smart temperature and humidity management, etc. Additionally, sustainable buildings encourage a lifestyle that protects the environment: bike parking, vertical gardens, and rainwater catchment and treatment. All of these elements demonstrate how architecture can help in the fight against climate change.
Many organisations have developed seals of excellence over the last 25 years to push the trend towards sustainable construction, promoting innovation, and energy efficiency: LEED, BREEAM, Passive House or Living Building Challenge are some of the most prevalent ones. Companies, public bodies, and architecture firms around the world compete for certification.
How is building sustainability measured?