Sustainable architecture, otherwise known as green architecture, is taking centre stage in new concepts and projects.
This is primarily due to the fact that our homes and buildings have a significant impact on carbon emissions.
The United Nations Environment Programme recently confirmed that buildings are responsible for almost half of all global energy use. They also produce 40% of greenhouse gas emissions, consume 25% of all drinkable water, and account for 20% of all solid waste produced in developed countries. Architects are responding to the situation with sustainable design strategies that reduce energy consumption and minimise damage to the environment.
One popular example is the green wall on the Oasis of Aboukir, Designed by living walls inventor Patrick Blanc, this vertical garden encompasses the entire size of a five-storey block in Paris. The wall features 7600 plants from 237 different species, and covers the entire facade at the corner of Aboukir and Petits Carreaux streets.
Another sustainable project, this one by Swedish architecture firm Plantagon, is an office tower that also happens to be a farm. Known as the World Food Building, the 60-metre-tall building will consist of offices on one side and an urban greenhouse on the other.
In the greenhouse, food will be produced via a popular technique called hydroponic farming, which produces crops by submerging them in fortified water. The building is presently under construction in Linköping, Sweden, and is expected to be finished in 2020.
Sustainable architecture strives to build or renovate homes and buildings using a combination of energy-efficient technology, renewable materials, and innovative design. This approach reduces waste and uses sustainable products, which minimises the environmental impact of a new development. It also affects the long-term environmental consequences by producing energy-efficient buildings.
Sustainable design is not confined to new build properties. It can also be applied to existing buildings to make them more energy-efficient. Solar panels, insulation, and newer, low-energy heating systems are all simple and effective ways of making a property more ‘green’ in design and operation. There are many government schemes that make these sustainable upgrades more attractive and affordable for homeowners and business owners alike.
The most sustainable buildings are the ones that are designed and overseen by green architects from the conceptual stage onwards. Innovative and unique eco-friendly designs can be implemented into practically every stage of the process, allowing these architects to create a building that consumes little energy while utilising the most advanced methods that sustainable technology can offer.
Ideal green building projects can promote occupant health by using renewable, natural materials, sourcing their own energy and water, and functioning without having an adverse effect on the environment.
When the amount of energy used by buildings across the globe is considered, it becomes obvious that sustainable architecture and design are extremely important. These buildings benefit everyone, not only the people who live or work within them. Their impact reaches the surrounding community, the economy, and even the earth.