How To Introduce Green Architecture Into Your Build
— 18 March 2022 Posted in: Topics
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— 18 March 2022 Posted in: Topics
With the world turning towards sustainable solutions, the eco-revolution has affected all manner of professions. From construction workers and engineers to pilots and scientists, environmentally friendly solutions are constantly cropping up in an important bid to combat climate change. The role of the architect is no different, with sustainable ‘green architecture’ becoming increasingly popular. These in-demand architectural practices offer an eco-conscious alternative to the potentially damaging architectural practices of old. At Spatial Design Architects, we remain committed to implementing industry-leading sustainable practices into our designs. For two decades our professional architecture has been continually progressive, exploring many forms, materials and green solutions. By believing in the potential of land and buildings, we can help you to achieve your perfect sustainable design.
Continue reading to learn more about sustainable design practices, and how green architecture can be implemented into your build with the help of planning consultants.
Sustainability is important for so many reasons. Improving the quality of our lives, protecting our ecosystem and preserving natural resources for future generations, we can all do our bit for sustainability, whether it involves cycling to work or organising a crackdown in environmentally harmful substances. NASA has confirmed that human activity is likely causing the planet to get warmer, and human industry is a huge part of the problem. Because of industries' reliance on land, resources and fossil fuels, there are calls for entire sectors to make changes which will collectively save the planet. Conversations on the climate crisis have become more frequent within the architectural industry, as there is an acknowledgement that some practices commonplace within the profession contribute to environmental issues. Seeking to review the approaches taken when designing projects, green architecture has been proposed as an alternative.
Involved extensively in the planning, drawing and design process of a building, architects will have a say in the environmental and economic details of a build. Designs must be functional, with the architect requiring a detailed knowledge of the client’s needs and wants. Adapting plans according to budget constraints and environmental factors, architects operate as part of a project design team, working directly with construction professionals. Though an architect will most frequently work from an office, site visits and meetings with clients are common. Architects need to understand the technical aspects of a building, while also making it aesthetically pleasing. Key requirements include design skills, computer literacy, a good understanding of mathematics and interpersonal communication.
Green architecture constitutes architectural practices that are considerate of environmental impact, this may include processes that utilise sustainable energy sources, prioritise the conservation of energy and encourage the reuse of building materials. Green architecture has the potential to save a homeowner space and money on energy bills, and while homes are unlikely to be designed and built with each and every sustainability feature in mind, many new builds will usually come equipped with one or two prominent design elements which could be classed as eco-friendly. Environmentally aware architects will be able to act as planning consultants, integrating sustainability features into their designs seamlessly without affecting the liveability and overall practicality of a home’s features.
One of the first considerations when discussing sustainable professional architecture should be the materials used for a build. Many conventionally used materials for home construction retain harmful long-term effects on the environment, with 41% of global energy consumption attributed to buildings and structures. Concrete is notably one of the worst culprits. To collect the raw materials required to make concrete, an abundance of energy and water must be used. As a huge source of carbon emissions into the atmosphere, this process plays a part in contributing to greenhouse gases. Sustainable solutions have been found in the form of reusable materials, these include recycled steel, reclaimed wood and cork. Bamboo is seen as the ideal replacement for wood, as one of the fastest-growing plants on the planet, it regenerates extremely quickly, with high strength for a build due to the fibres within running axially.
Widely recognised as the future of energy, green features include any energy source which will replenish naturally. Green features also avoid mining or drilling processes which can be damaging to natural ecosystems. Common examples of green energy sources are solar power, wind power, hydro power and geothermal energy. Though these categories may seem complicated, familiar sources such as solar panels, wind turbines and air source heat pumps are all examples of green energy features which make use of this eco-friendly energy. Within a design process, an architect will have the option to suggest green energy features for a build, with solar power becoming a widespread alternative to harmfully acquired energy. Micro-wind turbines are another alternative, using wind power to generate electricity through the flow of air. These miniature turbines can be mounted on or located near to buildings.
Making the most of a large garden space by adding plants, flowers, trees and vegetable patches has the potential to improve the air and soil quality of the locality. Plants take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen during respiratory and photosynthetic processes, absorbing chemicals and bacteria which they then filter into useful waste products like water and oxygen. The exterior of properties often have paved pathways and man-made structures and surfaces instead of gardens which contain trees, greenery and biodiversity features. An architect can help out by designing a garden area which uses space sensibly, incorporating reusable materials and plenty of natural features.
Energy-efficiency essentially means using less energy to perform a task, eliminating energy waste. Doors and windows within a property will often waste energy if they release heat and let in a draught through gaps and holes. Double and triple-glazed glass on windows and doors will save wasted energy by containing it within your home, while the frame of a window can affect the energy-efficiency it retains. When doors are replaced they need to meet Building Regulation standards, and the ‘U-Value’ of installed doors and windows should be adequate within a new build. The U-Value is a metric designed to measure how effective a material is an insulator. The higher the U-Value, the more heat will be contained within a home, minimising the need to use up more energy from environmentally harmful sources.
Make the most of daylight by embracing features which utilise natural light. Design practices which make the most of passive natural light include skylighting, reflective surfaces and light shelves. These additions make the most of natural light by reflecting them into darker areas of the home, reducing the need for electric lighting. If implemented correctly, natural lighting features can save a homeowner money on their energy bills and provide a stylish and aesthetically pleasing addition. Light pollution is a big deal in the grand scheme of climate change, with more fossil fuels burned to produce electricity. Finding alternatives to consuming mass amounts of energy is one way that everyone can help.
At Spatial Design Architects, we can add both financial value and quality of space to a site, with services as varied as feasibility studies, concept designs, drawings, and information for building regulations approvals. Onsite contract administration services are available up to client handover, available individually or collectively as a comprehensive project solution. Our experience and penchant for problem solving make us the ideal candidate for your project needs. With a lofty reputation as a result of our work, we focus on creating a brief with our clients before any work commences, honing in on design, form, and function. Making sure we connect with planning departments and comply with building regulations legislation at all times, our designs are ever-evolving, with expert attention to detail.
As members of the Association For Environment Conscious Building, we aim to promote sustainable building practices at all times. By considering the environmental impact that our designs have, we assess sustainability during the briefing stage, accounting for a client’s aims in the most sustainable and appropriate manner. For any queries you may have about our processes, don’t hesitate to contact us today for additional information on professional architecture.
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