The concept of sustainable living often receives a hesitant response from those looking to build an office or home. That’s because people can wrongly believe they will need to shell out more money and compromise on style and comfort.
Most of the techniques and materials used for a sustainable building adopt the latest technology, meaning eco-friendly buildings can be incredibly sleek and design focussed. These technologies are constantly evolving, allowing for exciting new possibilities.
We are proud to find jobs for architects who can make a real difference to a building being environmentally friendly.
Use natural resources and sustainable building designs
Sustainable design starts from the moment a site is chosen for a build to when an architect puts pencil to paper.
To make a building as sustainable as it can be, an architect will explore the positioning of the building. This will help to make the most of the natural sunshine as well as ventilation. The more natural light and ventilation, the less reliant an architect will be on using artificial means, which need energy.
An architect will also look at issues surrounding land degeneration, soil erosion and deforestation.
Sustainable building materials
To ensure a building doesn’t use building materials that have a finite resource, architects are instead turning to recycled or reclaimed materials. Not only do they use far less energy to create (thus reducing your carbon footprint) than materials like timber or metals, but they can also reduce waste produced at a construction site.
Reclaimed timber, glass and plastic can all be incorporated into a new build. Architects might suggest materials that can be rapidly reproduced – rather than trees that take years to re-grow. More traditional, alternative building materials, such as mud or bamboo might also be a consideration at the design stage.
Scientists are also in the process of developing materials that will absorb carbon dioxide, making the climate around us purer, as well as reducing a building’s carbon footprint over time.
The materials used will depend on the durability and resilience needed. Architects will also look to source locally, as the fewer transport methods and distances need will use less energy.
Implementing renewable energy
One of the best ways to continue to ensure a build remains environmentally sound is to do this through renewable energy, like solar or wind power, which architects can incorporate into the initial design and plans.
Of course, where a building is to be erected will determine whether wind energy would be a viable option over fossil fuels. However, solar panels are effective in most places.
We often talk about our carbon footprint, but we should also be considering our water footprint, too.
For architects, though, there is a focus on adding features to a build that will help recycle water within it, such as the use of greywater. This is water that has been collected from sinks, showers, washing machines and other household of office utilities. Although it’s not drinkable water – it may contain dirt, cleaning products, grease or food – it can be reused for watering plants.
This saves greywater from being added to sewer water, where it will need to go through a stringent filtering system that takes even more energy. By implementing greywater pumps, you will save water and energy at the same time.
In densely built areas, such as in a city, your architect can design a garden for the rooftops to remove pollution and offer a high-up haven for wildlife. Plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen back into the atmosphere, helping reduce smog and pollution.
Some architects, such as Stefano Boeri, have started adding vertical forests to their creations. Like rooftop gardens, these vertical forests improve the climate around them, filtering out dust and carbon dioxide, making for a nicer environment.
With individuals and corporations becoming ever more aware of climate change, the call for architects to adopt eco-friendly solutions is only going to grow.
If you are looking for a career in Architecture or you as an architect are particularly interested in environmental factors and want to secure your next role, then speak to one of our Architectural recruitment specialists today.Architecture Sustainability