Creating a Building with Highest Sustainability. Here are 5 Ways!
We are now living in an age where we are beginning to be concerned about how our living environment impacts our planet. Sustainability has become a real concern over the past 10-15 years. Early technologies like solar panels and more recent ones like full electric cars are signs that humans are beginning to feel the change in our global climate and are thinking of ways to slow down global warming and overall pollution.
One of the ways that we are exploring is how to alter not just how we live, but where we live. Modifying buildings to include add-ons such as solar energy panels and energy saving meters is a start, but what if the building was already being sustainably planned out and designed right from the beginning stages of construction? Today we look at 5 major ways that we can look into when designing to build the most sustainable building.
1. Insulation and Air Tightness
The first way we can design a building to maximize sustainability is including a lot more insulation and making sure the construction of the building is air tight. To put it simply, more insulation allows your building to store more heat, minimizing your need to use electricity or fuel for heat.
Same purpose goes with the air tightness of your building. Fewer gaps in your building’s structure minimizes heat escaping to the outside. This will overall contribute to better insulation and reduce the use of electricity and fuel for warmer indoor temperatures.
2. Choosing Sustainable Building Materials
Second way we can look at for constructing a building with high sustainability is the base material of the structure. Different methods of building materials will leave a different amount of carbon footprint.
The method that leaves the least carbon footprint is Rammed Earth. It is basically an ancient technique that only uses natural raw materials such as earth, chalk, lime, and/or gravel. Of course, methods like Rammed Earth won’t be realistic especially when constructing buildings inside a city such as downtowns, so there are also other methods that are comparatively lower in carbon footprint. Building methods like Cross-laminated Timber and Stone are on the lower end of the spectrum and are more realistic in a city context. We have an article that goes into more details about building methods and sustainability here.
3. Thermal Mass of the Building
Now that we’ve mentioned the building methods and materials, we can now also start to think about which materials can act best to produce thermal mass. Thermal mass is essentially a large body that can hold warm temperatures. Materials such as brick and concrete are great in holding warmth from the sun’s light rays during the day, and when the external temperatures drop at night, they release the warmth into the interior of the building, regulating the indoor temperature. This way, less power consumption is used to making sure the indoor temperatures are ideal for a comfortable living condition.
4. Natural Light
A lot of modern day architectural designs make very good use of natural light. Skylights, positioning of the windows, size of the windows, are just some of the things architects think about when making sure the interior space has a nice ambience and vibe during the day. But what does this have to do with sustainability? With enough natural light entering into the interior space, less use of artificial lights can be achieved, saving on both energy resources and power bills.
Windows work hand in hand with thermal mass that was mentioned previously. Light rays that pass through the windows are also heat sources which can be stored by the structure materials which is then released later in the night.
5. Post Construction Technologies
And finally after the shell of the building is constructed, we can then make use of green technologies, such as solar panels and heat panels, biomass boilers, off grid sewage treatment setups, and rainwater harvesting setups. These are all things that can be considered and added on once the shell of the building is complete. There are many options available, so feel free to choose one that works best for your home and your lifestyle!
To conclude we want to thank you EcoMerchant for some insightful tips that inspired and fuelled this article. For some extra sauce, below is a video on 10 eco-friendly and sustainable houses from around the world. It goes to show you that a building can be green and sustainable, but also very fancy and aesthetically pleasing!