Green Architecture Buildings Meld Function and Sustainability

Written by Posted On Friday, 30 June 2017 12:50

Buildings, for the most part, must be functional. They house residents and office workers; they provide shelter and a comfortable work space; they facilitate industry and they serve as hubs for innovation. So the current trend toward green architecture makes sense. We want to create buildings that are functional, beautiful and have a small carbon footprint. And it’s not just about building materials and solar panels. There is a much more holistic approach at play for green architecture buildings. Let’s take a look at some of the aspects of today’s eco-friendly buildings.

The Big Picture

Modern green building projects focus a great deal on the structure itself, but it is not the only facet of the project that gets attention. Planners also consider the site of the new building and whether it is close to public transportation, which encourages people who work in the building to leave their polluting cars at home. It’s also great when the building is situated close to electricity transmission lines that will allow excess power to be sold back to the grid. Finally, there should be plenty of east and south exposure so the building’s solar panels can be optimally placed.

Building Materials

Ideally, the products used in the building would be as locally sourced as possible and be manufactured without harmful chemicals. Woods should be used from sustainable species. The pavement surrounding the building can be permeable, which results in less storm water runoff during the rainy months and fewer pollutants being swept into area waterways.

Inside the Structure

The features inside the building are where the real carbon footprint gains can be made. Many structures use waterless urinals, LED lighting and three-coated windows to cut down on energy usage of all kinds. Some buildings are able to generate their own electricity, so fossil fuels are not even part of the equation. The ventilation system keeps fresh air flowing using “passive house” techniques for occupants who seek good interior air quality.

On the Outside

Lots of green architecture buildings include rooftop green spaces, gardens or water-collection facilities. Others collect water from rain drains for landscape maintenance. Speaking of landscaping, the most ideal plants are native varieties that don’t require a lot of water for maintenance. For buildings encased in solar panels, the most efficient approach is to have arrays that can move to get the optimal angle for ray collection.

Under the Ground

Even out-of-sight spaces like underground wells can help in the eco-friendly building’s conservation efforts. Cisterns collect rainwater for future non-drinking use such as filling toilets. If the structure is situated properly, geothermal heat pumps might be an option for effective heating and cooling.

Green building designers aren’t content with one or two innovations. They often include dozens of eco-friendly aspects in their modern creations.

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