Sustainable Architecture Essay

5197 words - 21 pages

Sustainable Architecture

What is sustainable design?
Sustainability has been defined by the Brundtland Commission, 1987, as “meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs.”

Sustainability represents a balance that accommodates human needs without diminishing the health and productivity of natural systems.

In these times of rapidly rising world population, increased demand on resources, continued pollution, sustainability is quickly becoming the dominant issue of the 21st Century. It is an issue that each of us, as individuals need to address in our daily life and work.

While environmental and ...view middle of the document...

A summary of sustainable global goals
These are suggested by Mendler, Odell and Lazarus

Waste nothing
Reduce construction, remodeling, and building operations waste.
Design for flexibility and long-term use.
Reuse resources; avoid use of scarce materials.

Adapt to Place
Use indigenous strategies.
Strive for diversity.
Fit form to function

Use “Free” Resources
Use renewable energy and material resources.
Use materials and resources available locally and in abundance.

Optimize Rather Than Maximize
Seek synergistic solutions.
Reduce reliance on mechanical systems.

Create a Livable Environment
Protect sensitive and endangered ecosystems.
Support restoration of degraded natural systems.
Promote development of pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use communities.
Create healthy environments free of toxic materials.
Provide daylight and views, and direct connections to nature.
Provide for personal control.
Create opportunities for personal expression.
Seek opportunities to improve social equity.

The following are systems to improve sustainability:

Heating-passive strategies
Traditional or vernacular dwellings, from the yurt to the igloo, have long displayed a more holistic design approach based on accommodating both prevailing conditions and site specifics.

The single most effective passive energy is improving insulations to keep the heat in. Other approaches make use of solar gain - the warming power of the sun’s rays. These include:
-Making the most of south facing elevations by enlarging windows or openings so that the greatest advantage can be taken of the sun’s energy.
-Building in flexibility with respect to living arrangements. If you have enough space, it can be a good idea to replan the layout on a sessional basis, so that in winter you sleep at the top of the house where warm air accumulates and in the summer you sleep downstairs where it is cooler.

Conventional Heating Systems
In the vast majority of cases, these conventual heating systems rely on burning some kind of fuel. With the possible exception of wood, such fuels carry a high environmental cost. The worst offender is coal, which generates pure carbon dioxide when it is burned. Oil is also carbon-intensive. Gas has a slightly lower carbon footprint because it produces a lot of water vapor when burned.

Radiant Heating
Because radiant heating warms through conduction, not convection, it produces a more natural and comfortable interior climate than a heating system that warms the air. The most common form is underfloor heating, but radiant heating systems can also be installed in walls and ceilings.

The two most common forms of underfloor heating are electric and hot water. Electrical systems can be powered by alternative sources of energy but most commonly use mains electricity. Hot-water underfloor heating is more disruptive to install, but can be very energy efficient.

Biomass is defined as energy produced from...

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