The Rising Popularity of Sustainable Architecture
With our society’s increasing concern for the environment, it’s no surprise that green building continues to grow in popularity and you may be wondering what is green design? From residential structures to corporate facilities, architects are discovering new sustainable design processes to preserve our ecosystem while reducing our carbon footprint. Here are ten benefits of green building and green construction practices and how this architectural trend can protect the generations of tomorrow:
Improved Indoor Environment: Quality of Life
When it comes to our quality of life, it’s no secret that our surroundings have a major impact on our health. Over the past several decades, designers around the globe have made massive progress, developing sustainable architecture that can dramatically affect the inhabitants of such buildings and drastically reduce the negative environmental impact that buildings may have. From interior design elements like improved lighting sources, thermal conditions, ergonomic features and even upgraded air quality, occupants residing or working in green structures have experienced a marked improvement in their health, stress levels and overall quality of life.
Saving Water: Reduce, Reuse, Replenish
Another tangible benefit of sustainable building: water efficiency. Research shows that green architecture can not only reduce water waste through water-efficient plumbing fixtures but also reduce the strain on shared water resources. By installing specially-engineered systems to purify water, it enables water recycling and also allows for alternative sources of water (such as rainwater). These developments not only save this vital natural resource but protect clean water sources for the future.
Enhanced Health: Eco-Friendly For Life
Living in a sustainable building can save your life – literally. According to studies, people who reside in green structures experience a myriad of health benefits due to the eco-friendly materials utilized in construction. For example, green buildings avoid using building materials that may contain harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or plastic by-products which have been known to release toxic fumes and carcinogens into the atmosphere. These dangerous materials are linked to respiratory disease, allergies, and other health disorders, and in extreme cases, an increased risk of cancer.
Reducing The Strain: Shared Resources, Increased Efficiency
With our planet’s ever-increasing population (particularly in large cities across the globe), our local shared resources are being threatened as demands continue to grow. Based on the advancements and sustainable practices and technologies developed by ingenious architects worldwide, vital resources such as water and energy are being protected. By increasing efficiency, green structures are capable of reducing the environmental impact on such resources, which can potentially be protected and preserved for future generations.
Reduced Operational Cost and Maintenance: Traditional vs. Green
One of the greatest benefits of green buildings are their lower maintenance costs – featuring specially-engineered design elements to lower energy consumption and help reduce energy cost and water bills for each occupant. These efficient structures can save corporate and residential owners a bundle. Although the expense required for building owners to build such structures may be initially higher than traditional non-green forms of architecture, the cost over the long term is recovered exponentially.
Energy-Efficient: Non-Renewable vs. Natural Resources
As a green architect, energy efficiency is a primary goal in green building design. Developing structures that derive their energy from natural sources – such as the sun, wind, and water – is extremely beneficial to the environment, protecting the ecosystem from pollution associated with non-renewable sources (such as oil and coal). An added benefit: non-renewable energy sources are not only toxic but costly, while their energy-efficient counterparts (such as solar energy vs. traditional electricity) can save thousands over the lifetime costs of the infrastructure.
Carbon Footprint Reduction: Saving The Planet One Step At A Time
There has been an increase in large corporations opting for green initiatives. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), buildings account for 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Landlords and large businesses have taken heed, as increasing sustainability is an opportunity to do something positive for both business and society as a whole.
Keep It Clean: Protecting Our Ecosystem
Global warming has been a growing concern for a number of years, and it’s no wonder – our planet has seen a drastic depletion of our natural resources, while pollution and the consequent climate-change is at an all-time high. Sustainable architecture is not only energy-efficient and healthier for its inhabitants, but it also benefits the planet. By reducing our reliance on non-renewable resources (fossil fuels such as coal and oil), green architecture can actually promote and maintain a cleaner environment.
Efficient & Sustainable Material: Minimal Use For Maximum Impact
Upcycling has taken the architectural world by storm – by using recycled material and reusing resources (and even repurposing old structures), sustainable architects, engineers, and green designers are tapping into existing resources to reduce carbon footprints and save natural resources. By implementing sustainable strategies into the design process, like reducing waste, preserving natural resources (such as water and wood), protecting our air supply, and limiting energy use, green building companies can create extremely efficient structures that can withstand the test of time.
Durability For The Green Homeowner: Built To Last
For educated homeowners, going green is a no-brainer: from energy and water savings and improved air quality to overall durability, sustainable materials have been proven time and time again to last longer. Green materials (such as recycled decking and roofing) not only endure for years exposed to the elements but require much less maintenance. In addition, because many of them are free from harmful chemical treatments, they are healthier for the environment (and the inhabitants they serve).
Check out one of the ways we’re reducing our carbon footprint at NewSchool, here. Or, learn more about our related programs, like our Interior Architecture & Design degree.