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Sustainable architecture: A pipe dream or a reality?

4 October 2010 No Comment

Currently the answer to this has to be that sustainable architecture is a pipe dream. However as the awareness of how modern living is affecting the environment, and how meeting supply and demand is depleting the earth’s natural resources – it could soon become a reality.

Sustainable architecture

Energy Saving Designs

One of the most important aspects of sustainable architecture lies in designing energy efficient buildings.  Many buildings in the past have looked beautiful to the eye, but inside they have not been properly insulated or ventilated.

An environmentally aware architect knows that by designing a building that is created with energy efficiency in mind, rather than simply its aesthetic value, they are designing something that will complement the environment.

Reclaim and Recycle

One area of sustainable architecture that can be used by many construction businesses is in reclaiming and recycling materials that once were part of other buildings.  Many natural materials such as oak beams, flooring, and stonework can be taken from a build that is being demolished, and used in a new building.

Sustainable architect

 Creating Sustainable Communities

One area where sustainable architecture can become a reality in the not too distant future is in the creation of new small towns or communities.

At one time towns often evolved around a particular industry, but with the continued increase in demand for housing and building developments springing up all over the country, architects are able to design new towns where not only the buildings are sustainable, but also the entire community is created to reduce the community’s carbon footprint.

Sustainable housing

For example, schools, shops etc are accessible to most people living in the area by footpath, cycle or public transportation systems, rather than everyone having to drive everywhere.

By working together with civil engineers and town planners the architects will be able to design this kind of sustainable community.

Sustainable planning

Although such a community can be a reality for towns and communities that are still in the design stage, this kind of environment remains very much a pipe dream for over-populated and over-industrialized cities.

Sustainable architecture for established cities

Whether or not these parts of the country will be changed, section by section over the coming decades, with the current buildings demolished and new sustainable buildings put in their place remains to be seen.

In many cases the bottom line will come down to cost, especially when it comes to sustainable architecture for established cities, especially those with a heavy carbon footprint caused by industry.

The immediate step must be to decrease the carbon footprint based on current buildings.  As buildings, both residential and business, become unsafe or unused, these should be completely demolished and new sustainable architecture designs used to build new ones that are more suited to current industry trends as well as being environmentally friendly.

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