Environmentally Friendly Design Considerations for Your Next Architectural Project

Emma
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With a climate crisis looming on the horizon, it is important that we all try to do our bit to help to not only reduce our impact on the environment but also try to improve the situation. This is a big ask and involves changing the way that we do almost everything in our daily lives.

Looking after our environment means trying to incorporate it into everything that we do - whether it is how we shop, travel, cook or do our jobs. As an architect, there is a big responsibility to be able to create buildings - both domestic and commercial - which are environmentally friendly and therefore beneficial to the planet.

So, in your next project, it is important to try to consider its impact on the environment and do what you can to lessen it. You can add these considerations into the design of the building or even try to make them into a feature.


Alternative Energy

Environmentally Friendly Design Considerations for Your Next Architectural Project

One of the biggest problems for both domestic and commercial businesses in terms of their impact on the environment is how much energy they use. Alternative energy such as solar, wind or waterpower harness the power produced by nature and turns it into electricity for us to use.

You could consider solar panel installation - either on the roof or in another area, which would enable the building to produce its own energy, or wind power if the building is located in an area with a lot of wind.


Building Materials

Environmentally Friendly Design Considerations for Your Next Architectural Project

Another important consideration is the materials that you use to build the construction. More and more people are looking for materials with a low impact on the environment, which also have other qualities - such as insulating properties. 

Materials such as straw bales, hemp or recycled products can have excellent insulating properties as well as being strong enough to create a construction.


Lighting

Environmentally Friendly Design Considerations for Your Next Architectural Project

Another important aspect is light sources. One good way of cutting down the amount of energy that is used in the day-to-day running of a building is increasing the amount of natural light. The use of skylights and big windows are ideal.

By avoiding dark and dingy areas within the building you can also make the artificial lighting of it easier. LED lights are a good option when it comes to saving energy without compromising on the quality of light.


Carbon Footprint

Environmentally Friendly Design Considerations for Your Next Architectural Project

Another thing that is essential when you are designing and building a new building is the carbon footprint of everything that it takes to finish the job. For example, you might be saving energy by using a material from the other side of the world, but the carbon footprint of how it got there could drastically outweigh that. Trying to incorporate local building materials into your design would not only reduce your carbon footprint by a long way but also help the building to blend nicely into its surrounding area.


Water

Environmentally Friendly Design Considerations for Your Next Architectural Project

There are a number of different aspects of water that should also be considered. Water wastage is a massive issue and we should all be trying to do our bit to try to preserve water.

This could mean designing toilets and bathrooms with low water usage - with as few chemicals as possible - or implementing a rainwater harvesting system. Dual plumbing systems allow you to separate water that needs to be clean enough to drink, from water that can easily be used to flush a toilet or for irrigation. 


Living Walls

Environmentally Friendly Design Considerations for Your Next Architectural Project

The concept behind a living wall is that the plants that are present can not only make the building look nice, it can help with insulation, reflect the sun, absorb carbon dioxide, produce oxygen, be watered using wastewater (like dishwater) and also attract wildlife and insects which are vital to keeping important ecosystems alive.

These areas could also be used inside the building as well, creating an area that is healthy, vibrant and nice to be in. And who wouldn’t want one of them?


Waste


What to do with waste is also an important consideration. As much as you can try to reduce the amount of waste that is produced, there will almost certainly be some.

Try to incorporate into the design useful and easy ways to ensure that as much waste is recycled – for example, a food waste tube or easy ways to separate materials.


Considering the impact on the environment when designing a building is getting more important every day. By creating eco-friendly buildings, we will not only create spaces where people love to go but also places which are helping the world to be inhabitable for years to come.

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