This paper aims at implementing sustainability principles in the construction industry. it is the responsibility of the present generation and today’s Architects to use the available resources in a way that meets their needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Usage of natural resources efficiently and preventing environmental damages, this paper aims to explore different sustainable architectural design strategies for construction and Architect’s social responsibility to design every structure in a sustainable way.
Sustainability is defined as meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (World Commission of Environment and Development, 1987). Sustainable architecture is defined as the application of sustainability concepts and techniques in architecture. It aims to reduce the adverse effects of constructed buildings on environment throughout the project’s life cycle. It’s the duty of an architect to design and build in harmony with the environment. Now, it’s a challenge to architects to design a structure that not only excels in form and function, but also with the solutions that take into account environmental factors. Sustainable architecture is reflected in a building’s materials, construction methods, resource use, design, and it’s overall functioning in general. While it has to be functional and aesthetically superior, the space has to be constructed with the mind-set of achieving long-term energy and resource efficiency. Sustainable architecture is also referred to as green architecture or environmental architecture or Organic Architecture. It challenges architects to create smart designs and use available technologies and resources to ensure that structures generate minimal harmful effects to the environment and the communities. It is the responsibility of every architect and builder to construct/design in a sustainable and Ecological way which will also reduce the maintenance and running cost of a particular structure.
Benefits of Sustainable architecture:
Energy efficiency: Sustainable buildings have unique construction techniques and design features that enables them to be efficient, especially in terms of conserving energy and water. Usage of natural lighting and ventilation, solar or wind energy systems, reducing water wastes, reducing carbon emission and It also reduces the running cost of building.
Health efficiency: People who live or work in sustainable buildings, experience better indoor air quality in addition to a number of other health and wellness benefits. Because sustainable building materials are free of harmful toxins, the local community and the surrounding environment also benefit from green construction. During this pandemic, every person realised the benefits of sustainable buildings as it provides natural light and ventilation. Materials used are also natural, which has no adverse effects on one’s health.
Cost efficiency: Reducing maintenance costs by incorporating a solar or wind energy system and other sustainability measures can drastically improve the overall cost efficiency of a building, especially for businesses that fall within the industrial and manufacturing sectors. Also, for residential buildings or bungalow, it is much helpful if the overall running cost/maintenance reduces.
Material efficiency: Without compromising quality or structural integrity, sustainable building processes utilize eco-friendly building materials, many of which are recycled or reused. The goal is to generate as little waste as possible throughout the building process, from sourcing material to the final stages of construction. Using natural materials also reduces overall construction cost.
Economic efficiency: Sustainable building might cost more upfront than a normal modernist construction, but sometimes it’s worth spending a little cash in order to save a whole lot more of it the end or throughout the project life cycle. In another words, sustainable building is a smart investment that will saves much more than it initially costs.
Sustainable Architectural design:
Site planning or Orientation: It is essential for architects and designers to analyse what type of site locations they are dealing with. The main aim is to minimize elements that might impact negatively on the environment and on those who will live or work in the building. The layout of the site and the positioning and orientation of the building is very important, as it can save as much as 25% energy consumption. Understanding the site and utilizing the resources and site features in a proper way is the main key of sustainability. Planning or the design orientation of the building should not disturb the existing site features and vegetation.
Passive design strategies: It involve taking advantage of natural environmental factors like the orientation of the sun and climatic conditions when designing a building and deciding where windows or any other openings will be placed. This enables designers to literally manage day-lighting and natural ventilation to their own advantage, and in this way reduce the energy requirements for the house. In some climates, thermal-mass techniques may be incorporated into passive sustainable design and used to harness energy from the sun. For example, thick walls are designed with materials including brick, stone, and concrete, that will absorb the sun’s heat during the day and release it into the house when temperatures drop at night. While in hot and humid climatic zones, thick walls with cavity or jaali work is used which allows air flow through it and maintains overall temperature of the building throughout the day and night. It limits the light penetration into the structure which also reduces the heat gain. In short, passive design strategies aims to utilize what nature provides for free to keep building comfortable without any need for purchased energy.
Active design strategies: It involve various engineers who design and implement highly efficient HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and other systems. Energy-efficiency also relies on creating a well-designed building envelope with superior insulation that can block, hold, and release energy, allowing nature to help make the design work. In short, active design strategies work on purchased energy systems to keep the buildings comfortable.
Renewable energy system: Frequently used with various passive design strategies, renewable energy systems include those that harness solar and wind energy. Popular technologies include solar thermal panels, ground- and air-source heat pumps, as well as biomass boilers. On a smaller scale, the energy efficiency of any home can be improved by using energy-efficient appliances and lighting. This should be part of the overall sustainable energy strategy.
Sustainable or Green building material: It is essential for green architects to specify high-quality building materials that are environmentally friendly and energy-efficient, both in the way they are made and the way that they perform. Recycled materials also benefit in many ways. While some building materials are more sustainable than others, the basic strategy here is to use materials that don’t disturb natural resources and are manufactured using responsible manufacturing techniques. It is also important to avoid materials that contain pollutants and or harmful chemicals.
Maximized indoor air quality: Part of sustainable design, indoor air quality impacts on both the health and comfort of those who will live or work in buildings. It is vital for architectural design to be sustainable. It includes well-ventilated design that will keep the indoor air clean and fresh, adequate air exchanges, and moisture control to avoid the development of mold.
Landscaping: By using trees, plants, and grasses that are native to the area, architects can greatly reduce irrigation needs. Landscaping can also be used as part of a passive energy strategy. By planting trees that shade the roof and windows during the hottest time of the day, solar heat gain inside the building can be reduced. Proper landscaping improves the air quality and in and around the building.
As conclusion, Architects are expected to understand the nature and obtain inspiration from the essence of place and create relevant architecture which would be sustainable in maximum aspects. It is the responsibility of architects and builders to build in a sustainable way. The model for sustainable design is nature itself. Combining the local tradition with an understanding of sustaining materials and energy systems, architects can create buildings that encourage healthy interaction of users with the natural environment. Architectural design based on environmental preservation is the only option for maintaining quality of life and preventing lasting environmental damage.
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