The last couple of posts touched on sustainable design strategies that could be used for new buildings or existing buildings; for this one I want to respond to the question of why “green” design is important?
Attending an architecture program at a university that focuses on sustainability and northern architecture, I have learned just how important it is to use these strategies. With the knowledge I do have with some strategies, incorporating those strategies have become very important and habit to keep in mind when designing.
Favourite strategies to go to:
Greenery systems (Roof, wall, etc)
We have been through this, if you have seen that post, we know I love me some greenery systems. It can be used on older buildings, new buildings, increases wildlife, and provides space for planting and community interaction, among other benefits. This system also creates a break from all the greyscape found in the more urban areas.
Given the climate, this system can be very useful. Rainwater harvesting is collecting rainwater from the roof or another surface and using to augment freshwater supply. The water collected could be used for irrigation and use for flushing the toilet. This water can also be treated to use as potable water for drinking, dishwashing, bathing, etc. This system requires gutters that move the rainfall to a catchment area. There are many advantages with rainwater harvesting, such as the cost and energy savings with the reduced use of treated municipal water, reduced columns of stormwater runoff that results in preventing flooding and channel erosion.
Passive Solar Heating
For this system, solar energy is mainly collected on the south-facing windows. Building material is very important for this, as the material must be able to store the heat; materials such as concrete slabs, brick walls, etc. The main components are the aperture (collector [window]), absorber (masonry wall, floor, or water container), thermal mass (material below or behind the absorber), distribution, and control (the overhang of the roof). This system allows heat from the sun to enter the space during winter months and block it the sun during hot summer months.
This one might be new to many but with this system, it is the use of one or more ground source heat pump. The diagram above shows that at depths of 8 to 10 feet where the earth remains at an average annual air temperature. These heat pumps have fluid circulating through the ground loop where it moved heat to and from the earth. There are four basic types of geothermal energy sources; we have horizontal loops, vertical loops, pond/lake loops, and open loops. I would like to say that this is also a very costly installation but in the long run, it will be worth it! 🙂
For me, green design is a step in the right direction for our future. I can understand why many do not care as they might see it has “well I won’t be alive, so why should I care?” Which, one is a horrible excuse and two we should care! Or I have seen the “climate change is not REAL.” There are plenty PLENTY of reports that can be sent your way and hit you in the face just like how climate change is hitting us in the face! Maybe then those people will see that it is absolutely real. We should care for the future of our planet for the children that will have to grow up in that environment. I had seen a video post on Instagram and it hit me like a brick wall. Why should others have to suffer so poorly because of large corporations? If there is a way through architecture that can lessen this suffering, that can improve life for people with a small negative impact on the planet; why do we not go towards those directions?
Green design for me is about the future this planet has and how architecture can assist in saving it. There are many other things that must be done to save our planet but as designers, as architects, as engineers, as PEOPLE, why not use those skills that were even to us to do good? I want to see a future where people are not suffering and living in horrid conditions due to our negligence as some already are. With the career I am trying to pursue, I will try my best to continue my adventure on learning different green strategies to implement into my future designs. I would hope you would do the same, in whatever way possible.
Now I will ask you, what do you think about green design? Would you think of a green strategy to use when doing a renovation?
Climate change is real. Take care of the planet. Reduce your negative impact on the earth.