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Sustainable Architecture and its effect on Climate Change

Updated: May 10, 2019

Toronto Tree Tower proposal by PENDA, built from cross-laminated timber modules

Looking at the bigger picture, we have realised that mankind is destroying the planet with all of the greenhouse gas emissions produced on a daily basis.

As architects, we are responsible to ensure that our designs improve the environment around us. The benefits within a sustainable approach are countless; for example, waste reduction, water conservation, temperature moderation, emissions reduction and so on.

For us to understand global warming, we first need to understand what affects climate change. The layer of greenhouse gasses (water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane and chlorofluorocarbons) are what allow the heat from the sun to enter our planet but prevent some of the heat from escaping. The more the gasses, the less heat escapes thus the hotter it gets; the gases trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere is what we know as the greenhouse effect. This causes the glaciers to melt, rising the sea levels, flooding coastal regions.

Therefore, the future to architecture is sustainable architecture, also known as green architecture.

The United Nations Environment Programme recently confirmed that the buildings and the built environment are responsible for almost half of all global energy use. This means that 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions are produced by buildings; they also consume 25% of all drinkable water and are account for 20% of all solid waste produced in developed countries. Taking these facts into consideration, architects should respond to any problem with a sustainable design strategy, reducing energy consumption of a dwelling.

The aim of sustainable architecture is to complete construction or renovation of buildings by using a combination of energy-efficient technology, renewable materials and an innovative and passive design. This approach uses sustainable products, minimising the environmental impact of a new development. Through this method, we seek to minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings by efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy, and development space and the ecosystem at large.

Next post will consist of different sustainable materials that can be used during construction to help reduce the overall energy of a household.

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