Sustainability has long been a buzzword in a variety of industries, but only recently have people started to realize just how important green building is. In the United States, buildings take up nearly 40% of all energy used and almost 70% of all electricity consumption. Switching to environmentally friendly architecture protects biodiversity, reduces waste, and conserves resources. Check out some of the ways that green architecture is making it into your city.
1. Green Roofs
Green roofs are increasingly popular among commercial building owners but can even be adapted for residential buildings. Simply put, a green roof is a garden that consists of a waterproof barrier, drainage material, a layer of soil, and plants. Bill Starkey, expert craftsman who takes a special interest in green architecture believes that it’s best to work with architects and designers who are already experienced in green design when making the switch to green roofing.
An architect who is experienced at eco-friendly designs will be able to tell whether the added weight on the roof requires you to add extra supports. An expert in plants can also help you to determine which plants for your roof will not only be low-maintenance but will help to insulate your home or business, filter rainwater, and create habitats for local wildlife.
2. Deep Water Cooling
A cooling method that draws cold water from deep in a lake or ocean, deep water cooling creates a comfortable atmosphere in office buildings by running the cold water through pipes in their floors. Ideally, the water used is fresh and can be fed back into the city’s water supply for free use. Because the method takes a lot of capital as a large upfront investment, deep water cooling is most often used by established businesses. Once installed, the system uses only about 10% as much energy as a traditional air conditioning system does.
3. Sustainable Lighting
In recent years, more and more business owners and homeowners are making the switch to sustainable lighting, focusing on finding ways to get more daylight into rooms and on ways to use lighting more efficiently when daylight isn’t available. Of course, sustainable lighting can also affect temperatures in a building. One up-and-coming example is smart glass. Smart glass is a type of glass that changes how it transmits light based on other factors, such as temperature. It can be used in combination with a climate control system to create more comfortable temperatures without straining an HVAC system.
4. Soft Engineering
Most commonly used along shorelines, soft engineering is the process of using rocks, vegetation, and other natural elements in civil engineering projects. The method is useful for creating reinforced shorelines that prevent erosion and reduce the possibility of landslides occurring. Because it also increases the green space in a particular area, soft engineering improves biodiversity along shorelines and may even reduce upfront capital needs and ongoing operational costs. Finally, most people consider this type of architecture to be more aesthetically pleasing.
The need for architects, landscape designers, and even interior designers who focus on sustainability is on the rise and is expected to continue the upward trend. Those who learn about green design will not only open themselves up to more job opportunities but can help the planet along the way.