Everything is changing and architecture is no different. However, since the last couple of years, thanks to the overreaching arms of the internet and social media, this change is accelerating at an extreme pace. The things that were en vogue just last year might not be en vogue this year. Although one notices this trend much more in fashion, it is also evident in the architecture. But it doesn’t matter whether we are talking about fashion or architecture, this change hides a harsh reality behind it. Since we are changing things so quickly, we also discard things much more than we used to. Movements like green architecture are countering this very trend.
What is green architecture?
Architecture that has sustainability and eco-friendliness as its ideals is green architecture. Green architects are designing homes and buildings, which are energy-efficient, sustainable and demonstrate the possibility of co-existing in harmony with nature. Some green architectural buildings are able to integrate natural materials, systems and landscapes with urban and rural lifestyles. You can hire architects who have degrees in architecture as well as additional qualifications in environmental or green concepts.
Some green architecture elements are:
If you take interest in building a green home or office building, your architect will advise you to incorporate which green architecture concepts would be ideal for you. These could be solar panels, thermal mass structure construction, using natural/green materials or recycled materials. An ecofriendly building’s entire process should be green, starting from the first site visit by the architect.
He/she will note the surroundings and ecology of the area, the climate, the local or recycled materials available, and the previous usage of the site. After this, a green architect will design the building keeping in mind all the eco friendly house features, which can be incorporated. Here are some green architecture elements you can consider:
Greening your insulation will keep your structure cool naturally, making it energy efficient. It is a green architecture feature. You can incorporate it in many ways, including installing rain screens. A rain screen allows air to pass through the wall siding of your home, pulling the stagnant moisture and air from the membrane (waterproof) and keeping the ambient cold or hot air from escaping through the home’s insulation.
Image Source : underground-homes.com
Bermed home is a green architecture concept that is becoming quite popular. You dig it into either a hillside or ground level. Furthermore, it has earth on two sides – the roof/top and the rear. Bermed homes have underground living areas and have large courtyards or central atriums which provide cool air, natural light and insulation.
Using recycled materials
The La Casa de Botella is an outstanding example of a home made from a whopping 6 million beer bottles. You need not be that extreme, but you may think of building an unconventional home using unconventional, recycled materials. The association called BMRA helps builders to find construct and deconstruct sources, so that they can use material saved from demolished buildings.
Using natural materials is an inherent part of green architecture. Your architect may advise you to use natural materials for the roofing, decking and siding. You can use renewable materials like cork, bamboo, etc for flooring. Sustainably manufactured and sourced Kebony wood clads can be used to cover the exterior, helping the home blend into the natural landscape. Many architects all over the world are reverting to traditional building materials like raw earth to construct modern eco-friendly homes.
Installing solar panels, going off the grid or deriving energy from wind turbines or other renewable energy sources can make your home/workspace much more ecofriendly.
Flat roofs are also an important element of green architecture. They can be used to create decks or rooftop gardens, which can keep the temperature of the building/home down. Having greenery on top of the buildings reduces direct sunlight impact and cuts down the running time of heating and cooling systems.
Tiny living big design
If you want to lower your building’s ecological footprint, plan to build a tiny one. Tiny homes or offices do not have to compromise on design or functionality. Your architect can design a beautiful green building albeit a tiny one, which meets all your requirements.
Composite building material
Composite boards consist of a mix of rice husks, sawdust and recycled plastic. These boards last for years, withstanding all kinds of weather, and look great even after many years. The colors are infused throughout the composite boards, and there is no painting or staining required. You can use composite boards for siding, decking etc and be assured of using a material, which is sustainable and recycled.
Water harvesting need not have to be ugly blue barrels collecting rainwater. Installing an aesthetically pleasing water harvesting system is easier when your home’s roof slopes towards the center, instead of a roof that peaks at the center, then sloping down and outward.
Some examples of green buildings:
Hyperion Towers, New Delhi
Image Source : cdnimd.worldarchitecture.org
The French architect Vincent Callebaut is designing the Hyperion Towers project. The Towers bring to mind an Avatar like world, as wooden towers stretch out to the skies, connected by swirling beams and greenery. This unique green project will integrate crop rotation in urban farms, with domestic animals used for meat and dairy needs.
The agricultural waste would be used for alternative energy generation. The 36 stories tall tower complex is going to have homes, restaurants, gyms and of course, the farms. An amazing example of environmentally friendly architecture examples, Hyperion Towers is a spellbinding project, one of a kind eco friendly housing project.
Bamboo has been used as material for flooring and décor, but this skyscraper would be made completely out of the renewable resource. GRG architects displayed their bamboo skyscraper series in World Architecture Festival.
Nanyang Technical University, Singapore
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The university building exemplifies eco friendly architecture at its best – beauty and green concepts merged together to create a unique structure. The semi-circular shape minimizes the building’s heat loss. The building’s roof being a lawn, functions as a gathering space, improves insulation and is a sustainable ecosystem.
Responding to the drought situation in California; UC Davis students designed this incredible self-sustaining home. It takes its power from solar energy. Furthermore, it conserves more than 50% of the water in the house. It consists of wood, which you fell during the drought season. Therefore, it doesn’t utilize wooden logs derived from cutting new trees. The windows too are energy efficient and this home is a true example of a completely green building.
Green architecture concepts are now being incorporated in most new structures globally. People and architects are responding to the call of scientists to reduce global warming, by designing eco-friendly, energy-efficient, low polluting buildings.