What is sustainable architecture?

The term ‘sustainable architecture’ has become more prevalent throughout the construction industry in recent times. Also known as green architecture or green building, many projects are now embracing this concept.

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According to Science Direct, sustainable architecture involves buildings that are designed and constructed with environmentally-friendly principles at their forefront.

Important aspects of sustainable architecture

In sustainable architecture, buildings are designed and constructed in a way that minimises the impact they have on their environment. They need to be energy efficient and have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of their inhabitants.

Requests from consumers can be satisfied with sustainable architecture. Right from the beginning, the plans involve natural resources and the time needed to ensure that the space and the materials are completely reusable.

Certain fundamental elements need to be considered when designing sustainable buildings. These include natural ventilation, shading from existing buildings, orientation, and the use of technologies such as biomass and renewable energy systems.

Projects are approached holistically, with the social and psychosocial aspects considered alongside those of an environmental and technical nature.

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Materials used in sustainable architecture

Recycling is extremely important in sustainable architecture and almost everything used should have the ability to be recycled. Modular buildings are built with materials that can easily be retrieved, meaning that they can either be used again or ethically disposed of so that they do not cause any pollution by recycling them. Traditional buildings can be enhanced with materials such as brick cladding to improve their sustainability.

Modern composite elements are often made from different layers of materials bonded together chemically. This means they are very difficult to separate and pose difficulties when it comes to recycling, which restricts the spread of sustainable architecture.

Many modern materials, such as brick cladding, can be regarded as green or sustainable because they improve the energy efficiency of buildings. Some new materials have been said to set sustainable architecture back because they are so hard to reuse.

Unusual building materials

Materials such as cardboard tubes have been used to create structures by Shigeru Ban, a Japanese architect, while Earthships Biotecture has created projects using a variety of materials. Its passive solar buildings have loadbearing walls made from materials such as clay, dirt, wood, hay and dirt-filled tyres, with non-loadbearing walls created from bottles or cans.

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