Top 5 Benefits of Sustainable Architecture
The basis of sustainable architecture is designing buildings that limit construction and operation processes’ adverse impacts on the environment.
Entities, like the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), provide the resources and support to achieve “healthy, efficient, carbon and cost-saving green building.”
Ultimately, the goal is to create a symbiotic relationship with nature, the built environment, and human life, also known as ecosystems, where civilization is in harmony with the natural world.
Architecture plays a significant role in our lives and environment, and its sustainability is vital to improving all aspects of our lives and the world around us.
1. Reducing Environmental Contamination
Traditional architecture’s adverse effects on the environment stem from the extraction, manufacturing, use, and disposal of common construction materials:
- Wood-based Products
These materials and the chemicals within them pollute the following:
Contaminants that harm the natural world include:
2. Minimizing Environmental Hazards
Sustainable solutions include flexible, macro-scale urban planning and micro-scale structural installments.
According to a 2014 academic data analysis article, “Flexibility in design enables the development of ‘age-friendly cities,’ reducing the risks of functional failures caused by changing living circumstances.
Planning strategies that enable adaptation of the system to change environmental, functional, social, and technological conditions are essential to the long service life and the resilience of buildings and hence to sustainable city development.”
Minimizing the risk of wildfire damage to a structure, appropriate landscaping, and structural architecture is vital.
Create a five-foot perimeter with minimal landscaping around your home or structure. Regularly remove dead, dry, and flammable foliage within that perimeter.
Homeowners should also avoid flammable hardscaping (e.g., wooden fences).
Avoid Architectural Elements like:
- Elevated Decks
- Raised Foundations
Include Architectural Elements like:
- The architect should specify a Class A fire retardant that builders apply to wooden structures and roof substrates (roof tiles, decking, and membranes).
- The structure’s design should also include wire-mesh screen coverings for vent openings. These barricades will help block embers from entering your home or building.
3. Optimizing Energy Use
Optimizing energy use prevents unnecessary energy use, saves money, and reduces carbon emissions.
Energy optimization solutions include:
- Cool Roofs – reflect sunlight (UV rays), reducing heat absorption and air conditioning needs.
- Solar Panels – generate sustainable, clean energy.
- Anti-solar Panels – harvest energy at night.
Together, solar and anti-solar panels provide homes and buildings with sustainable energy to use all day and all year.
4. Human Health Part 1: Improving Air Ventilation
- HRV – captures heat from the stale indoor air being replaced with fresh outdoor air. It can also remove heat from incoming airstreams and transfer it to the exhausting stale air.
- ERV – a type of HRV that transfers heat and moisture. It lowers home moisture levels in hot, humid months by removing moisture from the incoming air. A dryer environment is cheaper to cool, keeping the AC bill lower.
During winter and its dry climate, ERVs recover moisture from HRV exhausting airstreams, preventing respiratory conditions, dry skin, nose bleeds, and dry eyes.
Upgrade Your HVAC Air Filter
The EPA categorizes air filters via Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) ratings, numerically ranging from 1-16, representing a filter’s efficiency at capturing a specific range of air particle sizes (between 0.3 to 10.0 microns).
The higher the MERV, the smaller the air particles a filter can capture.
As of early 2023, federal buildings must use at least MERV-13 filters, which have an average efficiency of 75% regarding their ability to capture air particles ranging from 0.3 to 10.0 microns.
5. Improving Human Health Part 2: Enhancing Natural Lighting
Embrace daylighting by optimizing natural lighting and reducing a design’s reliance on artificial lighting.
By integrating natural light-amplifying features into a building’s design, architects, interior designers, contractors, and construction companies improve human health and reduce carbon footprints, remaining competitive in an evolving market.
Physiological Health Benefits
Efficiently lit spaces reduce the dark, used areas where mold and bacteria like to grow, preventing the dangers of breathing in harmful microorganisms.
Other benefits include:
- Boosting Vitamin D Levels
- Breaking Down Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats
- Enhancing Nervous System Functions
- Improving Blood Pressure
Mental Health Benefits
More sunshine can improve psychological characteristics and functions, like:
- Sleep Quality
- Energy Levels
Sunshine is also known to help combat the severity of seasonal anxiety and depression common during winter months.
Sustainability is the New Normal
Sustainability isn’t a fad; it’s the future. Our built environment’s impact on humankind and our natural world is much more evident than ever before.
We can’t go back in time and change what has already been done, but we can take steps to improve life for all. Already, substantial organizations across the globe provide resources to advance sustainable architecture, from design and construction best practices to how to ensure a build contributes to economic growth.
Mitchell Wall: We Will Design Your Sustainable Build
At Mitchell Wall Architecture & Design, our talented architects and designers are adaptive and incredibly knowledgeable of the industry and its advancements in sustainable architecture.
We can apply sustainable practices to all our generalized project scopes: residential, non-residential, and interior design.
Are you interested in applying sustainable architecture practices to your design? We’ll work with you throughout the architecture process to ensure the results meet your aesthetic expectations and the set sustainable standards.
All you have to do is contact us and schedule an initial meeting to discuss your project’s scope and how we can help you achieve your dream build.