Guide to Design of Sustainable Buildings
In my previous article, we discussed the concept of Sustainability in a way understood by Architects. In this article, we will discuss in brief all the necessary design features to be incorporated in a building to make it Sustainable.
Sustainable buildings should:
Harvest all of their own water and energy needs on site.
Be adapted specifically to site climate and evolve as conditions change.
Operate pollution free and generate no waste that aren’t useful for some other process in the building or immediate environment.
Promote the health and well-being of all inhabitants, as a healthy ecosystem does.
It should comprise energy efficient integrated systems that maximize efficiency and comfort.
Improve the health and diversity of the local ecosystem rather than degrade it.
Be beautiful and inspire us to dream.
A practical guide towards achieving Sustainability in Design
A building cannot be sustainable unless its interior design is not in tandem with it. Solar and Wind energy should be made use of and the orientation and placement of a site should be looked into.
Positioning of windows should be such that they allow cross ventilation, thus creating climate sensitive design.
Day lighting is an important factor that has considerable importance in case of any design. Day lighting reduces the need for artificial lighting thus saving energy.
For furniture, instead of hardwoods, renewable materials like rubber wood, bamboo and cane can be used.
Glass can be used as facade cladding with opaque insulation thus helping in keeping the building cool. Special venetian blinds further cool the rooms.
Landscaping should be done on roofs to minimize solar gain.
Innovative construction techniques for roofing such as domes, arches and precast brick panels should be used as they reduce energy consumption of a building. Non-mechanical systems for cooling and heating should be preferred, introducing air-conditioning only when absolutely necessary.
Rainwater harvesting is an important aspect of sustainability.
Sustainable design is the thoughtful integration of architecture with electrical, mechanical, and structural engineering. In addition to concern for the traditionalism, aesthetics, massing, proportion, scale, texture, shadow and light, the design team needs to be concerned with long term costs: environmental, economic and human.
All in all, a sustainable design is more a practical philosophy of the building than perspective building style.