Sustainable architecture is being implemented in public building designs. While cost is always an important consideration for civic building planners, spending more up-front on sustainable strategies can not only save money but can also impact other things (such as air quality and overall well-being) in ways that can lead to a more positive future. Sustainable architecture involves the use of certain design strategies that can reduce the environmental impact of a built structure or environment. Architects take certain things into consideration as they create their design, which can include but may not be limited to:
- Site landscape
- Energy management
- Stormwater management
They also use systems and building materials that can be installed with laser measuring tools and are friendlier to the environment.
Common Sustainable Architecture Strategies
While designing buildings with sustainability in mind, they use certain strategies that can include but may not be limited to:
- Passive Sustainable Design — Passive strategies (such the orientation of the sun and the surrounding climate) are used as a way to create sustainability on a specific property. Being careful about window placement and operation can manage daylighting and natural ventilation, which can go a long way toward energy efficiency. Thermal mass techniques can also be used to take advantage of solar energy, which can be helpful in certain climates.
- Active Sustainable Design — Architects work with mechanical and electrical engineers to create more efficient electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and other systems that are designed in a way that minimizes its environmental impact.
- Renewable Energy Systems — Including renewable energy systems (such as those that use solar and wind energy) are great options for some building designs, and they’re often used in combination with passive design strategies.
- Green Building Materials and Finishes — By purchasing steel, lumber, concrete, and finishing materials (such as carpet and furnishings) from companies that use environmentally-friendly manufacturing techniques (such as recycling), architects can make the building more sustainable.
- Native Landscaping — Choosing the right landscaping can make a big impact on the water consumption of a civic building. By using trees, plants, and grasses that are native to the area, architects can reduce the need for irrigation. Landscaping can also be part of a passive energy strategy. Planting trees in the right area can shade the roof and windows during the hottest time of the day, which can reduce the amount of solar heat gain inside a building.
- Stormwater Management — When rain falls on a site that hasn’t been touched, any water that doesn’t evaporate gets absorbed back into the ground and replenishes the natural water table. But when a building is constructed in a specific area (along with parking lots, sidewalks, access roads, and other types of hardscaping) rainfall will behave in a different manner. The water will run off these surfaces and into the storm drains. By using laser measuring tools to design and build a stormwater management strategy (such as pervious pavement that can reduce the number of runoff and retention ponds by slowly releasing water back into the ground) can reduce the impact the structure will have on the environment.
Coming up with sustainable architecture doesn’t have to be a daunting project. An experienced architect will take everything into careful consideration, so he or she can come up with a strategy that will fit the needs and budget of the client. If you’re an architect and you’re looking for a place where you can purchase laser measuring tools and other things you can use for creating a sustainable design, be sure to look at what we have at Engineer Supply. We’re sure you’ll be able to find a product that will meet your specific needs.