Sustainable architecture would not make sense without sustainable construction, there is no doubt and, in turn, it is based on a series of principles necessary for the result to respond to its demands.
As with all disciplines, the level of detail is often very complicated and, in this case, unnecessary. In fact, our intention in this article is to capture the essence of the concept for a first approximation.
One of the great rules of eco-construction refers to size. Logically, a smaller project will require fewer materials and, therefore, the environmental impact will always be less. In turn, other factors will influence such as the type of materials, their carbon footprint, landscape impact, durability and, for example, functionality with a view to a bioclimatic design.
The approach that a sustainable architecture should take is oriented more towards what is strictly necessary than what is possible. In this case, the ecological rule of the three Rs also prevails. That of reducing, reusing and recycling is perfectly applicable when it comes to sustainable architecture.
- Professionalism, necessary
- Choose where to invest
- Beyond construction
Although common sense can help a lot when taking into account all aspects related to a sustainable project, ideally we should allow ourselves to be advised by professionals specialized in this field .
Not only at the level of architects, but also of other professionals to whom, in fact, those resort regularly to optimize projects in terms of sustainability. Not in vain, it is necessary to work on issues related to:
- Weather conditions.
- Types of green energies applicable.
- Sustainable and / or local plant species.
- Irrigation systems.
- Water recycling systems.
- Style and aesthetics.
Choose where to invest
The choice of terrain and construction materials is a key aspect for a construction to be durable. Depending on that we can choose these, with the aim of making good decisions that achieve a construction characterized by sustainability.
Achieving a puzzle in which everything fits perfectly means sustainability, as we achieve the functions we want at all levels: insulation, use of weather conditions, performance of green energy, passive systems, among many others.
Or, what is the same, by choosing the pieces of the puzzle well, such as the characteristics of the terrain, the eco-materials will fulfill their function as planned, avoiding us spending money in the future to solve problems that should have been foreseen.
Optimizing construction from an ecological approach , in short, is essential to guarantee the sustainability that we seek when the objective is to be faithful to an architecture that respects the environment. This, logically, implies investing in what is going to give the best results in each case, addressing in one way or another, with more or less detail such basic issues as thermal insulation, the shape of the construction (more or less compact, etc. .), vegetation, energy production or, for example, water and waste management.
On the other hand, the comfort and well-being of its inhabitants does not have to be incompatible with the sustainability of the home or, broadening the focus, with any other type of construction, after all the same.
Normally, the costs of building materials and the architectural project itself tend to be a higher cost . However, it is also true that long-term energy savings are savings that are well worth the investment.
Thanks to the installation of systems that allow us to supply ourselves with renewable energies and a series of practices that allow us to reduce energy losses , as well as the need to consume it, it is amortized. Over time, architectural and energy sustainability also translate into significant savings without sacrificing a good quality of life.
As a broad concept, sustainable architecture must also contemplate the place where the construction is located . Not only with regard to choosing a land that involves a minimum environmental possible, and at the same time allows to take advantage of the climatic advantages and durability of the property, but also in terms of mobility.
That is, it is basically about choosing a location that is not isolated. While it is true that leading the life of a hermit is an interesting option, it is not usually common and having to use the car every day is not an echo gesture, precisely.
In this way, architectural sustainability is also the choice of a geographical point that allows us to combine environmental well-being (natural or less polluted areas) while facilitating communications .
The binomial good communication (road infrastructures, etc.) and environmental health, therefore, is another point to take into account for a construction to be sustainable from a point of view that goes beyond the architecture itself. And, since we all depend to a greater or lesser extent on means of transport, if access to public means is facilitated, all the better.
In the same way, having a home to go on vacation is not very ecological. Although we can make a couple of trips (round trip), the fact that it is our second home, and is empty almost all year round, is an environmental luxury. At the same time, if it is also far from shops and other places that we usually frequent, the result will be having to take the car and, therefore, an increasing carbon footprint …
That we have sustainable means of transport? Be it an electric car, train or bicycle, it cannot be denied that the situation changes. Therefore, each case must be assessed to draw conclusions.
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