Sustainability in Architecture
How it works
Sustainability in architecture is a concept that has been spread across the United States of America for decades now. For some time now the public has acknowledged that if we don’t take care of the world we live in then soon it will be gone. The first signs that warned the people in urban areas were not only the in your face issue of global warming but also the increase in the price of energy. Building and business owners found themselves needing more efficient ways to save and conserve as much energy as possible. Some people have a misconception that a green building is one that is physically green or surrounded by a green space. Green is a word that holds justification for environmentally sustainable buildings that induce energy conservation and reduction over the use of water and electricity (Case Study). Sustainability in architecture and design are methods to reduce the impact on the environment by using natural resources like energy, water, as well as making a healthier environment. It has taken different twists and turns but no matter the difference in design they all help conserve resources and reduce overall cost. People all over the world have realized that we have to make a change in the world and architecture is just one part of the movement.
There have been several different studies that prove that the world as we know it is fading more rapidly than ever. Their evidence includes excessive pollution and overpopulation; the United States is a prime example of their studies. In order to change urban areas around the U.S and make the cities “greener” government movements have been made in efforts to bring out and connect the civilians to the space around them. This has worked as a form of revitalization – the action of imbuing something with new life and vitality. As Mark Knaggs pointed out in “Urban Renewals” places like the 12-acre park in Hudson, Texas:
How it works
Originally the spot for a high-end residential neighborhood in the late 19th Century, it later was transformed into a large parking lot area. To really transform this hardscape-heavy space, the city decided to tear up the parking lot to create Discovery Green. The urban park has features like restaurants, dog runs, playgrounds, music stages, trails, gardens and more.
Knaggs highlights how projects like this that involve design merge the people in the city together by making it a more homey place where parents want their kids to grow up. The landscape architects involved in the development of this significantly large park had to find ways to incorporate ideas from the people living around it but the architect also has to think of how it would affect the environment long term. To decrease the environmental footprint when designing in this day and age takes strategy, thought, and enough creativity to be able to make existing spaces new again.
Architectural sustainability is a build up of methods to reduce the impact on the environment by using natural resources like energy, water, as well as making a healthier environment. Many architects and designers have begun to realize that a method that is not only cost efficient but challenging is building renovations. Renovating an already existing building saves money, motivates creativity, and leaves room for incorporating energy efficiency within the building. Higher standards of living have exceeded the environments capacity to replace the used resources. Therefore, sustainability must become an integral part of all industries in the United States. Due to the standard of living rising and the ability to replace consumed resources decreasing architects have to be vigilant of the resources and money that goes into the design and structure of the buildings. Too much focus have been put on trash pickup and recycling when it comes to sustainability but what people tend to overlook is the construction and demolition waste in the construction industry. The journal “Building Reuses Assessment for Sustainable Urban Reconstruction” authors stated that “avoiding the demolition, removal, and reconstruction of the existing building precludes [prevent] energy expenditure [spending money] and landfill contributing waste generation. Avoiding demolition is a benefit of building component reuse because it conserves energy, saves materials and eliminates waste during construction. This method of simply reusing and modifying original structures will soon become the norm in construction. Conservation of basic materials and structural elements might just be the holy grail for sustainable architecture in urban areas.
Urban or in city reconstruction have proven to be increasingly difficult, expensive and time consuming. Underground levels of urban areas are crowded; plumbing features, transportation tunnels, and lower levels of buildings congest the subsurface of cities. The congestion of the underskirts of the urban areas makes new foundation and basement installation increasingly difficult. Therefore, a solution proposed, that is being more frequently used, was to partially reuse buildings to decrease waste and cost. The percent of reused components of a building is directly related to the overall benefits obtained from the final:
While partial reuse can benefit all projects, the most clear advantageous situation for building reuse is in urban environments, where sites maybe in premium locations, real estate costs tend to be high and new construction can negatively impact nearby structures. The main benefits of building reuse include sustainability, direct and indirect savings, reduced construction schedule, and decrease liability exposure.
Building component reuse saves overall cost during construction and general construction problems.Situations like labor disbursement, material expenses, disposal costs, scheduling, and noise reduction are minimized without tearing down the integrity and strength of the structure.