Sustainability is a word that's becoming increasingly familiar. Little by little, the message of caring for the environment is permeating society and becoming a way of life. With the growth of cities, the need to preserve natural resources has begun to affect many different market sectors. Architecture is one example, with buildings being designed which are 100% sustainable and energy efficient, and which blend in with their surroundings. This is where the concept of sustainable architecture comes from.
What does sustainable architecture mean?
Sustainability in architecture refers to the use of environmentally-friendly processes and materials during the construction process.
It means studying the environment and design in relation to the site where a building is to be built, reconstructed or remodelled, and including its characteristics in the design. In this way, the design can be adapted to the surroundings, and not the other way around. It is a way to minimise the impact of buildings on the environment through efficient energy consumption and making full use of the development space.
However, it is not only the surrounding environment that has an influence; sustainable architecture also seeks to use natural, 100% recyclable and reusable building materials, combined with renewable energy sources.
The bases of sustainable architecture
There are five fundamental elements of sustainable architecture:
- Optimization of resources and materials.
- Reduction of energy consumption and use of renewable energies.
- Reduction of waste and emissions.
- Reduced maintenance, operation and use of buildings.
- Increased quality of life for building occupants.
As an architect, why are you interested in pursuing sustainable architecture?
Governments have realised the importance of pursuing and promoting sustainability and are implementing changes aimed at reducing the use of cars in large cities. Furthermore, the European Commission is studying the possibility of introducing a tax on plastic in order to encourage companies to seek sustainable alternatives and to reduce its use considerably.
In addition, work has begun on initiatives and strategies to encourage this new approach to building, through the efficient use of resources and focus on the welfare of the environment where the construction is planned. The idea is that, in a few years, bioconstruction will be at the heart of the construction industry.
As an example, the city of Valencia is already working on the IRTA Plan (the Plan to Boost Innovation and Applied Research for the Ecological Transition in Architecture) with the aim of providing assistance to architects who base their designs on sustainable architecture.
At the national level, the central government has been developing the Recovery, Transformation and Resiliency Plan, with the aim of subsidising energy efficiency in buildings in order to move towards a greener, more digital, more socially and territorially cohesive, and more equal Spain.
In other words, it is clear that sustainable architecture will become the driving force of construction in the near future. Architects who commit to bioconstruction will undoubtedly find a place in the market and ensure its growth.
What does sustainable architecture have in store for us in the coming years?
90% Reduction in household energy demands
This will be made possible through the design of passive houses. These are houses that are heated by sunlight, for example, thus eliminating the need for other heating systems. They use natural ventilation designed for healthier air, and a high level of acoustic insulation (a must for buildings in cities where there is lots of noise, where it is important to provide a space for rest and relaxation in the home).
Making the most of natural resources and the orientation of the terrain
The orientation and natural resources of the terrain are important; depending on its orientation and location, depending on how it is designed, it will be more or less efficient. Integration into the surrounding environment and the selection of materials will also be of utmost importance in order to make best use of these aspects.
Accentuating the exterior of the house
The union between spaces is another significant feature of sustainable architecture, such as the merging of the interior environment with the exterior, through large windows or terraces, for example, as well as balconies that can be used all year round.
Soundproofing and thermal insulation
Even if we are not aware of it, external noise has an effect on our quality of life. It is therefore important that we use materials which provide a certain level of soundproofing and which can contribute to the acoustic insulation of a space.
The latest technology integrated into the environment and space
Another factor to take into account as regards sustainable architecture is the way in which technology is integrated into the building and its surrounding environment. Technology plays a fundamental role in the creation of efficient, state-of-the-art buildings. An example of this can be seen in access control systems, which are increasingly in demand by clients when it comes to ensuring the security of their building, whether it be a home or a business.
As specialists in access control and electronic security systems, NÜO works closely with architects and engineers, providing access control solutions with elegant and customisable designs, fully integrated into the building's design so as not to spoil its harmony and beauty.
In addition, our devices are made using fully sustainable and 100% reusable materials such as aluminium and tempered glass, which provide elegance, sustainability and durability.