What are the elements of sustainable architecture

Sustainable architecture is architecture that aims to minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings through efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy, development space and the ecosystem as a whole. Sustainable architecture uses a conscious use of energy and ecological protection when designing the built environment.

The idea of ​​sustainability or ecological design is to ensure that our actions and decisions do not affect the possibilities of future generations.

Sustainable use of energy
Energy efficiency over the entire life cycle of a building is the most important goal of sustainable architecture. Architects use a wide variety of passive and active techniques to reduce the energy needs of buildings and increase their ability to generate or generate their own energy. One of the keys to using local environmental resources and influencing energy-related factors such as daylight, solar heat gains and ventilation is the use of site analysis.

Efficiency of heating, ventilation and cooling systems
Numerous passive architectural strategies have been developed over time. Examples of such strategies are the arrangement of rooms or the dimensioning and orientation of windows in a building as well as the orientation of facades and streets or the relationship between building heights and street widths for urban planning.

An important and inexpensive element of an efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is a well-insulated building. A more efficient building requires less heat generation or dissipation, but may need more ventilation capacity to remove contaminated indoor air.

Significant amounts of energy are flushed out of buildings in the streams of water, air and compost. Off the shelf, on-site energy recycling technologies can effectively recover energy from hot waste water and stale air and transfer that energy to fresh cold water or fresh air. Recovering energy for purposes other than gardening from compost leaving buildings requires centralized anaerobic digesters.

HVAC systems are powered by motors. Compared to other metal conductors, copper helps to improve the electrical energy yield of motors and thus to improve the sustainability of electrical components.

Location and building orientation have a significant impact on a building's HVAC efficiency.

Passive solar building design enables buildings to use the sun's energy efficiently without the use of active solar mechanisms such as solar cells or solar hot water panels. Typically, passive solar building structures contain materials with high thermal mass that effectively store heat and strong insulation that prevents heat from escaping. Low-energy designs also require the use of sun protection, by means of awnings, blinds or shutters, in order to relieve the solar heat gain in summer and to reduce the need for artificial cooling. In addition, low energy houses typically have a very low surface area to volume ratio in order to minimize heat loss. This means that extensive building structures with multiple wings (which are often considered "organic") are often avoided in favor of more centralized structures. Conventional buildings with cold climates, such as B. American colonial salt box designs provide a good historical model of central heating efficiency in a small building.

The windows are placed in such a way that the heat input from the light is maximized while the heat loss through the glass, a poor insulator, is minimized. In the northern hemisphere, large numbers of south-facing windows are typically installed to capture direct sunlight and severely limit the number of north-facing windows. Certain window types, such as double or triple glazed insulated windows with gas-filled spaces and coatings with low emissivity (Low-E), offer much better insulation than one-piece glass windows. In the summer months it is important to avoid excess sunlight with sun protection devices in order to reduce the need for cooling. Deciduous trees are often planted in front of windows to block the excessive sun with their leaves in summer, but to let light through in winter when their leaves fall off. Slats or light shelves are installed to let in sunlight in winter (when the sun is lower in the sky) and keep it out in summer (when the sun is high in the sky). Coniferous or evergreen plants are often planted north of buildings to protect against cold north winds.

In colder climates, heating systems are a primary concern for sustainable architecture as they are typically one of the largest single drains in buildings.

In warmer climates where cooling is of great importance, passive solar designs can also be very effective. Masonry building materials with a high thermal mass are very valuable for keeping the cool night temperatures throughout the day. In addition, construction companies often choose extensive single-story structures to maximize surface area and heat loss. Buildings are often designed to capture and channel existing winds, especially the particularly cool winds emanating from nearby bodies of water. Many of these valuable strategies are used in some ways by traditional warm region architecture such as the Southwest Mission Buildings.

In a four-season climate, an integrated energy system will become more efficient: if the building is well insulated, if it works with the forces of nature, if heat is recovered (to be used immediately or to be stored), if the heat is installed on fossil fuels or electricity are more than 100% efficient, and when renewable energies are used.

Renewable energy generation

Solar panels
Active solar systems such as photovoltaic solar modules help to provide sustainable electricity for every use. The electrical output of a solar panel depends on the orientation, the efficiency, the latitude and the climate - the solar gain varies even at the same latitude. Typical efficiencies for commercially available PV modules are between 4% and 28%. The low efficiency of certain photovoltaic modules can have a significant impact on the payback time of their installation. This low efficiency does not mean that solar panels are not a viable energy alternative. In Germany, for example, solar modules are usually installed in residential buildings.

Roofs are often inclined towards the sun so that photovoltaic modules can collect with maximum efficiency. In the northern hemisphere, exposure to the south maximizes the yield from solar panels. If south-south is not possible, solar panels can generate sufficient energy if they are oriented within 30 ° south. At higher latitudes, however, the energy yield in winter for the non-south orientation is significantly reduced.

In order to maximize efficiency in winter, the collector can be inclined over the horizontal latitude + 15 °. To maximize efficiency in summer, the Latitude angle should be -15 °. For maximum annual production, the angle of the plate above the horizontal should be equal to the latitude.

Wind turbines
The use of undersized wind turbines in energy generation in sustainable structures requires many factors to be taken into account. When looking at cost, small wind turbines tend to be more expensive than larger wind turbines in relation to the amount of energy they produce. In the case of small wind turbines, maintenance costs can be a decisive factor for locations with low wind energy utilization capabilities. In locations with low wind speeds, maintenance can take up a large portion of the revenue of a small wind turbine. Wind turbines are put into operation when the winds reach 8 mph, reach energy production capacity at speeds of 32-37 mph, and close to prevent damage at speeds above 55 mph. The energy potential of a wind turbine is proportional to the square of the length of its blades and to the cube of the speed at which its blades rotate. Although there are wind turbines available that can add power to a single building, these factors make the efficiency of the wind turbine highly dependent on the wind conditions at the construction site. For these reasons, wind turbines must be installed in locations known to receive a constant amount of wind (with average wind speeds greater than 15 mph) rather than locations where wind is sporadic. A small wind turbine can be installed on a roof. Installation problems then include the strength of the roof, vibration and turbulence caused by the roof molding. It is known that small rooftop wind turbines are able to generate electricity from 10% up to 25% of the electricity required by a normal household house. Residential-scale turbines are typically between 7 and 2 meters in diameter and generate electricity at a rate of 900 to 10,000 watts at the wind speed tested. The building-integrated performance of wind turbines can be improved by including a wing on a roof-mounted turbine.

Solar water heating
Solar water heaters, also called solar hot water systems, can be an inexpensive way to produce hot water for a home. They can be used in any climate and the fuel they consume - sunshine - is free.

There are two types of solar water systems - active and passive. An active solar panel system can produce approximately 80 to 100 gallons of hot water per day. A passive system has a lower capacity.

There are also two types of circulation, direct circulation systems and indirect circulation systems. Direct circulation systems direct domestic water through the panels. They should not be used in climates with freezing temperatures. Indirect circulation passes glycol or some other liquid through the solar panels and uses a heat exchanger to heat the domestic water.

The two most common types of collector panels are flat-plate and evacuated-tube. The two work in a similar fashion, except that evacuated tubes do not convectively lose heat, which greatly improves their efficiency (5% -25% more efficient). With these higher efficiencies, evacuated tube collectors can also generate space heating with higher temperatures and even higher temperatures for absorption cooling systems.

The hot water heating systems commonly used in homes today have an electrical requirement of approx. 4500 kW • h / year. With the use of solar collectors, the energy consumption is halved. The upfront costs for installing solar panels are high, but with the annual energy savings, the payback times are relatively short.

Heat pumps
Air source heat pumps (ASHP) can be viewed as reversible air conditioning systems. Like an air conditioner, an ASHP can take heat from a relatively cool room (e.g. a house at 70 ° F) and dump it in a hot place (e.g. outside at 85 ° F). Unlike an air conditioner, however, the condenser and evaporator of an ASHP can switch roles and absorb heat from the cool outside air and release it into a warm house.

Air heat pumps are inexpensive compared to other heat pump systems. However, the efficiency of air source heat pumps decreases when the outside temperature is very cold or very hot. therefore they are only really applicable in temperate climates.

For areas that are not in temperate climates, geothermal heat pumps (or geothermal heat pumps) are an efficient alternative. The difference between the two heat pumps is that the geothermal probe has one of its heat exchangers installed underground - usually in a horizontal or vertical arrangement. The groundwater source uses the relatively constant, mild temperatures underground, which means that its efficiencies can be much greater than that of an air heat pump. The geothermal heat exchanger generally requires a considerable area. Designers placed them in an open area next to the building or under a parking lot.

Energy Star ground source heat pumps can be 40% to 60% more efficient than their airborne counterparts. They are also quieter and can also be applied to other functions such as water heating.

In terms of initial cost, the geothermal heat pump system costs about twice as much as a standard air source heat pump that needs to be installed. However, the upfront costs can be more than offset by the decrease in energy costs. The reduction in energy costs is particularly evident in areas with typically hot summers and cold winters.

Other types of heat pumps are water-source and air-to-earth. If the building is near a body of water, the pond or lake could be used as a heat source or sink. Air-to-earth heat pumps circulate the building air through underground ducts. With higher fan performance requirements and inefficient heat transfer, air-to-earth heat pumps are generally impractical for larger structures.

Sustainable building materials
Some examples of sustainable building materials are recycled denim or blown fiber glass insulation, sustainably harvested wood, trass, linoleum, sheep's wool, concrete (high-performance and high-performance Roman self-healing concrete), sheets of paper flakes, baked earth, rammed earth, clay, vermiculite, flax linen, sisal, seaweed , Expanded clay, coconut, fibreboard, sand-lime brick, locally extracted stone and rock and bamboo, one of the strongest and fastest growing woody plants, and non-toxic, low-VOC adhesives and paints. Vegetative cover or shielding over building envelopes also helps with this. Paper that is made or made from forest wood should be 100 percent recyclable. It regenerates and saves almost all of the forest wood that is needed during the manufacturing process.

Recycled materials
Sustainable architecture often involves the use of recycled or used materials, such as recycled wood and recycled copper. Reducing the use of new materials leads to a corresponding reduction in embodied energy (energy used in the manufacture of materials). Often times, sustainable architects try to retrofit old structures to meet new needs in order to avoid unnecessary development. If necessary, architectural salvage materials and recycled materials are used. Often, when older buildings are demolished, any good wood is reclaimed, renewed, and sold as flooring. Any good dimension stone is recovered in a similar manner. Many other parts are also reused, such as doors, windows, mantels, and hardware, reducing the consumption of new goods. When new materials are used, green designers look for materials that replenish quickly, such as bamboo that can be harvested after just 6 years of growth, sorghum, or wheat straw. Both are waste materials that can be pressed into cladding or cork oaks, in which only the outer bark is removed for use, thus preserving the tree. If possible, building materials can be taken from the building site itself; For example, if a new structure is being built in a wooded area, wood from the trees cut to make room for the building would be reused as part of the building itself.

Lower volatile organic compounds
When possible, low impact building materials are used: for example, insulation made from low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) materials such as recycled denim or cellulose insulation can be used in place of building insulation materials that may contain carcinogenic or toxic materials such as formaldehyde. To deter insect damage, these alternative insulation materials can be treated with boric acid. Organic or milk-based colors can be used. A common fallacy, however, is that “green” materials are always better for the health of residents or the environment. Many harmful substances (including formaldehyde, arsenic, and asbestos) occur naturally and are not without their history of using with the best of intentions.A study of the emissions of materials by the State of California showed that there were some green materials with significant emissions, while some “traditional” materials were actually less emitted. Therefore, the issue of emissions needs to be carefully examined before concluding that natural materials are always the healthiest alternatives for residents and for the earth.

Volatile organic compounds (VOC) can be found in any indoor environment from a variety of sources. VOCs have a high vapor pressure and low water solubility and are suspected of causing pathological symptoms. This is because many VOCs cause sensory stimuli and central nervous system symptoms that are characteristic of sick building syndrome. The concentration of VOCs indoors is higher than in the outside atmosphere, and when many VOCs are present they can produce additive and multiplicative effects.

Green products are usually considered to have less VOC and are better for human health and the environment. A case study by the Department of Civil, Architecture, and Environmental Engineering at the University of Miami, comparing three green products and their non-green counterparts, found that both the green products and non-green counterparts emitted VOC levels that The amount and intensity of the VOCs emitted by the green products were much safer and more convenient for human exposure.

Materials sustainability standards
Despite the importance of materials for the overall sustainability of buildings, quantifying and assessing the sustainability of building materials has proven difficult. There is little coherence in measuring and assessing sustainability properties of materials, resulting in a landscape today littered with hundreds of competing, inconsistent and often inaccurate eco-labels, standards and certifications. This dissonance has created confusion among both consumers and commercial buyers and has led to inconsistent sustainability criteria being taken into account in larger certification programs such as LEED. Various proposals have been made to rationalize the standardization landscape for sustainable building materials.

Waste management
Waste is the form of used or useless material generated by households and businesses, by construction and demolition processes, and by manufacturing and agriculture. These materials are broadly categorized as municipal waste, construction and demolition rubble (C&D), and industrial or agricultural by-products. Sustainable architecture focuses on the use of on-site waste management. These include, for example, gray water systems for garden beds and compost toilets to reduce wastewater. These methods, when combined with on-site food composting and off-site recycling, can reduce a house's waste to a small amount of packaging waste.

Building placement
A central and often ignored aspect of sustainable architecture is the communication of buildings. Although the ideal home or office environment is often thought of as an isolated location, this type of placement is typically harmful to the environment. First, such structures often serve as ignorant frontlines of urban sprawl. Second, they usually increase the energy consumption required for transportation and lead to unnecessary car emissions. Ideally, most buildings should avoid suburban sprawl in favor of easy urban development as articulated by the New Urbanist movement. Careful blended zoning can make commercial, residential, and commercial areas more accessible to those who travel by foot, bike, or public transportation, as suggested in the Principles of Intelligent Urbanism. Studying permaculture in its holistic application can also help with proper building placement that minimizes energy consumption and works with the environment rather than against it, especially in rural and wooded areas.

Sustainable building advice
A sustainable building consultant can be employed early in the design process to predict the impact of building materials, orientation, glazing and other physical factors on sustainability in order to identify a sustainable approach that meets the specific needs of a project.

Norms and standards have been formalized for homes through performance-based rating systems such as LEED and Energy Star. You define the benchmarks to meet and provide metrics and tests to meet those benchmarks. It is up to the parties involved in the project to determine the best approach to meeting these standards.

Changing educators
Critics of modernism's reductionism often emphasized the abandonment of the theory of architectural history as a causal factor. The fact that some of the key players in the departure from modernism were trained at Princeton University's School of Architecture, where resorting to history continued to be part of design training in the 1940s and 1950s, was significant. The increasing interest in history has had a strong impact on architectural education. History courses became more typical and regular. With the demand for professors in the history of architecture, several PhD programs arose in architecture schools in order to differentiate themselves from art history PhD programs in which architectural historians were previously trained. In the US, MIT and Cornell were the first to emerge in the mid-1970s, followed by Columbia, Berkeley and Princeton. Among the founders of new architectural history programs were Bruno Zevi at the Institute for Architectural History in Venice, Stanford Anderson and Henry Millon at MIT, Alexander Tzonis at the Architectural Association, Anthony Vidler at Princeton, Manfredo Tafuri at the University of Venice, Kenneth Frampton at Columbia University and Werner Oechslin and Kurt Forster at the ETH Zurich.

The term “sustainability” in relation to architecture has so far mostly been viewed through the lens of building technology and its transformations. Beyond the technical realm of "green" design, invention and expertise, some scholars are beginning to position architecture within a much broader cultural framework of human interrelationship with nature. Adopting this framework enables a rich history of cultural debates to be traced back about our relationship with nature and the environment from the point of view of different historical and geographical contexts.

Sustainable urbanity and architecture
At the same time, the recent movements of New Urbanism and New Classical Architecture are promoting a sustainable approach to building that values ​​and develops intelligent growth, architectural tradition and classic design. This is in contrast to modernist and globally uniform architecture, but also to lonely housing estates and urban sprawl. Both trends started in the 1980s. The Drieehaus Architecture Prize is a prize that recognizes efforts in New Urbanism and New Classical Architecture and is worth twice as much as the Pritzker Prize for Modernism.

Accessibility, design and art
In order to integrate people with disabilities into work and everyday life, a sustainable building is designed in such a way that disabled people can use the building without outside help. This means, for example, the construction of barrier-free entrance areas and threshold-free room transitions. This quality criterion also includes the provision of handicapped-accessible workplaces, parking spaces and sufficient movement areas, such as sufficiently wide corridors and sufficient availability of handicapped-accessible toilets.

The general social acceptance of buildings within a city quarter and the city is increased by the criterion of accessibility. In accordance with this concept, a building is not a hermetically sealed building, but parts of the building are open to as many users as possible, such as outdoor facilities or building areas such as canteens or libraries. Sustainable building planning with regard to socio-cultural sustainability also ensures the public use of cafés, restaurants or studios. Sustainable building aims for a mixed use of this public space, which can easily be adapted to a changed conversion.

In order to increase the ecological and energy-efficient mobility of a sustainable building, the building is easily accessible by public transport (public transport) and by bike. The bicycle infrastructure should provide a sufficient number of bicycle parking spaces. These are optimally arranged near the entrance area. There are also showers and changing rooms for the bicycle users. This increases the attractiveness of the building and at the same time meets the ecological requirements.

Design and urban factors
The aesthetic aspect of a building also plays a major role in sustainable construction. This means the integration of the building into urban planning concepts and at the same time the structural diversity. The design and urban development quality is guaranteed through the implementation of planning competitions. The advantages of planning competitions lie in the expertise of the jury, which ensures the high architectural quality of the building project. It also ensures that the client of the construction project can find a suitable contractor in a transparent competitive process.

Art on the building
The art of building also plays an important role in increasing the structural quality of a building. Artworks has the task of creating a direct connection between the location and the building object and thereby strengthening the users' acceptance and identification with the building. They are also considered to be the interface between the building and the public. Aspects such as their function with the public, for example at events or guided tours, are accordingly.

There are conflicting ethical, technical, and political orientations depending on the points of view.

There is no doubt that green technology has made its way into the architectural community. The implementation of certain technologies has changed the way we see and perceive modern architecture. While green architecture has been shown to show great improvements in lifestyles, both in terms of the environment and technology, the question remains, is all of this sustainable? Many building regulations have been adapted to international standards. “LEED” (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) has been criticized for having flexible rules for the construction industry. Contractors do this to save as much money as possible. For example, a building may have solar cladding, but if the building core infrastructure does not support this over a long period of time, improvements would have to be made on a constant basis and the building itself would be prone to disaster or improvement. When companies take paths in building their structures to come to terms with sustainable architecture, this leads to the irony that “sustainable” architecture is not sustainable at all. Sustainability refers to longevity and effectiveness.

Ethics and politics also play a role in sustainable architecture and its ability to grow in urban settings. Contradicting viewpoints between engineering techniques and environmental impacts are still popular topics at play in the architectural community. With every revolutionary technology or innovation, there is criticism of the legitimacy and effectiveness of when and how it is used. Many of the criticisms of sustainable architecture do not reflect every aspect, but a broader spectrum in the international community.

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