GOING GREEN: 5 Ways Renewable Energy is Utilized in Sustainable Architecture

By David J. Chiodo on 05/15/2018

sustainable building design

In today's economy, the demand for sustainable buildings is increasing largely due to climate change, brought on by global warming.  The climate change is challenging architecture firms to invest in renewable energy.  By developing new sustainable buildings and homes, developers hope to minimize harmful effects caused to the environment. 

heating and cooling

WHAT IS A SUSTAINABLE BUILDING?

A sustainable building, or a green building, is a construction practice focusing on increasing the efficiency of resources used. From creating renewable energy to regulating a building’s temperature, the top architecture firms apply for certifications such as Green-Globes, LEED, and Energy Star that offer incentives for future buyers.  Here are some of the best practices used to create certified sustainable buildings.

CREATE RENEWABLE ENERGY

Renewable energy is any resource that can be replenished from natural resources such as air, water, wind, water, and geothermal heat.  Renewable energy provides resources in the form of heating/cooling, water consumption, energy, and transportation.  When buildings can create energy on their own, the cost and consumption of utilities drop considerably.

renewable energy sources

 

RETAIN NATURAL WATER SUPPLY

An estimated 10 billion gallons of fresh water is used daily worldwide.  One of the best ways to save money is by retaining a natural water supply in your own home or building.  The most common practice is the collecting and treating of rainwater by installing reservoirs underneath a building’s foundation.  Learn how to harvest rainwater with a DIY rain barrel.

examples of a sustainable home

MANAGE WASTE DISPOSAL LOCALLY

An estimated 5.25 trillion pounds of trash is found in our oceans alone, while the rest of our trash is recycled, incinerated, or buried beneath the earth in landfills.  The amount of resources used to transport trash to treatment facilities places a further strain on resource consumption. Treating waste locally is another example of how reduction in resources also makes a building more sustainable and efficient.

ways to manage waste locally

USE RECYCLED BUILDING MATERIALS

Unfortunately, only 33 percent of the world’s trash is recycled.  While the amount of trash recycled is going up from recent years, that still equates to millions and millions of pounds of trash left to haul, treat, process, and remove.  With the increasing development of sustainable buildings and green homes today, there is a high demand for recycled building materials such as plastic, glass, wood, and even everyday garbage. Some developers are finding new ways of incorporating everyday waste into building design which is helping to reduce waste.

CLIMATE CONTROL

Many houses have already started converting to the use of solar panels to create renewable energy.  The ability to harness the sun for renewable and cost-effective energy is often overlooked.  In California, lawmakers have begun industry regulations that will require all new housing developments to install solar panels. 

Builders have also begun including practices of sustaining a thermal temperature.  New developments in ventilation and insulation are creating thermal mass.  This practice aims to keep a house or building at a constant livable temperature regardless of the time of day or night. 

Be sure to check out some of our suggested blogs to learn more about the future of sustainable buildings in the construction industry.

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