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Sustainable architecture Is it important? It is expensive?

At ARKIHAUS we have proposed to be at the forefront of sustainable architecture, designing products that have the technical characteristics to contribute to a sustainable life on the planet. But it is very normal for every client to approach our products with logical questions: Why a house with sustainable architecture? Is a house with sustainable architecture very expensive? Is it worth getting complicated with a construction of these characteristics? Next we are going to clarify all these questions and much more.

What is the definition of sustainable architecture?

Sustainable architecture designs and build in order to limit their environmental impact, with the objectives of achieving energy efficiency, positive impacts on health, comfort and improvement of the habitability of the inhabitants; All of this can be achieved by implementing appropriate technologies within your living space. Sustainable architecture means being able to satisfy the construction requests of consumers, taking into account the time and natural resources necessary from the first stages of the project, managing to materialize the building in the most natural way possible.

Why is sustainable architecture important?

From a collective interests point of view, sustainable architecture is of utmost importance as a collective response to the fact that our homes and buildings have a significant impact on carbon emissions. The United Nations Environment Program recently confirmed that buildings are responsible for almost half of global energy use. They also produce 40% of greenhouse gas emissions, consume 25% of all drinking water, and represent 20% of all solid waste produced in developed countries. Architects are responding to the situation with sustainable design strategies that reduce energy consumption and minimize damage to the environment.

From a point of view of individual interests, sustainable architecture seeks the rationalization of construction costs and the rationalization of usage costs. This means that sustainable architecture must be economical to materialize and once the building is built it must have the characteristics so that the inhabitants can have a great well-being, minimizing the economic and ecological costs of using the house.

What characterizes sustainable architecture?

  • General focus on reducing human environmental impact on the environment.
  • Limit energy waste with the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and natural heating, cooling and ventilation systems. Green building methods make the most of energy, resources and materials.
  • Use of Efficient Technologies: Green buildings incorporate energy and water efficient technologies that are not as readily available in traditional buildings. These technologies create a healthier and more comfortable environment by using renewable energy, reducing waste, and lowering heating and cooling costs.
  • Buildings that produce at least as much energy as they consume for zero net effect.
  • Water conservation systems such as rainwater harvesting and gray water recycling.
  • Green roofs, living walls for natural cooling and the health and well-being of the people who work and live inside. Integration into the surrounding landscape.
  • Replacement of conventional, wasteful materials with more efficient construction technologies.
  • Modular and adaptable spaces.
  • Alternative housing solutions, such as houses and apartment buildings constructed from recycled shipping containers, as well as floating architecture in waterways around the world that address the housing shortage in dense coastal areas.
  • Incorporation of plants and nature through living walls, tree-covered residential towers and green roofs to help cool existing buildings and create healthy biophilic environments for humans.
  • Return on investment: considering the average life cycle of a construction (50-100 years), certain green building measures, such as installing solar panels or doubling the amount of installation, can generate a strong return on investment and lead to higher resale values.

Examples of sustainable architecture

The first example we can give is our own product, the ARKIHAUS houses. It is the product that we have closest and of which we have all the knowledge of the technical attributes to constitute an ecological home of the 21st century.

ARKIHAUS Innova model

Slip House – Carl Turner Architects

ZEB Pilot House – Snøhetta

Fall House – Fougeron Architecture

The future of sustainable architecture

Today, architecture is at a crossroads. Construction materials and new construction, along with the operation and maintenance of buildings, represent a significant sum of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, as we have seen in this article. Given this fact, can architects responsibly pursue the act (and art) of building without further deteriorating the planet’s environmental structure or depleting its resources? Are there high-tech and low-tech ways you can develop to reduce the damaging side of construction? Can good or even great architecture be sustainable?

The answer, of course, is yes, there is no other way out, neither for the architects, nor for the builders, nor for the owners. Over time, the evolution of technologies will continue to increase efficiency and their contribution to the ecology and sustainability of the planet. The best building will always be the one that shows concern for its immediate surroundings.