Greening Up The Place
The architecture industry is taking nature by the hand.
The arena of modern architecture and design is a pinnacle point where progressive concept meets action. It is an industry where creativity and cutting-edge technology work hand in hand, and where forward-thinking individuals can find a home for their talents.
The goal for most architects is to make the human-made environment better, and as ecological concerns work themselves to the forefront, "better" means greener (as seen in Photo 1). In addition to the growing abundance of green ideas, this industry has the means to bring them to life. Thanks to this combination, environmental consciousness and sustainability are actualized increasingly more often here than in almost any other creative discipline.
Starting with construction, builders are more often incorporating environmentally friendly materials, from the ground up. Along with this, material efficiency is becoming a popular practice. A noticeable trend in material efficiency is the incorporation of premium, exotic boards recycled from other, often older, structures. These materials are especially popular in exterior uses, where the aged wood creates a unique aesthetic. When recycling doesn’t fit the bill, many green-minded builders seek out natural materials that are available locally.
The movement doesn’t stop with construction aspects. The way a building functions is also in the spotlight, and heating and cooling systems are a major focus. Many innovations in this area work with the sun, wind, and other renewable resources to improve efficiency.
Radiant heating is a popular system. Typically installed in the floor, these release warmth from heated water. The greenest of these are often solar powered; the system’s lack of air ducts prevents costly energy loss. Solar panels (as seen in Photo 2), in and of themselves, are a big deal, especially now that the technology is more accessible. This stable and beneficial addition can cut both environmental impact and utility bills drastically.
Green roof systems are a beautiful example of how architectural design and nature can work hand in hand. While not necessarily a new concept, their popularity has been on the upswing recently. Essentially, a green roof system is layer of vegetation installed on the roof a structure. There are several methods used to create this, and the results range from quaint residential installations to sprawling gardens on large-scale buildings. These additions directly provide more greenery and habitable space and prevent rainwater run-off. Green roofs also provide excellent insulation to the structure, which can reduce heating and cooling costs, in some cases, up to ninety-five percent.
While the green roof systems top out the overall movement, other, less extreme greenery methods are a major focus. Modern architecture, especially residential, takes into consideration the structure’s natural surrounding to a large degree. Foliage is a big deal, and there is special attention given to how yards and green spaces are laid out, and how they can be designed to maintain balance with nature.
In the drive to cut out the carbon from homes, businesses, and lifestyles, architecture and environmental design take huge steps to reach the zero footprint goal. Without the industry’s constant headlong jumps into new technologies and prototypes, many of the above mentioned innovations would still be on the drawing board.
Creative individuals—and their ideas—are in high demand in this field. If you have architecture in your mind, and environmentalism in your heart, following these developments can provide a directional heads up for an exciting and fulfilling future.
Photo One Courtesy Of: Jeremy Kennedy