Sustainable Architecture - What does it really mean?

Lately we hear a lot about sustainability and living in harmony with nature. The great thing is that this extremely important topic is becoming more and more popular. We want to eat eco food, use eco cosmetics, buy eco products, generally being eco is very fashionable. But it is not the fashion an issue here, the matter is much more serious and concerns our planet, our earth, our home.


The latest research says that if we do not take drastic measures to stop global warming, then according to the latest estimates, in 2050 we may be at the threshold of an existential threat. Yes, that's 30 years from now.



WHAT DOES SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION GIVE TO THIS?


Well, quite a lot, because the construction sector is responsible for 41% of global energy consumption, 38% of CO2 emissions, 35% of natural resources and 14% of drinking water, that's quite a lot. So much that by reducing these values ​​we have a real impact on reducing the negative impact on the environment.


SO WHAT EXACTLY IS THE SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION?


In one sentence, it can be described as designing, constructing and operating buildings in a way that reduces the negative impact on the natural environment.

First of all, speaking of construction, it is about the entire process related to the life of a building, from design, through construction, use and demolition. Because the building's environmental impact begins at the stage of production of building materials and ends after its demolition and waste management.


Therefore, during the entire process of construction and operation of buildings, it is important to remember about the rule of 3 letter R:


REDUCE - accurate estimates of the materials needed; reducing energy consumption; using what you really need; good quality of materials and finishes that will allow for many years of life, segregation of construction waste


REUSE - donating surplus building materials; re-use of e.g. windows, stairs, furniture, construction elements, electrics, sanitary elements; re-use of existing abandoned buildings,


RECYCLE - elements that cannot be reused can be processed into new ones, e.g. metal melting, crushed concrete used as small stone, wood used for formwork, cladding, etc.


SO WHAT REALLY MAKES A BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE ONE?


1. The materials used - how much energy was wasted to produce them, are they natural, what path they traveled until get to the construction site, are they environmentally friendly, do they emit harmful substances, can they be reused, do they decompose well, etc.


2. Energy consumption - the use of renewable energy sources, surplus energy, reduction of built-in energy (i.e. energy generated during the construction of the building in the form of energy used for the production of materials, transport, construction processes), reduction of operational energy (i.e. used during the use of the building in the form of heating , air conditioning, ventilation, electricity).


3. Water consumption - both during the construction process and during the operation of the building


4. Interference with the surroundings - the degree of modification of the existing area, the amount of truly biologically active surface, the preservation of trees and vegetation, low noise and pollution emissions, etc.


5. Waste - the amount of waste generated, the use of recycling, reuse of products, the use of biodegradable materials


OK, SO WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN IN PRACTICE?


A sustainable house is an energy-efficient or passive house, which is built according to specific guidelines and rules. What are those rules? Are they difficult to fulfill? What is the difference between an energy-saving house and a passive house?

About all this soon in the next article: "What does it mean an energy-saving house and a passive house?".


Building a better world. Together.

SAVAGAYA / Natalia Szyk-Trocha


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