• Magda Nowotny

Is Sustainable Design Vital?

Updated: Sep 7, 2021

In a fast-changing environment, we need to fit today's design with tomorrow's needs and generate mutual benefits and shared value for both humans and nature at the same time

The elephant in the room

It is safe to say that for decades now, climate change has been the elephant in the room. We all see it, sense its presence, we occasionally have a friendly conversation about global worming and climate change, but we don't pay too much attention to it, most certainly , don't do much about.

fires, hurricanes or floods. it doesn't take a great mind to realise that soon these phenomenon's will get closer to our homes, become more and more mundane and if the scientists are correct they will become more extreme.

While some researches paint a more gloomy image of our future where we have Already reached the point of no return, some consider that we still have a fighting chance. It is believed That by 2050 the world temperature will increase by 1.5 degrees If no action is to be taken. So what can we do about it.? The answer seems to be simple – sustainability In every aspect of our lives from economic and social to environmental.

But as always it's easier said than done. Continuous pressure has been put on governments, corporations and manufacturers to find alternative solutions and tackle the global warming by 2050. Small steps have been taken already and it is safe to say that slowly we will see more changes in the regulations in all contributing sectors that contribute to global warming. And one of those sectors is construction industry.

The facts

Buildings and construction account for nearly 45% of the UK's total carbon emission, with 27% from domestic buildings and 18% from non-domestic buildings. Out of the 28 million homes in the UK, over 62% are rated below the minimum energy-efficient standard, leading to a significant negative impact on the environment as well as the wellbeing of its occupants.

The UK has set in law a target to bring its total greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050 – one of the most ambitious targets in the world. As part of the journey to 2050, the UK government have committed to introducing the Future Homes Standard by 2025, that will significantly raise the bar on energy efficiency standards and requirements for new builds, with a 70 to 80 % reduction in carbon emissions compared to today's standards, and net zero by 2050.

The solution

Building with sustainability in mind has never been more easier. Thanks to the research done in previous years we can see an increase in technologies and materials that have less impact on the environment without an increase in building costs. By choosing the right professionals from the incipient stages of the project you can make a huge difference.

To stay within budget and to keep the cost to a minimum you might consider not using an architect and putting your faith into the builders capacity and knowledge, or turn to an architect services only for the planning application with a minimum thought about what the design and construction methods should be incorporated. But, who can blame you? Architectural services are considered to be quite expensive for the every day client. However, you wouldn’t do that with a doctor who needs to perform a surgery or treat your disease, or a lawyer if you were to go on a trial. By not choosing to work with the right architect you compromise the well-being of yourself your family and the environment. The pandemic has shown us the huge impact our living spaces can have on us not only physically but also mentally. We as humans are not created to live in confined spaces with minimal sunlight and natural ventilation.

One of the most common misconceptions about sustainable design is upfront higher costs. However, implementing sustainable design methods from the start of the project and throughout doesn't have to cost the project more, and can even cost less. Sustainable design has clear and measurable economic benefits for both developers and households. These can be short term benefits like low waste and time reduction during construction, and long term benefits that can be measured by lower-cost utility bills, potentially even reducing to zero. Furthermore, high energy-efficient buildings can generate an income from exporting energy back to the National Grid with the help of the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme.

In a fast-changing environment, we need to fit today's design with tomorrow's needs and generate mutual benefits and shared value for both humans and nature at the same time. The right support through all of the project stages and design can achieve the highest quality standards based on the user's values, needs and budget.

We achieve this by integrating passive and active design to make the best use of a building's location, sun orientation, ventilation and light; we encourage the usage of renewable energy and rainwater management systems to harvest natural resources (energy and water) while focusing on the sustainability of materials and the systems themselves. We look at the full life cycle of the proposed building, and we try to mitigate any foreseeable risk.

We believe this process considers the broader implications of the project on the environmental, social and economic aspects while delivering the best outcomes.

Financial implications

any of the environmental implications

With that in mind, looking at the financial and economic implications, energy-efficient homes will become a key priority for buyers, increasing demand and prices for sustainable homes. A government report from 2013 states that high levels of energy efficiency add an average of 14% to a house’s value. By 2025 these rates could significantly increase as more new builds will achieve the highest standards. In contrast, lower energy-efficient homes will depreciate. Investing in a high energy efficient building today can bring higher returns in the future.

10 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All