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Sustainable architecture is not a new practise. In fact, humankind have been using sustainable architecture since we first started building. We can go back as far as 3600 BC and look at the Megalithic Temples of Malta where the walls were built from a row of large stone slabs and filled with earth.

Megalithic Temples of Malta

So where did it all go wrong?

A rapidly growing population in the 20th Century caused huge demand for homes. This led to unsustainable building practices and concern for the environment. To put things into perspective, buildings now account for nearly 40% of annual carbon emissions. That’s over 14 billion tonnes of CO2 emitted each year.

But what can be done to reduce this figure and meet carbon emission targets for the future?

A wider adoption to sustainable architecture.

As part of a growing trend towards more environmentally friendly buildings, sustainable architecture has become increasing popular, and is now being used in some of the largest building developments worldwide. In short, sustainable architecture is growing rapidly and there are many reasons why.

Read on to discover what sustainable architecture is, why it’s so important, and the strategies used to achieve a more sustainable future.

What is sustainable architecture?

Put simply, sustainable architecture is an approach to design that aims to minimise the negative environmental impacts of buildings. This is achieved through the use of eco-friendly materials, smart energy usage, and designing ‘with nature’ to encourage sustainable lifestyles for end-users.

Why is sustainable architecture so important?

The construction industry today has a serious impact on the environment. With the manufacturing of materials and construction processes, gases and other emissions such as C02, methane and nitrous oxide are produced. In fact, studies have shown that the construction industry contributes to:

  • 23% air pollution
  • 40% of drinking water pollution
  • 50% of landfill wastes
  • 50% of the climatic change

Scary numbers, right?

To address these issues, tackling both previous and new developments head on with sustainable architecture is a must. For example, living wall systems can both retrofit and integrate with new buildings to save on costs and materials, eliminating waste on unnecessary façade materials.

But let’s take a further look into  sustainable architecture and the strategies being used today.

Architectural strategies for a sustainable future

Designers, architects and engineers have become increasingly conscious of the movement towards a greener future. This has resulted in numerous strategies and techniques being developed to help label buildings as ‘environmentally friendly”. These include:

  • Use of renewable or sustainable materials – This involves the use of sustainably sourced woods, recycled construction materials, and low carbon footprint alternatives to cement. The very core of sustainable architecture relies on the use of renewable and sustainable materials.
  • Enhanced waste management – Buildings can be designed to encourage users to minimise waste. By implementing on-site composters, vacuum toilets and ‘grey water’ collection systems, sustainability can be enhanced in all situations.
  • Energy-efficient technology – Throughout a building’s lifecycle, energy-efficient technology can be used to reduce waste and energy usage. Whether it be a choice of LED lightbulbs, or site inspection tools that eliminate unnecessary travels, technology plays a huge part in effective sustainable architecture.
  • Encouraging eco-friendly living – Through the use of green infrastructure such as plants, individuals can be influenced to make eco-conscious decisions in their personal lives.
  • Improving air quality and well-being – Living wall and green roof systems provide buildings with natural soils and plants to help improve air quality and boost biodiversity.

Living wall systems can be installed to the exterior and interior of a building, giving a sense of well-being and enhancing the visual aspects of a space too - Ideal for city’s where space is restricted.

living wall

Sustainable architecture from Viritopia

Over the past 11 years, we’ve partnered with companies globally to help create a greener future. With the design, installation and maintenance of over 5,000 living wall and green roof projects worldwide, we’ve found an effective method to improve both air quality and well-being through nature.

We’re passionate about bringing plant life to cities across the world. Whether you’re interested in learning more about sustainable architecture, or want to chat about our living wall and green roof offering, contact us today and speak to one of our experts. We’re more than happy to help.

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