Addressing energy efficiency as a strategy for reducing carbon emissions, limiting energy use, enhancing buildings’ energy performance, and lowering energy consumption has drawn more attention in recent years.

In the twenty-first century, sustainable buildings have proven to be highly important for many developed and developing nations. By the end of this century, there will be more than 10.9 billion people on the planet, up from 7.7 billion in 2019. The demand for water, power, and environmental assets will rise in direct proportion to the increase in the world’s population. This increase will overwhelm biological systems and cause nature to gradually deteriorate through increased energy use, which will have an overall impact on the built environment.

Energy Efficiency 

An essential component of green architecture is energy efficiency. The buildings that use the least energy prioritise doing so using various methods. Among the key features are effective insulation, effective heating, air circulation, cooling equipment, and maximising natural lighting. Sustainable construction lessens reliance on fossil fuels, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, some buildings can generate their energy and lessen their reliance on non-renewable sources thanks to renewable energy systems like solar energy, windmills, and geothermal energy.

The Impact of Sustainable Design Strategies on Energy Efficiency in Buildings Sheet1
Diagram of a sustainable structure that incorporates digital technology and materials_Deloitte Analysis

In sustainable design, renewable energy emerges as a transformative force that is revolutionizing how we power structures. While wind turbines capture the kinetic energy of the breeze, solar panels transform the sun’s rays into clean electricity. Geothermal systems use the Earth’s heat to effectively heat and cool buildings.

Buildings that use renewable energy systems gain numerous advantages in addition to being a dependable and clean source of power. First of all, it lessens our dependence on fossil fuels, which fuel climate change by increasing the overall demand for energy from non-renewable sources. Second, by producing their electricity, buildings can become more independent and resistant to power grid disruptions. This is especially important because traditional energy sources might be harmed in rural areas or during natural disasters. Furthermore, because they depend less on varying fossil fuel prices, sustainable buildings with renewable energy systems frequently have lower long-term energy costs.

The Impact of Sustainable Design Strategies on Energy Efficiency in Buildings Sheet2
View of the Solar Settlement in Freiburg, Beckman

Water Conservation

Water conservation serves as a vital strategy in building sustainably, aiming to minimize water usage, preserve this finite resource, and promote environmental responsibility. Through a number of interrelated factors, water conservation directly affects energy conservation. The energy needed for water treatment procedures, pumping, and transportation is reduced when water is conserved, as is the energy needed for water heating.

Additionally, by reducing the volume of wastewater, energy-intensive processes for wastewater treatment are minimised. Moreover, conserving water supports the sustainability of water resources crucial for energy production, as energy generation often relies on water sources. Therefore, water conservation plays a significant role in minimising energy consumption and promoting overall sustainability.  

Sustainable design

Buildings that are sustainable use energy efficiency as a key strategy to reduce their energy use and environmental impact. Architects and designers can optimise building performance while enhancing occupant comfort by implementing a variety of energy-efficient measures and technologies. Incorporating technologies like heat pumps and energy recovery ventilation into efficient HVAC systems ensures ideal temperature control and airflow management. The use of energy-efficient fixtures, daylight sensors, and smart controls in lighting design helps minimise electricity use and maximise natural light. Energy efficiency is also increased by choosing energy-efficient appliances and incorporating smart building management systems.

The Impact of Sustainable Design Strategies on Energy Efficiency in Buildings Sheet3
View of The Bosco Verticale are two residential towers in Porta Nuova,


Materials that are sustainable, reusable, and biodegradable are at the top of the hierarchy. Materials like wood, bamboo, and natural fibres are examples of these. These materials can be obtained sustainably and have little impact on the environment. Materials with a low impact on the environment and that are recyclable are found at the next level of the hierarchy. Materials like glass, steel, and aluminium are among them. Because these materials are recyclable and reusable, fewer new materials need to be made. Materials that have a significant negative impact on the environment and are challenging to recycle are at the bottom of the hierarchy. Materials like plastic, foam, and composites are examples of these. Since they have a detrimental effect on the environment, these materials ought to be avoided whenever possible.

Reduced waste

Another essential component of eco-friendly construction is waste reduction. To do this, construction projects should be carefully planned and designed to reduce the amount of waste produced. Other tactics include using prefabricated materials, modular construction methods, and recycling construction waste. Increase natural light as much as possible: Sustainable building design must consider natural light. It not only lowers energy use but also benefits building occupants’ health in a variety of ways. Large windows, skylights, and light shelves can all be incorporated into a building’s design to increase natural light.

Prominent Examples

The Bullitt Center

The Bullitt Center, a six-story office building in Seattle, Washington, uses passive design principles. In order to maximise solar gain and lower cooling loads, it has a south-facing facade with triple-glazed windows. A stack effect system and movable windows make it easier for natural ventilation to occur, reducing the need for mechanical ventilation.

The Impact of Sustainable Design Strategies on Energy Efficiency in Buildings Sheet4
View of the Bullitt Center in Seattle, DC

Picture Credit-

Bank of America Tower, United States

In New York City, the Bank of America Tower is praised for its excellent sustainability features and dedication to environmental stewardship. It uses water-saving fixtures, green roofs, and energy-efficient technologies, making it one of the most environmentally friendly skyscrapers in the world. This tower has received praise for being a leader in energy and environmental design guidelines due to its high emphasis on sustainability.

The Impact of Sustainable Design Strategies on Energy Efficiency in Buildings Sheet5
The Bank of America Tower has achieved platinum LEED

Australia One Central Park 

One Central Park, a landmark example of sustainable architecture and urban vegetation, is situated in Sydney. A heliostat system that mirrors sunlight into covered areas and extensive vertical gardens are both features of this high-rise residential building. These features not only improve the building’s aesthetic appeal but also help to clean the air and use less energy.

The project includes a variety of green initiatives including living façades, adaptive re-use of buildings, and green


Architects and designers are increasingly looking for ways to increase building energy efficiency as our understanding of sustainable design develops. Buildings can be made more sustainable and energy-efficient, lowering their impact on the environment and enhancing the quality of life for those who live in them by experimenting with the hierarchy of materials and the use of texture.


Strategies for achieving energy efficiency in building design: Exploring the hierarchy of materials and texture in sustainable architecture. Available at: (Accessed: 14 July 2023). 

5 robust strategies to design sustainable buildings (2023) cove. Tool. Available at: (Accessed: 14 July 2023). 

Author links open overlay panel Fatma S. Hafez et al. (2022) Energy Efficiency in Sustainable Buildings: A systematic review with taxonomy, challenges, motivations, methodological aspects, recommendations, and pathways for future research, Energy Strategy Reviews. Available at: (Accessed: 14 July 2023). 

Costinhas, P. (2023) Sustainable buildings: Pioneering a green revolution in urban design, Impakter. Available at: (Accessed: 14 July 2023). 

Team valley marketing (2023) The importance of sustainable design, STP Construction. Available at: (Accessed: 14 July 2023). 


Shreya is a Mumbai-based architect currently pursuing her Masters in Architectural History and Conservation at Oxford. A book lover and Potterhead, coming to Oxford was like a dream come true. With a passion for movies with stunning cinematography, like Woody Allen's Manhattan, listening to music, and capturing the beauty of charming facades, she brings a unique perspective to architecture. Keep an eye out for her fascinating explorations of architecture and the captivating stories that she uncovers.