Architecture is one of the most complexly negotiated social practices. Additionally, it contributes significantly to climate change. Architecture primarily concerns the constructed environment. There is no doubt that design, construction, and other related activities are to blame for the building sector’s positive and negative effects. Nearly half of the carbon emissions in the United States are caused by the construction and energy needed to maintain buildings. According to the UK Green Building Council, the built environment contributed 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions in 2019. This indicates that architecture has a significant environmental influence.

There are currently less than ten years left for humans to slow down global warming, according to a 2018 United Nations report. This story has to feature architecture prominently. Let’s look at some ways that architecture can combat global warming.

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Dilemma architecture and global warming_©Ideal Work

Utilising Natural And Eco-Friendly Construction Methods

When a building site is selected, and the first pencil is put to paper by an architect, sustainable design has already begun. An architect will look at a building’s placement to make it as sustainable as possible. Making the most of ventilation and natural sunlight will be made more accessible by doing this. The more windows and natural ventilation there are, the less an architect will need to use energy-intensive artificial lighting and ventilation. An architect will also consider problems with soil erosion, deforestation, and land degradation.

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Eco Friendly material_ ©Going green

Choosing Carbon-Conscious Materials

Concrete and steel production has a significant impact on global warming. The term “embodied carbon” refers to the carbon footprint that a building’s components represent. In the coming years, reducing embodied carbon will be a crucial strategy since it will enable us to achieve the large-scale emission reduction targets suggested by international organisations. As was said before, choosing an existing structure is the quickest and easiest option to reduce embodied carbon.

We need to use less of the materials with the highest emissions, such as concrete, steel, aluminium, and foam insulation, in new construction if we want to lower the amount of embedded carbon. We can go part of the way there by optimising our systems by ensuring that we don’t define more material necessary for the work. Alternatives like those suggested in Project Drawdown and Architecture 2030’s Carbon Smart Materials Palette are also available.

Meeting Passive Design Standards

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Passive Design Strategies_©Ecoliv

It adapts to the local temperature and site conditions to maximise building occupants’ comfort and health while reducing energy use.

It accomplishes this by decreasing or eliminating the need for mechanical heating or cooling by using accessible, renewable energy sources like the sun and wind to supply domestic heating, cooling, ventilation, and lighting. Passive design can enhance indoor air quality, lessen temperature swings, and make a house drier and more pleasant.

Additionally, it can lessen adverse environmental effects, including greenhouse gas emissions and energy use.

The components of the passive design complement one another and should therefore be viewed as a whole. Large windows that let in a lot of natural light, for instance, could provide too much heat gain if they shine a light on a thermal mass. Similarly, opening windows that allow for ventilation also allows noise to enter.

Designers should consider additional aspects in addition to passive design elements, such as views, covenants and local government regulations, and building owner preferences.

Strive To Use Renewable Energy

When a building has achieved low energy consumption through intelligent building efficiency design, it’s time to balance the remaining energy use with renewable sources. Solar panels are often the first thing people think of when you mention renewable energy, but operational and efficiency solutions that are free or very inexpensive should take precedence. Start by discussing green energy contracts and the purchase of low-carbon energy with your clientele. To finally achieve operational carbon zero as envisioned by the 2030 Commitment, understanding accessible renewables and how to effectively employ them in your facilities are essential.

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Renewable energy source _©Bigstock

Reversible Design

Most building materials now used in the construction end up as rubbish when structures are torn down, posing a severe waste issue that jeopardises the sustainability of architecture. This is almost 34% of the entire garbage produced in Europe annually, as I’ve already indicated in earlier articles, which amply illustrates the effect and necessity of its reduction.

The idea that the solution rests in altering the construction process by implementing the circular economy’s core values and giving the materials used—and, why not, the actual buildings themselves—value is not new. It also doesn’t include the European research initiative “Building as Material Banks” (BAMB), which searches for solutions to apply the waste hierarchy’s principles of avoidance, reuse, and recycling. Because of this, it is evident that the key to change is to raise the value of construction materials and recover them after use. This may be done by creating and integrating two complimentary acts, the material passport and reversible building design.

Reversible building designs envision structures that can be effortlessly added to and removed without causing harm to the structure itself or any of its products, components, or materials. This type of architecture, often known as “Design for Change,” permits flexible buildings that can be modified to meet changing market and user demands. Buildings become repositories of valuable and easily accessible materials that we may repair, reuse, or recover, which reduces trash production.

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Reversible Design_©TB en vivo

Biomimicry

In architecture and product design, biomimicry refers to the imitation or adoption of naturally occurring processes in structures and goods. Design professionals can learn from how organisms manage resources by studying how evolution has demonstrated how they have adapted to particular situations. This has the potential to produce highly resource-saving structures and processes that benefit the environment, like the way plants use photosynthesis to convert atmospheric carbon into cellulose and other compounds.

Beijing National Stadium, Beijing, inspired by biomimicry_ ©www.flickr.com

Besides all of these, Architecture is not only a profession but also a responsibility. Responsibilities towards the people, towards the plane. And In this lot of global warming, architects must be responsible and sensitive to their practice and aware of the impact they are creating. 

References:
  1. ArchDaily. (2021). The Facts about Architecture and Climate Change. [online] Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/931240/the-facts-about-architecture-and-climate-change?fbclid=IwAR3rkPc31bEVz08tNTrQVq277_AkYRvUq4a_xIOjO6GAKS2FbVc864Vg0Xk [Accessed 5 Dec. 2022].
  2. Crook, L. (2021). Ten ways in which architecture is addressing climate change. [online] Dezeen. Available at: https://www.dezeen.com/2021/04/22/architecture-climate-change-earth-day/.[Accessed 5 Dec. 2022].
  3. Melton, P. (2019). Four Ways Architects Can Fight Climate Change. [online] Aia.org. Available at: https://www.aia.org/articles/6074306-four-ways-architects-can-fight-climate-cha. [Accessed 5 Dec. 2022].
  4. www.conradconsulting.co.uk. (n.d.). How architects are battling climate change and supporting sustainable living | Conrad Consulting. [online] Available at: https://www.conradconsulting.co.uk/content/blog/how_architects_are_battling_climate_change_and_support/[Accessed 5 Dec. 2022].
  5. The Architectural League of New York. (n.d.). To combat climate change, focus on existing buildings. [online] Available at: https://archleague.org/article/urban-green/.[Accessed 5 Dec. 2022].
  6. Ltd, B. (2022). Key features of designing a home with passive design. www.level.org.nz. [online] Available at: https://www.level.org.nz/passive-design/#:~:text=Using%20passive%20design%20can%20reduce [Accessed 5 Dec. 2022].
  7. www.linkedin.com. (n.d.). Reversible Building Design: Design for sustainable change. [online] Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/reversible-building-design-sustainable-change-miren-le%C3%B3n-/?trk=read_related_article-card_title [Accessed 5 Dec. 2022].
Author

Toukir is an undergraduate student of architecture at Khulna University, Bangladesh. He is fascinated to explore the relationship of human psychology and build environment in this age. He dreams to be impactful to the people, to the planet with sensible and responsible architectural practice.

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