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Sustainable and “Green” Architecture

  • By Wes

Sustainable and “Green”  Architecture

Sustainable Design, Environment-Friendly, and Eco Building, — Environmentally sound construction has as many names as it has definitions. Green housing practices encompass the use of nontoxic resources, energy efficiency, the use of recycled materials, and the usage of alternative energy including wind and solar power. Robert Berkebile, AIA, claims “It is design that improves the quality of life today without diminishing it for the next generation.”

Green building methods offer a chance to create environmentally friendly and resource-efficient buildings by promoting resource conservation designs. This includes renewable and efficient energy, and the consideration of environmental impacts and waste reduction. Creating a healthy and comfortable environment must also take into account: reduced maintenance costs, public transportation access, eco preservation, and public infrastructure systems. The lifecycle of the building structure and utilities are taken into consideration, including the impact on the environment, and economic factors.

Today sustainable architecture is seldom practiced, and the lack of “green architecture” is the responsibility of both the client and the architect, but it is the architect’s duty to initiate the conversation with the client about sustainability. Most firms do not have the motivation or incentive to offer alternative ideas about designing sustainable buildings. And If an architect does offer sustainable building alternatives, the client may resist the additional costs of materials and construction, and they may be unaware of the long-term benefits.

It is necessary to first educate the client about design alternative and the benefits. Architects have access to the necessary resources that are too often ignored. Architects have the opportunity  to challenge the status quo of the building traditions and envision new solutions. Engineers and designers can also help change construction standards and use their design ability to expand the architectural lexicon.

In this short, funny, data-packed talk at TED U, Catherine Mohr walks through all the geeky decisions she made when building a green new house — looking at real energy numbers, not hype. What choices matter most? Not the ones you think.

Matthew Moger, of Moger • Mehrhof Architects discusses the principles and practice of Sustainable architecture and design used on his newest home “Bragg Hill”.