The Top 6 Sustainable Environmental Design Strategies

Environmental design strategies have been popular lately. People's awareness about the condition of nature has brought their actions into something environmentally friendly. Many modern designs are accused as part of technology development, and this is often considered to contribute to nature destruction. However, sustainable designs have been developed by many designers today. Architecture is a field where you can find an environmental design that applies sustainable strategies nowadays. Sustainable designs are not necessarily done in the future, but the application today will help society’s lives to realize a healthy and balanced life by keeping nature’s good condition. 

 

Sustainable Strategies in Architecture

More and more, environmental design strategies are being applied in many public building designs today. The budget has always become the main consideration for public building designers. However, you should know that spending more budget at the beginning sustainable strategies plan may not only mean large savings over time, but also it offers you definitely the impact on the air quality, well-being, and it even leads to a better future life.

Sustainable strategies in architecture are basically the use of environmental design strategies that try to reduce the negative impacts on the environment of a newly built system. The sustainable design here focuses on the health and the comfort of the occupants, so the building performance should be improved to fulfill the purpose. The designer should take many aspects into consideration, such as the materials used, consumption of non-renewable resources, stormwater management, and other environmentally friendly systems. 

The sustainable environmental design strategies basically include the ability to:

  • Maximize the potential of the site

  • minimize the use of non-renewable energy 

  • utilize environmentally friendly materials and products;

  • protect and conserve the water;

  • support indoor environmental design; and

  • enhance the operational and maintenance applies.

Applying sustainable design principles will lead the design process into the reduction of negative effects on the environment and the occupant’s health as well without leaving the main creation of the design itself. This approach is holistic and integrated to enhance compromise and tradeoffs. It will bring benefits for many aspects included in the building process, such as the life-cycle of the building itself, the design, the operation, and the construction. 

 

Creating Sustainable Environmental Design Strategies in Architecture

Sustainable strategies in architecture are one of the environmental design applications that aim to create a living space that is environmentally friendly. This environmental design in architecture is actually had been practiced by the ancient civilization, where the ancient people used natural materials to create the buildings they needed. This is one of the environmental design strategies applied to basically control the temperature at that time so that those people would still survive throughout the year, passing different and various seasons. 

Now, Centuries have passed; and the concept of sustainable strategies in architecture to be evolved and has experienced many changes, moreover due to the rising of technology. In recent years, sustainable strategies in building firms have been focusing on creating more eco-friendly buildings; and these are commonly called environmental design strategies. These environmental design strategies are applied on behalf of people’s awareness in helping to reduce the damage of nature due to global warming and climate change. 

The sustainable designs which choose environmentally friendly materials and renewable energy resources for buildings are effective in helping to reduce the negative impacts on the environment. 

Now, here are the most effective sustainable environmental design strategies to design in architecture, especially when creating a public building.

1. Building Using Passive Sustainable Design

This is one of the environmental designs in architecture where the designer’s focus is on maximizing the sun’s rays for the lighting in the daylight. It will lessen the use of electricity when the building is occupied in daylight. The ventilations have often been seen in this kind of design for that purpose as well. Besides, thermal mass techniques are commonly used to harness the energy from the sun. The thick wall is usually applied for this building because it will absorb the heat in the daylight and then release the heat back to the building when the night comes. 

2. Building Using Active Sustainable Design 

Among sustainable strategies you can apply in creating a building is by using active sustainable design. The environmental design for a building here needs the designer to work with other experts, both mechanical and electrical engineers. These experts should work together to complete the building with electrical which has high efficiency, the plumbing, HVAC, and other sophisticated yet efficient systems needed. These strategies are applied so that they won’t leave any environmental footprints behind. 

 

3. Utilizing The Renewable Energy System

This strategy is another best way to apply sustainable strategies in constructing a new building. If it is possible, the designer may try to utilize renewable energy sources to be applied in the design. This environmental design would include either wind or solar energy, which is harnessed so that it can be fit the design well. These strategies are commonly used in combination with passive design strategies. 

4. Selecting Green Building Materials and Finishes

The designer would prefer to put his priority in choosing a material like lumber, steel, concrete, and some finishing stuff such as carpet or rugs from producers who concern about the environment by using recycled materials with recycled techniques which are eco-friendly; or those who apply industrial practices which are not harmful to the nature.

5. Concern with The Native Landscaping

In this environmental design, the choice made for the landscaping of the building will have a great impact on water consumption. To reduce this consumption, a designer may use the plants or trees which are native to the site. This strategy is also helpful in minimizing the need for irrigation. 

In addition, landscaping is one of the sustainable strategies which can be used as part of a passive energy strategy. By growing tall trees so that they will shade the roof and windows in summertime, the sun’s heat which gets through the building, could be minimized as well. 

6. Management of Stormwater

The rainwater which drops on the untouched site will slowly go back into the ground and enriches the water table there. But when a system consisting of buildings, parking lots, pavements, access roads, and other constructions is applied on the site, the rainwater will behave in different ways. The rainwater will simply run off this system’s surfaces and run into the storm drains. By applying effective strategies of stormwater management, for example, using receptive pavement and preservation ponds that catch and decrease the water runoffs, it will slowly run back to the ground. And the use of these strategies will minimize the negative environmental effects of the buildings. 

 

The Implementation of Sustainable Strategies in Many Fields 

Sustainable strategies are one of the terms that have been used a lot lately. When it is applied correctly, it may even cover many areas so that you may find some different legitimate definitions. The most useful one comes from the UN, which stated that “sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

This has become very importantly growing in business. And that happens for some reasons, i.e.:

  1. The number of the population has grown significantly.

  2. The non-renewable natural resources availability is limited.

  3. There is a tendency that non-renewable commodities prices are getting higher, and it will create a great impact on the business development.

For those reasons, there’s a new interest has started to emerge toward sustainable strategies and design, and its development as well. And some businesses which have applied these strategies have turned themselves into good businesses. Here are some examples of the field which have applied sustainable strategies to their designs. 

1. Green Space

Creating a green space in a city is not only meant to give a natural touch to the town. It can be a part of a large environmental system or strategy which provides some advantages, such as:

  • Air quality; helps to maintain the air quality of a space. Minimizes the temperature from too many paved surfaces, renews the groundwater supply, and protects the water sources from polluted runoffs. And this, indeed, will increase the air quality which is needed by the occupants around the system.

  • Water protection; the correct landscaping will help to decrease the nitrate leaching from the water supply, keeping the phosphorous and other pollutants away from the water stream.

  • Reduce Heat; trees that are intentionally planted on the parking lot may reduce the sun’s heat absorbed.

  • Reduce Erosion; when a certain space is covered by dense plants, they will hold the soil in place.

 

2. Crop Rotation

This practice involves several kinds of plants or crops which are planted on the same land over consecutive seasons. It is done to keep the soil nutritious. If the same crops are grown on the same land continuously, the nutrition of the soil will be decreased. By planting different crops after the season of another crop, particular nutrients would be brought back by the crops planted after. In addition, this practice has also brought some environmental benefits, such as:

  • Nitrogen management; crop rotation is one of the strategies in reducing the nitrate risk either leaching into the surface or groundwater.

  • Improve soil structure; various roots will improve the structure of the soil.

  • Reduce erosion; the plants or crops will hold the soil to be in its place still.

  • Pest and disease control; crops in vary won’t fit for the cycle life of certain organisms like insects, disease, or weeds.

  • Minimize Greenhouse Gas Emission; the nitrogen fertilizer used will minimize the greenhouse gas emission.

  • Decrease water pollution; minimum usage of synthetic fertilizer will minimize the water pollution. The less use of pesticides will keep the groundwater safe. 

 

3. Sustainable design and construction

A construction process should have needed various resources. It inevitably produces waste as well. Even in some cases, it may generate emission which is possibly harmful to the environment so that it could change the main function of the land, including the ability to absorb water to get into the ground.

Sustainable development would try to limit all those possible negative impacts on the environment in the process of creating buildings. 

 

4. Water Efficient Fixture

Diminishing reservoirs and groundwater may pose harmful conditions for water supplies, human health, and the environment. As the water level gets lower, it may mean that there are higher concentrations of contaminants to nature. Using water wisely, only based on basic needs, will help maintain the water supplies at a safe level. And this can help to protect the human’s health and keep the environment as well.

 

5. Renewable Clean Energy

This one is probably the best example of the implementation of environmental design strategies. The sustainable strategies applied can be seen here in three examples below:

  • Solar energy; when the electromagnetic radiation of the sun is caught, it generates heat and electricity.

  • Wind energy; wind turbines transform kinetic energy into mechanical power.

  • Geothermal energy; the power stations of geothermal are able to use the escaped heat from inside of the earth to produce electricity. The two stations which are very popular around the world are located in area which is seismically active, like California and Iceland. 

There are many benefits that people can get from this renewable energy, i.e.:

  • Improved Public Health; Clean energy won’t produce negative impacts on human’s health

  • Unlimited Energy; the winds, sunny skies, various plants, heat from the inside of the earth, and the water can possibly provide a great and continuously renewed supply of energy.

  • Economic Benefits; industry of Renewable energy is more labor tendency; it means it provides more jobs. Energy industry businesses will impact the field of economy in many areas such as project development and manufacturing, construction and turbine installation along with its operational and maintenance, transportation and logistics, and consulting services in financial and legal. 

The landowner on which wind projects are being built often receives payments for rent. Local governments also get benefits from this construction, mostly in the form of taxes and other payments from the owner of renewable energy projects. 

  • Stable Energy Prices; though renewable energy needs great investments to build at the beginning, on the ongoing process, they can go at very low cost, and it means renewable energy prices can be very stable over time.

  • Reliability and Resilience; since wind and solar are distributed over a huge geographical area and integrated with various wind turbines and solar arrays, small mistakes won’t show a significant impact on the delivery of energy. 

 

6. Waste to Energy Act 

People should start to realize that the availability of natural resources such as fossil fuel and water are diminishing. As they are getting scarce, they will be harder to find, and this condition will lead to an increase in the cost. On a large scale, this condition will generate a serious problem in business; therefore, it takes action to evaluate, plan or re-plan, and invest as well.

Creating waste-to-energy projects has made ways to preserve some natural resources. This process will generate energy from many kinds of waste, such as non-recyclable solid waste like organic debris, PPE, absorbents, and even rags. 

Though the waste to energy strategies in enhancing sustainable environmental development won’t be able to solve the problems concerning environmental waste or energy, however, it will provide us the first step at the beginning. In the U.S., there is Temarry, and its approach to this action, where all possible waste is recycled so that nothing goes to landfill, has set a good example of sustainable development in a company.

 

7. Water treatment

Water is another resource which has been diminishing since people use them inefficiently that now some people even have to spend the high cost of using it. Temarry is a company that has applied sustainable development by implementing the art water treatment facility and finally succeeded in reducing water usage. 

The water treatment strategies have made the company been able to take some dangerous water-based industrial wastes and change them into clean water so that the company can use them safely. In doing that kind of environmental strategy, the company keeps the waste out of landfills, and that even could help them in eliminating the need to buy clean water. 

As they said, today, they are even able to save 150,000 gallons of annual purchase by applying this environmental strategy. They recycle contaminated water based on their surroundings and keep it away from landfills.

 

Conclusion

Putting the sustainable environmental strategies as a priority and making investments in them will lead to a good business. Many people have awakened their awareness about environmental problems and health. Therefore many environmental strategies are applied in many fields, including architecture and business.  

Emphasizing sustainable strategies in the development of business has not only improved the process and allowed us to add new services to our offerings, but it has drastically improved our quality of life as well. 

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