OPINION PIECE: DESIGNING FOR SUSTAINABILITY

We are living in a rapidly changing world. Although some of the concerns we’ve had in the previous generations are still relevant, pressing and very real new problems are quickly creeping up. Despite having the technology, we are not directly putting ourselves close enough to the problem to see it. Complex issues such as global inequality, climate change, biodiversity loss, unrestrained urbanisation, and destructive forms of economic growth are just a few that need our immediate attention. But before we get into how architecture and environmental issues are correlated, let me provide you with a definition:

Design thinking is a method primarily used by designers to solve and provide solutions for complex problems. Rather than focusing on defining the problems, design thinkers are solution and action-oriented, with products that bring us closer to a more preferable future.

In a nutshell, it means that we are to transform our impact as consumers from degeneration to regeneration by creating a series of methods and tools to redesign our presences on Earth. This can start with how we design our homes.

So what does designing for sustainability look like?

According to Sustainable Interior Design, by rethinking how we structure and build our homes, we can use up to 90% less energy! This is done by implementing energy saving products into the construction, and only using local, low impact, healthy materials in building the exterior and interior design of the home.

Some neat construction tricks:

Having your 60% of your windows facing south can help you reduce your heating requirements by up to 25% for almost no cost! Be careful of having too much sun exposure though, or else you’re going to have to be counter productive during the summer by resorting to air conditioning.

A quality and effective building envelope will help you with installing solar panels. If your windows are leaking heat and moisture, solar panels wouldn’t be able to help you.

When you’re buying a house, ask to see if the one you’re looking at is a flexible house. You want a house that can adapt to renovations, so you can save on both financial and environmental costs if you ever want to go for the greener route.

Most importantly, a smaller house is always more efficient. A smaller house means less land to excavate, less materials to use, less space to heat, less space to cool, less taxes to pay, and less chores to do.

Sources: http://www.markendc.com/en/passive-house-consulting-certification.html

Sustainable Interior Design – Passive House – Eco-Friendly Building Products and Materials

https://passivegreen.wordpress.com/2016/09/21/sustainable-interior-design-passive-house-eco-friendly-building-products-and-materials/

Designing a sustainable home

http://www.ecohome.net/guide/designs-plans

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