Sustainability within the construction industry.
Sustainability within the construction industry is a growing topic of concern, as the impact of previous years of negligence becomes apparent. Buildings account for a huge percentage of the world’s energy consumption and harmful green house gas discharge (Butler 2008, 520). A large percentage of the energy consumed in buildings is through the attempt to sustain a comfortable climate, a major goal of human beings within their constant fight for survival (Zuhairy and Sayigh, 1993, 521). Our current major energy sources are proving to be highly harmful to the environment as well as quickly diminishing. This depletion is resulting in rising prices that are increasingly unattainable for many people. Bioclimatic design and passive energy strategies can eliminate these problems. Bioclimatic design utilises the natural organic energy surrounding a structure to obtain optimal climatic comfort, whilst passive energy strategies provide carbon free possibilities for better utilisation and storage of this energy. Together these design strategies can change the current pattern in energy consumption and carbon emissions. Neither bioclimatic or passive energy design are new ideas, however in recent years, with developments in technology, their value has been overlooked. Bioclimatic design and passive energy strategies are the way forward in sustainable building and it is the role of the architect to implement these methods. The initial planning and design stage of a building is fundamental to how successfully sustainable and energy efficient it will be. The role of the architect is changing dramatically, with more focus being given to sustainability in design. It can be presumed that global warming and the international concerns surrounding this are adding pressure to this change. Solomon and Krishna (2011, 7422) claim that since the start of civilisation people have been searching for different energy sources. Only when one source becomes more attractive than another through depletion, rising costs or perhaps pollution, will a change be considered. There is enough evidence to suggest that our major energy sources are depleting, as well as that buildings account for a huge percentage of energy consumption. Butler (2008, 520) identifies that buildings across the globe account for up to 45% of energy consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions. However much of this can be changed if the architects initial design takes into account environmental and ethical factors. Switching the focus towards designs that no longer rely on synthetic energy sources for climatic comfort.
Bioclimatic design utilizes the freely occurring natural sources of energy of a location to obtain optimal climatic comfort within a building, as well as minimal environmental damage. Through close consideration of climatic and environmental circumstances the need for inorganic energy sources can be eliminated (Bioclimaticx, 2013). If buildings were designed to coexist with their natural environments, to take into account the natural flows of energy surrounding and entering a building, then high-energy products such as air conditioners and heaters would not be necessary. Delancy (2004,149) suggests that environmental ethics may be one of the first moral concepts providing architects with clear design criteria. It is important that architects begin to see the need to design to coexist with nature in order to sustain all organisms, both surrounding and occupying buildings. It is the role of the architect to take into account the natural elements of a building site and design using them to their full potential. Thus reducing the level of synthetic energy required to achieve climatic comfort and the accompanying environmental damages.
Whilst bioclimatic design focuses on the immediately available natural sources of energy, passive energy design provides options to best...
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