XThink sustainable architecture
Nowadays, the ecological awareness is enhanced, but it was not always that way.
In fact, during the ‘glorious thirty’, the European countries have joined the United States in the consumer society and started a reckless production of goods and a massive industrialization. They adopt the model of the consumer society. This economic growth is favored thanks to easy access to fossil fuels until the first oil shock in 1973. Fuel energy has been the driving force behind the 20th century economic development without any ecological consciousness. The oil shocks have revealed the fragility of an economy based on these resources.
In 2009, more than 80% of the consumed energy comes from non-renewable fossil fuels.
These sources of energy cause many problems:
-They are exhaustible resources
-The deposits are extremely localized
-They contribute to massive global warming
-They present major risks of pollution
-The situation of the countries which cannot have access to these energies is getting worse.
Nowadays, sustainable construction is taken into account in various domains.
The term “sustainable development” is enshrined during the first Earth Summit organized by the United Nations in 1992. “Sustainable development meets present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Sustainable development is an alternative to our present development which exhausts the natural resources, increases the gap between the rich and the poor and casts a cloud of uncertainty over the future of our planet and its inhabitants. It is our concern to secure our future and the future of our children and grandchildren on a planet where the resources are limited.
Building sector is the most energy-consuming. It is responsible for one third of the CO2 emissions. Heating represents the biggest part of these consumptions and emissions.
The construction industry is a field where energy savings cans be made in order to limiting greenhouse gases emissions.
To lower the energy and carbon footprint of the constructions various systems are known and already used and certifications rules have been established. The aim is to generalize the BBC label (low energy-consumption buildings) by 2012 and the positive-energy buildings by 2020 (the constructions produces more energy than it requires).
The architects and urban planners have an important role to play in the search of lowering the energy footprint of the buildings. They have to think about existing buildings and the structure of the surrounding areas and a new way of designing the new projects to integrate them to a global ecological reflection. From the beginning the impact of the building with regards to the materials employed and its design has to be assessed.
The architects and clients can estimate the environmental impact of the construction, the overall cost and carbon footprint of it. A sustainable design takes into account its longlife cycle from the raw material used, its origin and its capacity to be recycled. A sustainable construction can’t be limited to energy considerations; the users well-being, health and comfort have to be thought at an early stage.