Sustainable building & architecture in terms of the environment

With “Green Living” a trend has entered the living room that has a lasting impact on life in your own four walls

sustainable building, long-lasting architecture, monument protection

Homeowners, but also architects and urban planners, are made responsible by the Federal Ministry for the Environment with the “Guidelines for Sustainable Building”. The aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to 80% and the primary energy requirement in the building sector by 95% by 80.

There are numerous seals of quality that have developed various sustainability criteria in the construction industry, including the German Sustainable Building Certificate (Gold, Silver, Bronze) and international green building certifications such as LEED, BREAM. Four basic principles can be cited as representative of the multitude of criteria.

Sustainable location

Before the construction phase begins, the decision is made as to where the building should be built. It is preferable to choose a place where nature already offers space or where the ecosystem can be preserved. While efficient construction was always in the foreground, it is now also a matter of concentrating on the essentials. The so-called sufficiency concept questions what is really needed and which size is sufficient. Land use is to be reduced. Trees, bushes and meadows around the building are largely preserved before artificially new gardens are built. Building in nature versus building instead of nature.

Foster and partner

Image source & copyright by Foster & Partner

The protection of the local environment also requires the reduction of pollutants that can escape from building materials. A social aspect is the inclusion of the environment in the building, eg through publicly accessible gardens and interiors.

Renewable and local resources

Architects are called upon to put renewable energies at the center of their work. The sun can not only generate energy in the form of solar systems and heat buildings. Optimally used daylight can minimize the use of lighting systems during the day. The warming effects of the earth have also been harnessed by architects through geothermal heating elements placed under the building. In terms of urban electricity supply, wind turbines are an important source. It could also be used on a smaller scale for residential buildings.

Natural resources should also be conserved as far as possible. This includes the use of sustainably produced renewable raw materials and the safe return of used materials. Bamboo, for example, is becoming increasingly popular as a sustainable alternative to conventional wood. Because it grows back faster than ordinary tree species. Local providers are preferred in order to reduce transport routes and to maintain the global balance.

Recycling and durability

When choosing the building materials, the focus should be on which raw materials can be reused. Can elements of the original structure be preserved or converted when converting buildings? Are there any leftover materials from other construction projects, such as paper, aluminum or plastics? The use of collected rainwater to irrigate the outdoor facilities is also helpful. In this context, care should generally be taken to use buildings for as long as possible before they are converted or demolished. Preservation of historical monuments and the protection of cultural property are important issues here. Living sustainably also means maintaining cultural heritage.

monument protection

Loft in Prenzlauerberg (listed), source & copyright by Denkmalimmobilien.info

Construction and utilization phase

The planning of buildings also includes the interior design. The electrical appliances play a special role, which are constantly optimized in terms of their energy consumption. In some countries, there are even tax deductions when replacing existing equipment such as refrigerators, washing machines or dishwashers with energy-saving models. Already during the construction phase, the required energy should be used consciously and sparingly and renewable energy should be preferred.

Economy and Social

The guidelines for sustainable building also illuminate economic and social aspects of the building industry. The economic quality focuses on the profitability of the property over the entire life cycle. The focus is on space efficiency, convertibility and durability. Socio-cultural aspects combine health, comfort, satisfaction and comfort of the users. Thus, a high level of user satisfaction in terms of sustainability has a positive effect on the building and leads to a special appreciation and lasting value of the building.

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