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    Sustainability: an essential facet of architectural design

    Bhushan Avsatthi

    Green building design, energy efficiency, power usage efficiency, sustainability etc, are the buzzing keywords that are making waves across the architectural design industry. This is a two way tunnel, where architecture is guiding social impact, and this very social awareness is driving the changes in Architecture.

    Architects shall lead the way and introduce sustainable innovations to architecture and concentrate on green building characteristics, such as:

    • Well-designed ventilation for effective heating and cooling
    • Installing energy efficient lighting appliances and systems
    • Using plumbing fixtures that are water efficient
    • Planning a building design that fits into the surrounding ecosystem – causes minimal harm to the natural habitat
    • Carbon neutral and net zero energy buildings by maximising the use of renewable energy resources like solar and wind energy
    • Using non-synthetic, non-toxic and sustainable building materials
    • Effective use of locally obtained materials and recycled architectural salvage
    • Efficient use of space

    Once the sustainable architecture is designed and erected, the onus of saving energy and utilising the resources prudently lies with the home owners and occupants. In addition to installing energy efficient systems, waste water management system, low and features such as flush toilets, it is also important to maintain all the appliances and systems well, so that they remain in good condition and consume minimum energy for a longer period.

    Environmental Footprint

    Buildings guzzle up around half the annual energy in US, and it is time to curtail this consumption and turn the modern day buildings into environment friendly structures. Such awareness and transformation is not restricted to US alone; it has gripped the world and we shall soon see a global transformation.

    Speaking at the Sustainability Day event hosted by CUD – Canadian university Dubai, Mr. Mohammed Rafi, Assistant Director of Planning and Engineering at Dubai municipality, very rightly pointed out that sustainability is not a luxury; it is a modern day necessity.

    As a classic example, Dubai ascended from a desert and transformed into a city of concrete, skyscrapers, shopping malls, posh residences, rainforests and a city where the real estate industry boomed. However, this also became the very place that got ranked as the worst carbon dioxide polluter in the world. Dubai produces around 2.5 Kg waste per day and water usage in Dubai is double than the global average. This is now changing, and Dubai is again transforming. Development goes hand in glove with sustainability and is transforming from being known as the city of skyscrapers into a green city with great buildings and infrastructural facilities.

    Sustainability awareness has significantly increased and every new project that earlier revolved around engineering buildings for durability, stability, occupant comfort, aesthetics and other such elements of architectural significance will also place green design at the center.

    The Architectural design and construction industry has come a long way, but in terms of sustainable buildings and green structures, there are still miles to go. Architectural sustainability innovation will surely set the stage for a greener environment and soon the concept of energy efficiency will be replaced by that of energy independency as more and more architects, owners and developers incorporate the NZEB (net zero energy buildings) and carbon neutrality mantra for their projects.

     

    About the author:

    Bhushan Avsatthi is an Associate Director at Hi-Tech Outsourcing Services. Bhushan imbibes the prophecy of efficient and prudent use of energy in his day to day life and advices his team to do so as well. He is also involved in green initiatives like nonprofit tree plantation project and promotes using bicycles for commuting small distances. Bhushan, handles a team of architects, Structural and MEP engineers, LEED consultants and Energy modelling experts.

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