Everyone benefits from sustainable architecture – individuals, businesses, communities, the economy and the environment. So what is sustainable architecture? Sustainable architecture is also known as green architecture or environmental architecture. It challenges architects to create intelligent designs and use available technologies to ensure that structures have minimal harmful impacts on the ecosystem and communities.
While more and more countries are moving towards sustainability, the progress made cannot keep up with the unrelenting demand for resources. There are also challenges that can hinder the progress of sustainable architecture, and one of the biggest obstacles is monetary cost. While a sustainable building can save more money in the long run, there is still a widespread belief that sustainable materials and methods are much more expensive than traditional resources.
There are various ways and means that must be considered when designing a sustainable building, including materials, energy, resources, space planning, weather, and many other factors. It is a detail-oriented process that requires experts who are familiar with the latest methods and techniques that have proven to be both effective and cost-efficient.
Certain features that can make a building “green”. These include:
- Efficient use of energy, water, and other resources.
- Use of renewable energy sources, such as solar power.
- Measures to reduce pollution and waste, and reuse and recycle.
- Good indoor air quality
- Use of materials that are non-toxic, ethical and sustainable.
- Consideration of the environment in design, construction and operation
- Consideration of the quality of life of occupants in design, construction and operation.
A design that allows for adaptation to a changing environment
Of course, a building doesn’t have to be new to be efficient. The number of existing buildings in operation exceeds the number of new construction projects many times over. Retrofitting existing buildings can therefore have a disproportionate impact on the environment compared to focusing solely on green design and construction practises.
Retrofitting green buildings delivers proven results at minimal cost. While they may not deliver the headline-grabbing results common to high-priced building projects, their ubiquitous influence in the building landscape has raised the profile of building sustainability in the public consciousness. Green practises should be more than an event; they should make a discernible difference in everyday corporate responsibility.
Today’s leading building owners have actively embraced green building retrofits as key to future models of sustainability. More than narrow vertical products, horizontal platform approaches have driven investment in technology bundles that work together to achieve deeper efficiencies with a comprehensive approach.
A gold standard for sustainable architecture is the Parkroyal on Pickering in Singapore. With 15,000 square metres of airy, four-storey Skygardens, reflecting pools, waterfalls, plant terraces and cascading vertical greenery, the Parkroyal on Pickering was designed as a high-end business hotel and office in one garden. Completed in January 2013, Parkroyal is located in central Singapore, between the CBD and the Chinatown and Clarke Quay districts , opposite Hong Lim Park. The greenery of the park is reflected in the building in the form of planted valleys, water channels and waterfalls. The greenery also conceals the openings to the above ground underground car park, while cooling and naturally ventilating the space.
We’ll talk about condos in Singapore that are built sustainably in the next blog.