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Sustainable Architecture: Bring Your Operational Costs to a Zero

With the advancement of modern sustainable architecture and green building, it is now possible to build a home that runs itself at zero operational costs. Sustainable building is a valuable aspect in the design and construction of any home that you just cannot afford to overlook. It takes into consideration, not just the present needs of the project, but also the future demands and expenses of that must be met.

Contrary to popular belief, sustainable construction goes beyond just environmental sustainability. It joins the environmental aspect to social progress and economic growth, to ensure an efficient system.

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Elements of Sustainable Architecture

A sustainable building design should incorporate all the following aspects:

• Environmental Protection:

When building sustainably, environmental enhancement and protection is crucial. Your building design should be able to protect the biodiversity, air, soil, plants, and animals. Planting trees, maximizing on the use of renewable energy, and minimizing wastes are some of the ways you can incorporate the environmental aspect.

• Economic Growth:

The viability of your project relies on how economically sustainable it is. Does it maximize the value of the investment? Does it create viable solutions to the needs of occupants? Does it minimize its operational and lifecycle costs? How is the consumption of resources and energy? Is the project profitable and competitive?

• Social Progress:

The design of the project must provide well-being to the users of the space. This is in regards to the amenities, security, health, and peace that comes with occupying the building.

All the above three aspects must be in play in the design of sustainable architecture.

How to Build and Optimize Sustainable Buildings

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In the provision of sustainable architecture, the focus has majorly been on the selection of sustainable materials during the construction of the project. It is time to think about the entire life cycle of the project. It is time to build homes and structures that are sustainable throughout the project’s lifespan and in all three aspects of sustainability.

The following are various ways in which you can design and build your home sustainably:

1. Building Design:

It all starts from the building design. Having your building orientation in the North-South direction is a great way to ensure that your rooms have adequate natural lighting throughout the day, reducing the need for artificial lighting during the day. Having properly sized windows will allow natural ventilation and eliminate the need for artificial ventilation and air conditioning systems. Making such small changes in your building design go a long way in making your building sustainable in the long run.

2. Materials:

Lean construction has become quite common in the construction of modern housing. This is because they minimize wastage of materials, time, and resources while maximizing quality. Opting for prefabrication and modular buildings is a great way to employ lean production.

Another crucial factor in the selection of materials is their durability. Choosing materials that require minimum maintenance will consequently reduce your maintenance and repair costs. Additionally, select materials that can be procured locally, reducing the costs of importation, while adding economic value to the local community.

Find affordable alternatives to timber, and apply materials that have minimum impact on the environment. Materials with high albedo/reflectivity such as white painted walls and roofs can reduce your air conditioning costs by minimizing the amount of solar heat absorbed into the building.

3. Energy Sources:

Renewable energy sources have become a popular element in the construction of homes. Major project now opt for solar panels and solar water heaters for their lighting and water heating needs, significantly reducing their energy costs.

4. Water:

The solution to sustainable provision of water is in rainwater harvesting, water storage, water recycling, and minimizing water consumption. Create adequate storage for rainwater, ensuring that it meets the water demands of your home. Additionally, there are various wastewater treatment systems that can recycle any water used in your home to such a clean state that it can be reused in the building. When you minimize water consumption and wastage, wastewater treatment systems is a great way to ensure that you no longer have to pay any water bills.

5. Solid Wastes:

Disposal of solid wastes are some of the major factors that contribute to environmental pollution. Minimizing solid wastes through waste reduction, reuse, and recycling is an amazing way to ensure environmental sustainability. You can incinerate inorganic wastes, make composts from the organic wastes, and even generate biogas for cooking in your home.

6. Land Consumption:

One aspect that is often forgotten is the proper consumption and use of land. Land is a limited resource, and therefore it is important to make an effort to maximize its use. Instead of building a home that spreads horizontally, consuming a larger area of land, you can opt to create a vertical spread, by constructing a multi-story building instead.

7. Greenery:

Create a microclimate in hot areas by planting trees and adding more greenery to your home. Plant trees and gardens, cultivate produce in your farm, install green roofs and green walls, and add indoor plants. This will not only contribute in environmental conservation, but will also create a beautiful ambiance, clean air, and a serene atmosphere to live in.

Minimizing your operational costs down to a zero

The Sustainable City has managed to create a fully sustainable town with over five hundred homes, incorporating all aspects of social, environmental, and economic elements. Due to the operational efficiency employed through the design, the project not only has nearly zero operational costs, but also generates income for its residents through the facilities and amenities that they have incorporated.

Building sustainably does not have to be an expensive affair. Sustainable architecture can allow you a life of no electrical bills, no water bills, no outrageous energy bills, and certainly no waste disposal costs. If you’re wondering exactly how to get started, the following are some ideas you can integrate into your home design:

  • Install solar water heaters and solar panels, ensuring that there is more renewable energy production than the consumption needs of your home.
  • Maximize on natural daylight and natural ventilation in your spaces.
  • Install a wastewater management systems, reusing grey water, and using black water for irrigation after treatment
  • Recycle or incinerate all inorganic wastes.
  • Make composts from organic wastes and use the biogas in your home.
  • Install only energy efficient appliances in your home
  • Harvest rainwater and set up systems for water storage.
  • Minimize water wastage in your home
  • Use durable, low-maintenance materials in your construction, with high reflectivity of solar heat. This includes painting your exterior walls whiter.
  • Plant greenery and trees around your home.

It is that easy! At Citified Designs, we work with all our clients in ensuring that they maximize value for their investments by offering viable and affordable solutions to sustainable construction.
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