What Makes Green Buildings? Architectural Design Techniques for Sustainability

When most people think of sustainability and being eco-friendly, they often think of green energy sources, such as wind and solar. However, the way construction services design their buildings can also have a huge impact on the health of the surrounding environment – hence, the rise of so-called green architecture. 

But how, exactly, does one design a building to be green? 

Miller Architects and Builders, a Saint Cloud construction project management and architectural design services company, breaks down the basics below.

The Basics of Green Architecture

Eco-friendly building systems must be both built green and maintained green. That means everything – including the architecture, design, maintenance, and more – throughout the building’s lifespan must be considered eco-friendly.

What qualifies as “green,” exactly? 

The building must be environmentally friendly, of course, but how does one determine throughout the construction process that the building can be certified as green in the future?

Life Cycle Assessment

Conducting a life cycle assessment (LCA) is among the most comprehensive ways to determine a building’s overall impact on the surrounding community and environment. 

An LCA will warn commercial contractors of potential environmental dangers related to waste disposal and the management of the project. It also makes evident social and economic concerns. 

Despite its comprehensiveness, an LCA is not necessarily a requirement to get one’s building certified as green by the government or a third party. However, it is an excellent tool for those looking to improve the long-term sustainability of not only their build but builds throughout the industry as a whole. 

Energy Efficiency

To minimize costly and environmentally damaging energy consumption, use details that prevent air from leaking through your building’s envelope. 

Add extra insulation in ceilings, floors, and walls. Awnings and trees can be placed near roofs to help cool a building naturally during the summer, and properly placed windows can let the sunshine in for eco-friendly warmth. 

Heating water using solar energy is also both cost-effective and green.

Water Efficiency

In most places, demand for water exceeds supply. Consider a plumbing system that effectively recycles wastewater for a clean and economic way to manage this resource. 

A point-of-use water heating and treatment system also improves …


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