Sustainable architecture: Building a green future with eco-friendly materials

arquitectura sostenible

Cities grew exponentially and this meant an increase in the number of buildings. As a consequence, environmental pollution increased. Therefore, one of the best ways to reduce the environmental impact is sustainable architecture.

What is sustainable architecture?

Sustainable architecture is based on the use of environmentally friendly techniques and materials throughout the construction process. These types of buildings seek to reduce the environmental impact through efficient energy consumption and the protection of the occupied space.

In addition, local and environmentally friendly sustainable materials are used for construction, as well as to achieve energy efficiency goals.

This type of building applies the principles of bioclimatic architecture in which natural lighting and ventilation are sought. On the other hand, in order to achieve energy efficiency, all areas of the building are optimally insulated through the use of ecological materials.

Origin of sustainable architecture

During the 1970s, especially during the oil crisis, the idea of energy saving began to appear as a consequence of the massive consumption of fossil fuels.

A decade later, the Brundtland Report was published, which defined sustainable development as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability to meet the needs of future generations. In turn, this report explores the causes of environmental pollution.

With these studies and modifications, work began at the social and governmental level to change to a sustainable system that includes architecture and urban planning.

Benefits of sustainable architecture

Sustainable architecture provides a number of benefits both environmentally and personally.

Conservation of natural resources

This type of architecture promotes and applies the use of ecological materials and natural resources. In this way, the need to use non-renewable energies is reduced and, at the same time, the environmental impact is diminished.

Reduce gas emissions

With the design of efficient buildings and the use of renewable energies, the emission of greenhouse gases caused by the significant increase in CO2 artificially generated by burning fuels is reduced.

Increases energy savings in homes

Sustainable buildings are designed to achieve maximum electricity savings in housing. To this end, they are planned in such a way that they have maximum natural light, avoiding excess electricity consumption.

In addition, sustainable materials that favor insulation are used for construction, which translates into natural temperature regulation without the need for external elements such as air conditioning.

Improved air quality

Sustainable architecture applies strategies that improve indoor air quality. These strategies prevent the accumulation of pollutants and promote good ventilation.

This not only facilitates energy efficiency, but good air quality also reduces health risks for the inhabitants.

Offers greater comfort

One of the principles of sustainable architecture is to ensure the comfort of the inhabitants. To achieve this, large, functional, well-lit spaces with good air quality are designed.

A comfortable home can directly affect the productivity, stability and quality of life of its tenants.

Integrates with the space

This type of building seeks to preserve as much as possible the most natural part of the landscape. As a result, we can find buildings with vertical gardens.

This vegetation has the role of blocking solar radiation, serves as thermal insulation and can help to protect the facade, thus extending its life and avoiding rehabilitation.

The importance of environmentally friendly materials

The construction sector is responsible for 39% of carbon dioxide emissions so, in order to reduce pollution, it is necessary to consume responsibly.

In order to achieve this, ecological materials are used that have a low environmental impact both in the manufacturing process and in installation and maintenance. To fall into this category, the components must be durable and reusable, and both their composition and origin must be locally sourced.

The most used ecological materials in sustainable architecture

Different sustainable materials play an important role in each of the construction processes.

  • Ecological materials for construction. The material with the lowest environmental impact in its production and life cycle is wood. Wooden houses have insulating properties, which gives them their efficient character.
  • Ecological materials for insulation. Cellulose fiber and wood fibers are the most economical insulators, do not generate waste and maintain the temperature inside.
  • Installations and painting. Polypropylene, polybutylene and polyethylene are environmentally friendly alternative thermoplastics, a good alternative to PVC installations. On the other hand, lime, silicate and/or clay paints are environmentally friendly, increase thermal insulation and regulate room humidity.

Passivhaus, the best example of sustainable architecture

One of the most popular and growing sustainable architecture certificates are the Passivhaus. This type of housing saves between 70% and 90% energy thanks to its sustainable design.

Through the aforementioned principles of bioclimatic architecture, and in combination with renewable energies, the energy consumption of a house is reduced as much as possible.

In addition to its economic and, of course, environmental impact, this type of construction, as well as all those that belong to sustainable architecture, benefit our health and provide greater comfort in the daily lives of tenants.