Environmental Issues Home Design, Residential Building, House Construction, Architecture
How Important Are Environmental Issues When Designing a Home?
6 Sep 2019
Important Environmental Issues for House Design
How Important Are Environmental Issues When Designing a Home?
As an architect, you often need to think outside the box in order to deliver on something really special for a client. While many architects focus on making a home look grand or even modern, others have a niche that they focus on in order to stand out and sell their homes.
One of the things that some architects are considering when designing homes in 2019 is the impact of our lives on the environment. It is entirely possible to build a home that is environmentally friendly, as long as you know what you are doing. Of course, not everyone is concerned with this matter, but it can be quite important to consider this kind of thing. Many people believe that building an environmentally-friendly home is going to be too expensive but really results outweigh the costs in the end.
In this article, we are going to look at the current issue of global warming and discuss the impact of this on our design choices when working on a project. If you are tasked with designing homes for clients on a regular basis then you might want to consider this when doing so. Make sure to keep reading to hear what we have to say on this topic, and you might just change your mind.
What Are The Environmental Issues?
In 2019, all you need to do is switch on the news to find out about the latest environmental disaster that is affecting our planet. Whether you believe that global warming is happening or not, you need to understand that there is a lot of evidence that suggests that we need to play our part in saving the planet before it is too late.
Global warming is having a massive effect on our planet with animals migrating around the world to live in the right temperature for them and ruining crops in places that aren’t expecting these animals to live. It is also important to understand that the increased temperatures are causing the polar ice caps to melt which is then leading to a rise in sea levels. Many scientists have been stating these facts for many years and now we need to realise that this is an issue that we all face and that we all need to tackle together.
In California, one of the issues that we face all of the time is an increase in wildfires. There are wildfires so often that many people are having their property burn down and their lives destroyed. When something like this happens closer to home, you tend to take note of it and start to consider making a change. Recently, there was a huge wildfire that started and spread across the hills destroying the homes of many. People were in real need and there was nothing that could be done to stop the fires soon enough to save everyone.
There are so many more environmental issues that we could not mention then all in this article. As you can see, these issues are very important and are something that we all need to be thinking about.
Why Is This Important?
With so many things to deal with on a regular basis from the changing environment, we need to understand why this is important to anyone who might be designing a home. As an architect, you need to make sure that you are creating buildings in a sustainable way that is not going to harm the environment. Of course, some property construction is going to do its part in increasing a carbon footprint of an area, but it can be limited if you plan things accordingly.
Another reason why this is so important for architects is that you need to be able to build something that is going to last. If you are not thinking carefully about your design, then you might right it getting affected by the changing planet as time goes on. No one wants to buy a property that is only going to last 10-20 years. You need to understand that now is the time to start building properties that are good for the environment and that will stand the test of time and global warming.
How You Can Tackle This
Architects may not be the most powerful people who can stop climate change and global warming but there are some things that you can do. This sort of issue can be solved by everyone coming together and reducing the effects of this at the same time. As an architect, you need to think carefully about the work that you are doing and make sure that you are designing homes that are going to be ready for the future.
To do this, you might need to do some more research on sustainable buildings and how this can take place. Some locations even offer courses that you can take to find out what you need to do to offer this kind of service. Make sure to find out as much as you can about how you can build without destroying the planet and this will make a huge difference. The more architects that are considerate of the planet, the better position we will be in a few years’ time.
Next, we are going to tell you about some of the things that you should consider adding to your designs in order to be more environmentally friendly and show how important this is to you.
One of the best things that you can do when you are designing a building in 2019 is to accommodate for some solar panels. Solar energy is a great resource and we need to make sure that we are using it. Solar energy is really easy to generate, all you need are some solar panels and the right location that is going to have enough sun. California is a great place for people to really bring solar panels to life as there is sun all year meaning that lots of energy can be generated.
In Burbank, LA, solar panels are becoming extremely popular. Solar panel costs in Burbank might be high at first but their value over time often outweighs this. If you are designing a home in this area, for example, you will find that the best solar company in Burbank is Semper Solaris. This company is one of the best solar power companies Burbank has to offer and is definitely one to watch. Make sure to look here for more information on this company.
Solar panels are extremely popular and extremely useful and are often desirable for homeowners. These panels can save homeowners a lot of money on their energy bill so make sure to consider this if you want to make a difference. Make sure to explain these cost advantages in order to really sell these solar panels to your clients when in the design stage of the process.
Another great way to tackle environmental issues when you are designing a home is to add some extra insulation. Insulation is vital in keeping any energy inside the home as this can reduce the carbon footprint of the building. Without the right insulation, the energy can leak out and this will mean that more needs to be used in order to heat the building.
When you are designing a home, you need to make sure that you are doing so with this in mind. Try to get creative with the insulation and add as much as you can. Think about all of the rooms in the home and do some research on which rooms are most likely to have heating escape. Many people forget to add insulation to the loft or the garage so it might be useful to consider this in your plans.
Something else to consider when it comes to insulation is continuous insulation. While this might not be your job once you have completed the project, you should advise the buyer on this and encourage them to protect the planet in whatever way they can.
As we have mentioned before, California has experienced some really bad wildfires over the years and more recently these have increased a lot. For this reason, you need to consider this when you are working on a design project for one of your clients.
Think about the building materials that you are planning on using and add in a fire protection wall if you think that this might help. Try to avoid using wood as this will burn more easily and only use it if you have a method of protecting it.
Fire protection can be quite complicated, and you’ll need to make sure that you are doing it right. It might be helpful to ask for some guidance on this from a fire expert in order to really protect this home against any environmental concerns. Make sure to protect your properties in the future with as much fire protection as possible and this will help you to do your part for the planet.
Air And Moisture Barrier
If you really believe that environmental issues are important when designing a home, then you should make sure to consider an air and moisture barrier. When you include one of these in the design then you are building a home that is energy efficient. The air tightness is very important in order to get rid of any kind of thermal bridges so make sure to consider this. You should also be trying to prevent any moisture from appearing as this can lead to rot and growth over time.
The air and moisture barrier can prevent any kind of infiltration and this is very important. Make sure that you are spending some time working on the air and moisture barrier and don’t ignore this important step. If you can do this then you will find that the homes, you are building are much more energy efficient.
Finally, we encourage any architects interested in saving the planet to add a glazing system to the home that they are designing. Any windows and doors in the home should be energy efficient in order to make sure that the building is airtight. With an airtight building, you can be sure that no heat is escaping and reduce your carbon footprint in this way.
It is important that you understand where glazed windows are placed will affect the temperature of the home. For example, in the northern hemisphere, you will find that windows should face south in the winter as this is when the sun is at its lowest. This will help to keep the home cool and reduce the need for any kind of climate control within the home that is going to cause issues.
Make sure to consider the glazing elements carefully and place your windows correctly if you want to really benefit the environment.
When you are designing a home, you need to really understand the importance of environmental factors on this. The world is changing so much at such a rapid pace that we all need to make sure that we are doing our part in saving it as much as we can. If you can make some changes to the way that you design homes in the future, then you should be able to make a real difference just in your job alone.
Some of the things that we have discussed in this article are relatively easy to include in a design for a home while some might take some convincing of the homeowners as they can be costly. When trying to sell solar panels to a client, make sure to discuss the fact that there is tax credit available and the lower energy bills that they will experience.
Make sure to follow all of the advice that we have given you in this article to really make a difference in your profession.
Black House in Kent, South East England
Architect: AR Design Studio
image courtesy of architects
Black House in Kent
Heather Cottage, Berkshire, South East England
Design: Spratley & Partners
photograph © Peter Cook
Cottage Property in Berkshire
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