This broad principle focuses on minimising energy use and employing renewable energy strategies where possible. With rising demand for fossil fuels, combined with the uncertainty over their future availability and the accumulation of greenhouse gases impacting on the global climate, it’s essential to find ways to reduce the burden by increasing energy efficiency and utilising renewable resources in residential buildings.
Designers can reduce the demand for heating, cooling and lighting by incorporating passive strategies such as climate-responsive design and daylight harvesting. Similarly, renewable energy systems can be installed. From photovoltaics and solar water heating to geothermal heat pumps, there are several strategies that can be exploited to help reduce the load.
Reducing water consumption and protecting its quality are key to sustainable building design. In many places, the demand on supply exceeds an aquifer’s ability to replenish itself. Wherever possible, buildings should decrease their need for water by increasing their efficiency. Water saving technologies can be implemented to conserve the water used both inside and outside the home. From minimising leaks to reducing and controlling site runoff, there are numerous ways to improve efficiency.
Vast amounts of energy are used to pump, heat, treat and transport drinking water and this energy-intensive resource is often wasted. Water can be reused and purified on-site, thereby reducing the overall energy required for processing and transportation. Similarly, non-sewage and grey water can be used on-site for flushing toilets and irrigating the landscape.
It’s important to use environmentally friendly materials in the construction of a sustainable residential building. Salvaged or recycled materials are an obvious choice. Products that are easily disassembled for reuse or recycling or those that are minimally processed should also be exploited. It’s important to reduce overall material usage. Saving energy, conserving water and reducing pollution and waste from operations are key goals.
It doesn’t matter how sustainable a building may have been during the design and construction phases, it can only continue to be so if its occupants maintain and operate it responsibly. From recycling to switching off lights, there are various ways to reduce waste, which in turn, helps to reduce costs during the life-cycle of the building.
An increasingly popular principle of sustainable homes is the anticipation of future adaptations. Allowing for the implementation of alterations at a later date helps to extend the life of a green home. Similarly, sustainable design allows for the disassembly and reuse of materials when a building reaches the end of its useful life.
We hope you found this article useful. CES have consulted on a range of residential developments – learn more about them here, or contact our team today to discuss your next building project.