Green architecture is a sustainable method of green building design: it is design and construction with the environment in mind. Green architects generally work with the key concepts of creating an energy efficient, environmentally friendly house.
The natural ecology of the planet should be the macro model for architects to use as a model for a green building. Architecture can model itself on the planetary system to copy the natural ‘green’ environment, making a new building, or adapting an existing building, both environmentally friendly, in terms of materials used and the space it occupies, and energy efficient, including solar technology.
Criteria for Green Architects
Architects who style themselves as green, will have the standard degrees in architectural design and practise, and may have taken additional qualifications to demonstrate their green or environmental knowledge. However, the most important sign of an architects competence in green matters, is their skill and experience. It is one thing working with the environment and the planets ecology, but listening to a clients needs and translating them into a workable design plan is the crucial matter.
To be sustainable in all matters relating to the design; from initial consultation, through to site visit and early designs, right through to liason with builders and if necessary, plan modification. The architect that anyone considering a green building chooses, must be able to demonstrate this, through their portfolio and their approach. Do ask if it is possible to visit any previous projects the architect has worked on, to really get the feel of their eye for work and environmentally friendly detail.
Some Aspects of Green Architecture and Design
An architect should be able to tell and advise a client what makes a building energy efficient. The architect should also be able to translate the clients ideas into reality, using both common architectural sense, and the most up to date technology and methods. This might include solar panels, thermal mass building construction, green materials, including wood, stone, or earth (or even recycled waste materials, such as tyres or glass or plastic bottles).
It is both the design and the construction which can make a building truly sustainable and green, and the architect should pay careful attention to both aspects of the entire process. On a site visit, a green architect should pay close attention to the environment that the potential building site is located within. This should guide the architect in their design, with an intention to respect the immediate ecology of the area, and for a prospective new green building to be in harmony with this. In the case of an existing building, or a building to be constructed on a so-called brown field site, which is usually in an urban area, where often industrial or residential properties are or have been demolished; the architect should pay particular care to what already is on the site, and how it has been used and treated.
Green architecture can be wonderful examples of the possibility of humans living harmoniously within the environment. The opportunities exist to design beautiful, energy efficient and environmentally friendly residences and workplaces that demonstrate our human ability to adapt to and peacefully live within the ecology of the natural world.