Sustainability, Architecture and You
You hear the world SUSTAINABLE bandied about a lot these days,
but what exactly does it mean?
The phrase simply means “providing for the needs of today without comprising the needs of tomorrow.”
– but what does being sustainable actually mean for us as an architects’ practice and for you as a home owner.
Site of Building
We survey the site so that the best orientation of the property can be established. We take notice of the terrain, how the sun tracks round the space, the shelter from prevailing winds, and also how neighbours’ properties interact with the land and assess the position of positive / negative views
Heat Retention & Generation
We go above recommendations and super insulate walls and roofs to stop heat being wasted and triple glazing is considered as windows are a source of heat loss. Generating your own energy can be sourced via wind turbines and solar panels.
Using heat recovery systems to return heat into the property ensures an efficient and cosy home. If people are interested, we can specify using ground source heating, and biomass boilers, which avoid the use of carbon fuels. Other items that can be utilised include:
- Solar blinds, shutters and shading devices
- Water source heat pumps
Keep it Local
We always try to specify local materials where possible and you will often see the local stone in our buildings. Where possible materials with low embodied energy are considered
What is Passivhaus
When you talk to architects you will often hear them talking about Passivhaus, this is a standard used for buildings to measure energy performance standards
Recycling the Old
When you strip out an older house think about how you dispose of the waste. Many of the features can be taken to the local waste recycling site. Lime plaster is good for improving local soil conditions as is gypsum. The timber can be cut ready for wood burning stoves and generally any hardcore can be used on site in land drains and areas of hardstanding.
The Homeowner’s Options
To make a difference in your day to day life, here are some things you can do.
- Firstly adopt the mantra Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
- Travel less, and try cycling.
- Buy local
- Don’t litter
Around the House –
- Look for a high energy rating on appliances you buy.
- Use draught insulation around doors
- Use rechargeable batteries.
- Reduce use of plastic and fossil fuels
- Turn heating down a notch and turn lights off when not needed.
In the Garden
- Install an outside water collection tank
- Have a compost heap
- Chose native plants for your garden
- Care for wildlife.