Tag: eco friendly

Architecture & Building

Learn all about Biodiversity in architectural design  

What is biodiversity?  

Firstly, biodiversity is the variety of plant and animal life in the world or in a particular habitat, a high level of which is considered important and desirable. Its important because it boosts the ecosystems productivity, where each species has an important role to play.  

How can architecture help biodiversity? 

The impact architecture has on the ecosystem is enormous. In addition architecture can contribute to biodiversity by creating habitat opportunities as part of new developments. Planted roofs, roadside trees, together with larger green infrastructure like parks and wetlands, can foster biodiversity by providing habitat for breeding, shelter and food for birds, pollinators and other animals.   

Architects impact biodiversity in five main ways:  

  • Decisions regarding roofs, walls, landscape 
  • Conservation and rehabilitation of existing structures 
  • Materials used in construction – their sourcing, assembly, and disposal 
  • Adverse effects of buildings in terms of air and water pollution  
  • Resources needed to sustain buildings in use. Energy, water, etc.  

Ways you can increase biodiversity –  

Protect and restore the design –  

This is the first and most important rule. You should get to know local ecology and protect it. If you are building in a degraded area, you should try to understand its past and see if you can restore what was there previously.  

Diversity –  

Furthermore, to avoid disease, pests, and to support biodiversity you should select plants from a maximum of 30% of the same family, 10% of the same genus, and 20% of the same species. 

Use native species –  

If an urban environment is so different, some native species may not flourish in it. If you aim to increase biodiversity in the plants and animals’ kingdoms, the native species will support the wild life.  

How does architecture help the environment?  

Finally, architects need to make buildings that are friendly and green to the environment which can be adaptable to the surroundings. Meaning they need to create more eco-friendly and energy efficient buildings.  

Credits: https://learning.open-city.org.uk/bugs-in-the-city/
Architecture & Building

A guide to Passive houses: definition, benefits and cost   

Passive house design is an alternative to regular heating. Instead of having a boiler and radiators, they use a special ventilation system and effective insulation. Read on to find out more about passive house standards  

What is a passive house?  

A passive house is a design standard that is energy efficient, comfortable, affordable and ecological all at the same time. The houses attain thermal comfort with minimal heating and cooling. They achieve this by using insulation, appropriate windows and doors, airtightness, elimination of thermal bridges and ventilation systems with heat recovery.  

Who invented the passive house?  

The idea of the house was created by researchers in Germany however, they were originally called passivhaus. It all started with early conversations in the 1980s, led by academics Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist. Later, their concept was further developed through a number of research projects. 

What are the requirements for passive houses?  

To achieve the passive house standard, you must meet several criteria, such as:  

  • Airtightness – these houses are very airtight and shouldn’t have no more than 0.6 air changes per hour at 50 pascals pf pressure.  
  • Space heating – The energy demand for space heating must not exceed 15 kWh/m2 of living space per year or 10W/m2 at peak demand. This contrasts with the 100W/m2 needed in a typical house.   
  • Thermal comfort – Living areas should be comfortable all year round, with no more than 10% of the hours in a given year exceeding 25°C. 
  • Primary energy – Total energy needed for all domestic applications (heating, hot water and domestic electricity) must not exceed 60 kWh/m2of living space per year. 

Are passive houses expensive?  

Passive buildings don’t require the expensive heating or cooling systems of conventional buildings. This means even though the buildings require high quality materials they are still affordable. Also, they make for a great investment because you save long term on energy bills.  

Advantages –  

  • Affordability  
  • Lower heating costs 
  • Energy saving  
  • More durable buildings  

Disadvantages – 

  • Boxy and ugly – although there are many benefits of passive houses, many people think the homes look boxy and ugly. This is because it relates to the total surface area of all of the external walls (the Heat Loss Area) divided by the total floor area. A lower number means there’s less surface area for heat to escape. 
  • They don’t add value when resold – one of the main reasons that people don’t buy passive houses in the UK is because they don’t add much value. The owners usually live in them for the rest of their lives.  
  • These homes don’t fit in every location – it must be constructed in a location that allows uninterrupted sunshine to reach the south side of the home. In some big cities, this might be a problem. 
  • Noise concerns – because they are airtight noise can’t enter or leave a passive house. tiny noises will be audible throughout the entire building.  
Architecture & Building

Advantages and disadvantages of Shipping container homes 

Shipping container homes have become increasingly more popular over the years. This is because living a more sustainable and cheaper life is becoming more people each day.  

What are shipping container homes? 

If you have never heard of this type of home, they are exactly what they sound like. They are houses typically made up of multiple shipping containers joined together.  

Shipping container sizes –  

Shipping containers come in a range of different sizes. The most common types are 10ft, 20ft and 40ft. A 20ft container can hold up to a 3-bedroom home and have enough room to store all of your furniture, boxes, and appliance, too. Also, these storage containers measure 20’ long, 8’ wide, and 8.5’ tall. 

How much do they cost? 

Furthermore, the total average cost of for a DIY shipping container home in the UK is between £20,000- £80,000.  

Advantages of container homes –  

They are prefab –  

Shipping container homes are available as prefabricated modular homes, meaning construction time shorter. Building inspections are completed at the factory, and this simplifies and speeds up the process. Some companies advertise delivery in under 10 weeks. 

Environmentally friendly-  

Container homes are often labelled as being environmentally friendly because firstly, you’re recycling, which is one of the greenest things you can do. Secondly, you are saving metal resources.  

Easy to transport –  

Because shipping container have been around a while there are experienced delivery systems in place to make the move easy as possible. Once they get to your property it is a quick and simple process of constructing them.  

Disadvantages of container homes –  

Structural issues-  

In addition, if you want to stack the containers to create a larger home, you may have to weld them together. So, this process can be costly.  

Safety concerns –  

Usually, you would be unaware of what was once shipped in the containers such as, hazardous materials. The paints and finishes used on containers are industrial, and not for residential homes, so that they could contain toxic pesticides. 

Photo : studiokfa

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