Tag: green architecture

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Reshaping Architecture: Understanding the Impact of Climate Change 

The escalating consequences of climate change have reverberated across various domains, reshaping our understanding of the world and compelling us to reimagine our approach to crucial aspects of life. One such realm undergoing a significant transformation is architecture. As the global climate continues to shift, architects and designers are confronted with new challenges and opportunities to create sustainable, climate-responsive structures. In this article, we explore how climate change is affecting architecture and how the field is evolving to mitigate its impact. 

Rising Temperatures and Energy Efficiency: 

The relentless increase in global temperatures is perhaps one of the most palpable effects of climate change. Consequently, architects now face the imperative of creating energy-efficient buildings capable of withstanding extreme heat. The focus has shifted towards innovative designs that utilise natural ventilation, shading systems, and the integration of green spaces to regulate internal temperatures. Additionally, architects are embracing advanced technologies like smart lighting, sensor-driven systems, and energy-efficient materials. To reduce reliance on fossil fuels and minimise the carbon footprint of buildings. 

Changing Weather Patterns and Resilient Design: 

Climate change has led to a rise in extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, floods, and heatwaves. Architects are increasingly incorporating resilient design principles to ensure structures can withstand these adverse conditions. For instance, buildings in flood-prone areas are being designed with elevated foundations and water-resistant materials. Similarly, structures in hurricane-prone regions are incorporating robust frameworks and impact-resistant materials. By integrating resilient design into architectural practices, we can minimise the damage caused by climate-induced disasters and protect vulnerable communities. 

Water Management and Adaptation: 

Water scarcity and changing precipitation patterns are significant challenges resulting from climate change. Architects are responding by adopting innovative approaches to water management and conservation. Sustainable strategies include incorporating rainwater harvesting systems, greywater recycling, and water-efficient fixtures within buildings. Furthermore, landscape architects are designing green infrastructure solutions such as bioswales, green roofs, and permeable pavements to mitigate urban flooding and enhance groundwater recharge. These adaptations promote sustainable water usage and help build climate-resilient cities. 

Sustainable Materials and Construction: 

Architecture is moving towards more sustainable materials and construction practices to reduce the environmental impact of buildings. The use of renewable resources, recycled materials, and low-emission construction techniques is gaining prominence. Architects are exploring alternatives to traditional concrete, such as engineered wood, bamboo, and rammed earth, which have lower embodied energy and carbon emissions. Additionally, the concept of adaptive reuse is gaining traction, with architects repurposing existing structures rather than demolishing and constructing new ones, thereby reducing waste generation. 

Urban Planning and Green Spaces: 

Climate change has underscored the importance of sustainable urban planning and the integration of green spaces within cities. Architects are working closely with urban planners to develop climate-responsive cities that prioritise walkability, public transportation, and mixed-use developments. Green infrastructure, including parks, urban forests, and rooftop gardens, helps mitigate the urban heat island effect and improves air quality. By incorporating these elements, architects are creating healthier, more liveable urban environments that are resilient to climate change. 


As climate change becomes an increasingly urgent issue, architects have a critical role to play in mitigating its impact through innovative design and sustainable practices. From energy-efficient buildings and resilient designs to sustainable materials and urban planning, architecture is evolving to meet the challenges posed by a changing climate. By embracing climate-responsive strategies, architects can create structures that not only adapt to the present but also contribute to a sustainable and resilient future. The integration of climate-conscious design principles ensures that architecture becomes an active participant in combating climate change rather than contributing to its exacerbation. 

Jewel Changi Airport glass shell and waterfall design. Rendering courtesy © Peter Walk Partners Landscape Architects
Architecture & Building

The Impact of Carbon Footprint on Architecture: Building a Sustainable Future 

Architecture plays a significant role in shaping our environment. It has the potential to contribute to both environmental degradation and sustainability. As concerns about climate change and resource depletion escalate, architects and designers are increasingly recognising the importance of reducing carbon footprints in their projects. The carbon footprint of architecture encompasses the entire lifecycle of a building. From material production to construction, operation, and eventual demolition. In this blog, we will explore the ways in which carbon footprint is affecting architecture and the measures being taken to create a more sustainable future. 

Material selection and embodied carbon –  

One of the key factors influencing a building’s carbon footprint is the selection of construction materials. Traditional building materials, such as concrete and steel, are known to have high embodied CO2 due to their production processes. Architects are now exploring alternative materials like engineered timber, bamboo, and recycled materials that have lower embodied carbon. By using sustainable materials, the construction industry can significantly reduce CO2 emissions during the building’s lifetime. 

Energy efficiency and operational carbon –  

The operational phase of a building is responsible for a substantial portion of its CO2 emissions. Architects are adopting energy-efficient design strategies to minimize the operational carbon footprint. This includes incorporating passive design techniques such as orientation, natural ventilation, and daylighting to reduce the need for artificial lighting and HVAC systems. Additionally, integrating renewable energy sources like solar panels and geothermal systems helps to offset the building’s energy demands, further reducing its carbon emissions. 

Life cycle assessment and design optimisation –  

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a crucial tool used by architects to evaluate the environmental impact of a building throughout its lifespan. By conducting LCAs, architects can identify areas where CO2 emissions can be reduced and make informed design decisions. For example, optimising the building’s shape can improve energy efficiency and minimize heating and cooling loads. Ultimately reducing its carbon footprint. LCA also encourages the use of durable materials, which extend a building’s lifespan and minimize the need for frequent renovations or demolitions. 

Adaptive reuse and retrofitting –  

Rather than demolishing existing structures, architects are embracing adaptive reuse and retrofitting to reduce CO2 emissions associated with new construction. By repurposing old buildings, the embodied carbon of the structure is preserved, and fewer new materials need to be produced. Retrofitting involves upgrading the energy efficiency of existing buildings through insulation, efficient HVAC systems, and renewable energy installations, further reducing their operational carbon footprint. 

Education and awareness –  

Addressing the carbon footprint in architecture requires a collective effort from architects, engineers, policymakers, and society. Education and awareness play a crucial role in promoting sustainable architectural practices. Futhermore, architects are increasingly incorporating sustainable design principles into their curricula, emphasizing the importance of reducing CO2 emissions and embracing environmentally friendly solutions. Likewise, clients and developers are becoming more conscious of the carbon footprint and demanding sustainable design solutions for their projects. 

Conclusion –  

In addition, the impact of carbon footprint on architecture is profound, prompting a shift toward sustainable design and construction practices. Architects are embracing innovative solutions to reduce embodied carbon, enhance energy efficiency, and repurpose existing structures. By prioritising sustainable materials, optimising design through life cycle assessment, and fostering education and awareness, the architectural industry is working towards building a more sustainable future. The reduction of CO2 emissions in architecture will contribute significantly to mitigating climate change and preserving our planet for future generations. 

Treehouse Urban Woodland and Urban Green Canopy by Ronald Lu & Partners

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Architecture & Building

What are the benefits of Sustainable architecture?  

Firstly, sustainable architecture is also referred to as green architecture or environmental architecture. It is architecture that seeks to minimise the negative environmental impact of buildings. Through improved efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy, development space and the ecosystem at large.   

Why is sustainable architecture so important?  

With global warming increasing, it is important to create buildings that decrease the negative effects of carbon use and emissions. This is achieved via materials, construction and internal systems. Building and construction account for more than 35% of global final energy use and for nearly 40% of energy related CO2 emissions. 

Material impact and waste –  

The goal of sustainable architecture is to create buildings that have low carbon footprint throughout their life cycle.  

Every material used contributes significantly to a building’s embodied carbon footprint, as the manufacturing, transport and installation of materials produces greenhouse gas emissions.  

Furthermore, green architecture minimises the environmental impact and waste of materials by prioritising recycled and recyclable materials.  

Sustainable building features –  

  • Energy efficient  
  • Water efficiency  
  • Green roofs  
  • Stormwater management 
  • Solar power 
  • Recycling  
  • Landscaping  

Benefits of sustainable architecture –  

  • Conservation and restoration of natural resources  
  • Reduction in energy consumption and waste  
  • Protection of ecosystems and environmental biodiversity  
  • Improvement of air and water quality 
  • Competitive advantage  
  • Upgrade asset and property values  
  • Reduction in long term costs and dependence on traditional energy sources  
  • Minimises demand on local utility infrastructure  
  • Improve the living conditions, health and comfort of inhabitants 

Overcoming challenges –  

Finally, it is proven that sustainable architecture benefits everyone, from businesses, individuals, the economy and the environment. However, although there are benefits to sustainable architecture there are also challenges. One of the biggest challenges is the cost. While sustainable building might save you money in the long run, the materials and methods are way more expensive than traditional construction.  

Image: WOHA
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

How Green architecture impacts the modern world  

It is commonly known by now that the world as we know it has become endangered over the years. In the architecture industry the response has been the growth of green architecture.  

What is green architecture?  

Green architecture is a philosophy that advocates for architects to produce smart designs and use of technologies to ensure that structures generate minimal harmful effects to the ecosystem and the communities.  

The rise of green architecture –  

The green architecture movement gained momentum in the late 80s/ early 90s when the American Institute of Architects collaborated with the Environmental Protection Agency to develop new guidelines for architectural design. 

What makes a building green? 

Any building can be green if it is made with these features:  

  • Good indoor environmental air quality  
  • Use of renewable energy, such as solar energy  
  • Efficient use of energy, water, space and other resources 
  • Use of materials that are non-toxic, ethical and sustainable 
  • A design that enables adaptation to a changing environment 
  • Consideration of the environment in design, construction, and operation 
  • Pollution and waste reduction measures, and the enabling of re-use and recycling 
  • Consideration of the quality of life of occupants in design, construction, and operation 

Why is green architecture important? 

While cities are continuously expanding, the Earth itself is not getting any bigger. This growth has a huge impact to the environment because the process of developing new habitats for our communities constantly requires a huge chunk of our natural resources. 

According to the UN Environment Global Status Report 2017, building and construction account for more than 35% of global final energy use and for nearly 40% of energy-related CO2 emissions. While these numbers are lower than those in 2010 due to a higher awareness regarding sustainability, there’s still a long way to go. 

Here are some examples of sustainable architecture –  

One central park, Sydney Australia –  

One central park is a mixed use dual high-rise building located in Sydney. A park at the foot of the building continues up the structure. Vegetation of 250 species of Australian plants and flowers cover one central park. The plants stretch over 50 meters high, and it has become the world’s tallest vertical garden. In 2013 the building was awarded a 5-star green star by the green building council of Australia.  

Image: Sardaka

Shanghai tower, Shanghai China –  

The world’s second tallest building at 2,073 feet, Shanghai Tower is an architectural wonder as well as a sustainable one. A transparent second skin wrapped around the building creates a buffer of captured air that serves as natural ventilation, reducing energy costs, and 270 wind turbines incorporated into the facade power its exterior lights. 

Bosco Verticale, Milan Italy –  

The project was named Bosco Verticale, or in English “Vertical Forest”, because together the towers have 800 trees, 5,000 shrubs and 1.5000 perennial plants, which help mitigate smog and produce oxygen. With more than 90 species, the buildings’ biodiversity is expected to attract new bird and insect species to the city. It is also used to moderate temperatures in the building in the winter and summer, by shading the interiors from the sun and blocking harsh winds. The vegetation also protects the interior spaces from noise pollution and dust from street-level traffic. 

Architecture & Building

Learn all about Arctic architecture this winter 

The extreme weather in the arctic regions cause a range of design and planning challenges. For example: the cold temperature, structural problems, transportation, the high standards for materials, and resource limitations.  

Tips for designing, operating and maintaining buildings and systems in cold climates –  

  • The colder the climate, the more important it is to keep your equipment sheltered from the weather.
  • Avoid or minimise any external service pipes because they will freeze.  
  • Windblown snow has the consistency similar to sand. So, this requires special design techniques to keep it from getting into the HVAC systems.  
  • Place air vents in locations that will avoid snow drifts and blockages.  
  • Use prefab materials  

Building green – 

Since in the Arctic Region the effects of climate change are amplified and lead to global consequences, governments and international organizations are developing solutions to promote sustainable constructions. Green buildings provide benefits from an economic and social perspective, through lower building costs and improved comfort of their occupants.  

Building houses in the arctic –  

Many people in the arctic today live in modern towns and cities. People work in the arctic, extracting oil and gas beneath the permafrost, conducting research or working in tourism.  

Permafrost is very challenging to build on. Which is why houses where permafrost is present are built on stilts. This is to keep the permafrost from melting under them. While it is frozen it provides the house with a stable foundation. When the ground thaws, it can cause the building to shift or even collapse. Many houses are elevated on steel piles driven into the bedrock to keep the heat inside the home from going into the frozen ground.  

Houses in the north are often very different from the south. Northern houses will often have the bedrooms downstairs and the common areas upstairs. Heat rises so rooms closer to the ground are cooler, while upstairs the living areas capture and retain the heat in the winter.  

Windows are also an important factor when it comes to homes in polar regions. You want to make sure you place the windows in areas that have a positive impact. The placement of the window is important because you will get much needed sunlight in the winter but won’t be roasting in the summer.  

Here are some examples of architecture in the arctic –  

Arctic tree house hotel, Finland –  

This hotel in Finland was designed by Studio Puisto and it took inspiration from Nordic nature and culture. The timber structures are covered in wood and are carefully designed to be comfortable even in the winter months. All of the structures were fully constructed inside, right down to the internal surfaces and fixtures. They were then transported to the site and was lifted onto support pillars.  

Photographs:Marc Goodwin

Svart Hotel, Norway –  

The Svart Hotel is planned to be constructed at the base of Norway’s Almlifjellet mountain. Designed by international architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design firm Snohetta, the Svart Hotel gets its name from the nearby Svartisen glacier. The Norwegian hotel is being planned as modern sustainable architecture, with extensive research having gone into energy-efficient construction and operation. Snohetta even claims that the ring-shaped hotel will in-fact be energy positive – meaning it will produce more energy than it consumes. By mapping the movement of the sun’s ray, the circular structure design includes solar panels that would provide optimum levels of light throughout the day all year long. 

SVART – Photo credit Snøhetta Plompmozes MIRIS