The effects of climate change are already being felt around the world as extreme weather events become more frequent. As architects, we have a responsibility to minimize the negative effects that climate change will have on our buildings and communities in order to create sustainable environments for people. Here are 7 ways that you can help your clients reduce their carbon footprint by minimizing the impact of global warming on architecture.
1. Use Sustainable Materials
It’s no secret that natural resources are becoming more scarce as we continue to extract them from our planet, so it makes sense to use those which can be easily replaced with renewable or recycled materials in an effort to reduce environmental degradation.
Using more natural and renewable resources such as wood, stone, or concrete is another way that architects can help clients minimize their carbon footprint and maintain a sustainable environment. Less energy-intensive materials like these require less maintenance over time because they don’t need to be regularly painted or coated with sealants. Architecture built out of these substances is also resistant to damage caused by extreme weather events, which in turn reduces the cost of repairs and renovations.
2. Use Natural Light
Another way to reduce the negative effects of climate change on your clients is by using natural light as much as possible. Architecture that takes advantage of daylighting techniques will use less electricity and produce fewer emissions, which in turn reduces a client’s carbon footprint.
In order to make better use of sunlight, it’s important for architects to design buildings with large windows or skylights so they can take full advantage of their natural source of illumination. These features also offer an opportunity for architectural detailing such as patterns created through frosted glass panels or elaborate framing around doors and windows
Passive solar designs are another option when designing a building from scratch; this type of architecture uses passive design principles like insulation and orientation to generate heat energy without using any mechanical systems.
3. Use Renewable Energy Sources
In addition to constructing with sustainable materials and natural light, architects can also help clients reduce their carbon footprint by making use of renewable or recycled energy. Architecture that is designed with solar panels for generating electricity on-site will not only make your client’s buildings more efficient but it’ll allow them to generate power without releasing any CO emissions into the atmosphere
Along those same lines, you could install a geothermal system in one of your designs; this type of design harnesses heat from the earth which then heats water pipes located near windows. The heated liquid circulates through radiators and provides an alternative heating source during the winter months when other options are too expensive or difficult. Geothermal systems have reduced electric bills and they produce fewer emissions
4. Install Green Roofs or Walls
Green spaces are another way to help your clients reduce their carbon footprint and make better use of the earth’s resources. Architecture that features living plants, for example, will absorb CO from the atmosphere while providing shade and cooler temperatures during the summer months
By planting vegetation on rooftops instead of installing solar panels in order to generate energy, architects can create a more sustainable environment and save money over time because they won’t need expensive heating systems designed specifically for vegetative growth. In addition, you could incorporate an edible garden into one of your designs by building up soil levels with topsoil that is made out of recycled materials like composted food waste
This type of approach not only reduces emissions, but it also creates a drought-resistant landscape that’s accessible to animals and plants
5. Design With Water in Mind
Architects can also reduce the negative effects of climate change by designing buildings that are more water-efficient. Architecture that incorporates rainwater harvesting systems, for example, will not only provide a clean source of drinking water but it’ll help your clients save money on their utility bills
There’s really no limit to what you could do with this type of approach; if there is an area in the building where there isn’t any furniture or machinery installed, then you might consider installing a cistern instead in order to catch and store rainfall from roofs. This process can be automated as well so your client doesn’t need to spend time handling these tasks themselves
6. Use Passive Design Techniques
Designing a building to be naturally responsive is another way for architects to minimize the effects that climate change will have on architecture. Passive architecture techniques include minimizing the use of heating and cooling systems in order to allow the building materials themselves, like brick or concrete, to regulate an indoor temperature using thermal mass.
Buildings designed this way can maintain comfortable temperatures even during extreme weather events such as heat waves or cold snaps because they are able to store some of their own warmth and coolness in these materials instead of relying on energy-intensive mechanical devices which require constant maintenance and repairs when exposed to severe conditions.
7. Create a Timeless Design
In addition to the sustainable approaches above, architects can also make use of timeless design principles in order to minimize the effects of climate change. Architecture that is designed with longevity and durability in mind will not only last for decades but it’ll reduce potential repairs over time.
Architects should always consider designing structures from durable materials like brick or concrete so they won’t need maintenance as often; this type of approach reduces emissions by requiring less energy-intensive upkeep (e.g., painting)
The most important part about creating a building that’s resilient against changes in weather conditions has nothing to do with what your client does after you’ve left their office: instead, it all starts when you’re drafting plans on paper because every decision an architect makes while creating a building can have an impact on the environment.
Architects Have a Responsibility to the Environment
In order to provide clients with sustainable solutions, architects should incorporate designs that are resilient against future climate change impacts. Architecture that’s designed from durable materials or features passive design techniques will last for decades without requiring continual maintenance and materials.
This type of sustainable approach not only reduces emissions, but it also creates an environment that can thrive; by designing buildings with water in mind, architects create drought-resistant landscapes which reduce potential repairs while also saving money on utilities.
When considering what your client wants vs. how you can minimize the effects of climate change, it’s important to think about what you’re doing when drafting your plans on paper.
Keep in mind that every decision an architect makes can have a potential environmental impact so always consider sustainability before making any decisions and incorporating sustainable design principles into your work for both clients and the environment.