Due to the advancement in technology and new ideas being presented in the construction industry, we have discovered ways that contribute less to climate change. Now, when constructing a building, new techniques are being used to have them become more environmentally friendly. Sustainable engineering focuses on implementing these techniques on converting buildings into a more environmentally friendly design. All around the world we have and utilize all sorts of structures whether it’s commercial, residential, or public/private facilities. Key ideas that are taken into consideration by these engineers is how to make each design more resourceful and energy efficient. Not only is the efficiency of a building that these engineers are interested in but also how the building life cycle will benefit the planet and us as its user. As the effects of climate change keep rising around the world, the engineering field takes it upon themselves to combat climate change in the best way, which is in the developing of newly designed buildings.
As mentioned previously, there are already many structures that are standing or in the process of being built that are developed in a greener design category. A good example of a sustainable building would be the “Center for Sustainable Landscapes”. This building is a great contribution to helping out our planet. To start off, as mentioned by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), this structure was completed on December in the year 2012, and it has been one of the first buildings to obtain four awards which are, LEED Platinum, The Living Building Challenge, WELL Building Platinum and Four Stars Sustainable Site Initiative. What makes this building a great green design is the ability of generating its own energy through the use of solar panels and wind power generators. Solar panels are one of mans’ greatest creation with its purpose to use up the sun’s energy and produce its own energy without the burning of fossil fuels. Another great aspect of this facility is the ability to treat up to 10 years of storm water leading to conservation of water and not waste. In addition to this great adaptation to the structure, the design plays a big role in the conservation of energy usage. AIA also mentions that this design was purposely made with big glass windows and recessed unit compartment to retain the sun’s heat when it’s at its maximum height which would be around July 29th due to it being the hottest day in Pennsylvania.
According to the Norwich University article “The Benefits of Sustainable Engineering” it states how there has been a global increase of CO2 emission by 41.85% from the years 1950 to 2014. It also mentions four key factors that should be in consideration through the construction industry, which are the consumption and productions of materials, greenhouse gasses emission, understanding limits of natural resources, and maintaining existing urban resources and building an energy efficient future. Regulation within the construction industry are becoming stricter with the uses of materials due to many hazardous materials. These materials could contain carbon monoxide, CO2, or nitrous oxides and the chemicals contribute to the cause of eye irritations, asthma, cancer and many more. Although these materials are contributing to illnesses that affect us, the making of these materials contribute to illnesses that affects the planets. Therefore, the use of sustainable engineering for a more environmentally friendly building would be beneficial to us and in contributing less to climate change.
As climate change progresses, it should make us realize that we are able to play a part in contributing less to it. As for engineers there are many ways that can contribute into combating climate change by its development in any construction building. Considering how efficient and resourceful a building can be and also thinking of the future life cycle of it is a great way to implement great environmentally friendly designs to a building that is supposed to help the environment as opposed to worsen it. Furthermore, with the development of buildings and its ability to incorporate great technology advancement such as solar panels, we would be able to give back rather than take from the planet we live in.
- “Center for Sustainable Landscapes.” Rene Cazenave Apartments | AIA Top Ten, 1 Dec. 1970, www.aiatopten.org/node/507.
- Li, Michael. “Engineers Have a Role to Play in Minimizing Climate Change.” AECOM, 25 July 2017, www.aecom.com/blog/engineers-have-a-role-to-play-in-minimizing-climate-change/.
- “The Benefits of Sustainable Engineering.” Norwich University Online, online.norwich.edu/academic-programs/masters/civil-engineering/resources/infographics/the-benefits-of-sustainable-engineering.