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Architect’s Role in Climate Crisis By City Tech Blogger Tahir Khan

 

 

Architecture is interpreted as a skill of designing and constructing buildings. For architects to be able to design a good building, he or she needs to be conversant with the surrounding environment and the natural systems (Irvine). Generally, the understanding of the climatic condition of an area determines a lot in the career of an architect. The weather conditions existing in a given region over a long period determine the climate of the area, for example, an area can be hot and dry or cold and wet. Architects can contribute greatly to climate change in a given area because buildings are known to contribute almost half of a region’s carbon dioxide emissions and this affects a big percentage of climate change. Architects usually participate in the preservation of climatic changes by designing the healthiest, greenest, and environment-friendly buildings. To curb large emissions of carbon dioxide can slow the impacts of climate change.

As an architect, I will design buildings that will reduce the emission of gas; one of the methods to apply is using carbon smart materials. During the construction, I will avoid the use of high carbon-emitting substances like steel, concrete, aluminum, and foam insulation. As recommended by Global Organizations, such a step will help in reducing the emission of carbon dioxide to the environment. Additionally, I will conserve the climate by designing buildings through the application of green architecture. Hereby, architects design greenhouses that are environmentally friendly, such buildings take landscaping into account where residents will be able to enjoy fresh air in the house and where there are good working conditions when working from home (Cohen). During the construction of the green buildings, I will ensure that any natural resource around the region is protected, for example, ensure that any water body or waterways are not polluted by the construction by-products.

Designing buildings, I will be careful to come up with a construction that is efficient in the use of energy, water, and other resources. For energy consumption, I will advocate the residents to use renewable sources of energy to conserve both environment and climate.  Using renewable sources of energy will help in reducing their costs and the emissions of carbon dioxide, which affects the climate in a negative way (Adams et al). For example, using solar energy as a source of light energy will reduce the costs and preserve water used in the hydro-generation of electricity. The buildings should be designed in a way such that they will be able to reduce waste, pollution, and degradation of the environment. During and after the construction, the waste should be well managed by designing a good drainage system to curb pollution of local waterways.

The buildings should be designed to protect people’s health and help them improve their productivity. For example, constructing a building in an unfriendly environment surrounded by industries contributing to air pollution will risk the health of the residents, hence before an architect designs a building, they should select a good location free from air, noise, and any other form of pollution. Additionally, using tools like energy modeling helps architects in reducing and predicting energy use in buildings. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a good mechanism used by building professionals in helping them understand energy use and other environmental effects associated with all the stages of a building’s life span (Sartori et al) it entails, procurement, operation, construction, etc.

In conclusion, since all architects cannot  reverse the effects of climate change completely, they can involve their team and clients by educating them about adaptive climatic changes and sharing the strategies with them. As architects, it’s our responsibility to support a justifiable design for a better and climate friendly environment. Our knowledge should be integrated with the new demands of climate change to secure a better future for all. This is not only a professional duty but a responsibility for all of us.

 

Works Cited

 Adams, Samuel, and Christian Nsiah. “Reducing carbon dioxide emissions; does renewable energy matter?” Science of the Total Environment 693 (2019): 133288.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.07.094

Cohen, Samantha Rebecca. Ecovillages as models for sustainable urban neighborhoods: design guidelines and methods for understanding, analyzing and designing sustainable communities. Diss. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2017.

https://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/111380

Irvine, Kim, et al. “Bridging the form and function gap in urban Green space design through environmental systems modeling.” Journal of Water Management Modeling (2021).

https://www.chijournal.org/C476

Sartori, Thais, et al. “A schematic framework for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Green Building Rating System (GBRS).” Journal of Building Engineering 38 (2021): 102180.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jobe.2021.102180

 

 

 

 


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2 Responses

  1. Your idea is very good, because the design of a building can indeed affect its carbon emissions. I used to live in some poorly designed buildings. Although these buildings are technically qualified, their ventilation and lighting are extremely bad.

    One example is air conditioning. Some buildings have poor ventilation and heat dissipation capabilities, which makes them very hot in summer. Air conditioning must be used to maintain human survival.

    Other buildings have excellent heat dissipation capacity, so that even turned the heating to maximum, the room will still be cold in winter.

    If the architect can design the building reasonably, it can greatly reduce the consumption of cooling and heating, thereby reducing the carbon emission of the building.

    In addition, about building materials.

    If carbon dioxide is a type of carbon, and plants can absorb carbon dioxide, wood can become a natural carbon capture material. When people use wood as a building material, they take carbon from the natural carbon cycle.

    So I think wooden materials, including traditional wooden buildings or new synthetic wood panels, can be part of carbon capture. As long as people don’t burn these woods, the carbon that makes up the wood will be permanently fixed in the building.

  2. As an aspiring Architect, I completely agree with this blog post. Architects can really help shape the path for how our future generations will live, work, recreate and can have a positive impact by using our talents and skills to benefit society. I believe it is not only recommended that architects provide sustainable buildings but a responsibility. In every field, major, or business, there needs to be accountability for those that create materials, objects etc. to look at the methods and ask the question, did we find the best way to keep this planet alive. Today, concrete is the most abundantly used source material to create our structures around the world and contributes over 8% of all global emissions. The buildings themselves are producing about 40% of all emissions, so if we can mitigate just these 2 areas we could cut emissions almost in half. Alternative methods of design, materials, and energy are all things that Architects need to consider when designing a structure, and also how that structure will interact with its environment and ecosystems. For these reasons, I also believe that scientist and environmentalist, as well as governments need to collaborate and work together to educate and learn from one another to have the brightest possible future and include these alternative methods as a standard for how we should build.

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