Architecture is a career in which it is impossible to disregard climate change. To the present day, there is a growing interest and initiative towards incorporating green building materials to lessen the impact of climate change into architectural plans and designs of offices and educational institutions. Buildings contribute a significant amount of green house gases, a key player in climate change. After all, when you think about buildings, and the way they function, you can see how it’s a machine that uses the atmosphere, and the Earth’s resources from water to air. The ways to mitigate the impacts of climate change are now a strengthening force that is guiding architects to plan more structures to be more sustainable and developments more green.
The future offers a lot of expectations, with population and developing countries increasing as the years go by. New construction, and the need for housing, and infrastructure to meet the demands for this new and upcoming society are growing with numerous projects that are emerging in cities. They come in all forms, sizes and spaces, with the easy ways the construction industry evolved to produce buildings in a matter of weeks, and create it in any form structurally possible. This comes at a cost which is the emissions these creations can produce.
Buildings are basically machines which use the outside air to either warm or cool the interior spaces. This means when they take in warm air on a summer day, they are only releasing the same air out with added moisture and waste. The energy needed for the electrical components in buildings to function, such as lighting, also are a factor which depends on if the building is using renewable energy, or a nonrenewable source of energy which leads to more emissions. Water is taken from reservoirs, and either used for drinking, or for bathrooms which create sewage and waste, that either gets recycled via wastewater treatment, or gets dumped into the rivers. Lastly, the first appearance of a building is the color or material which also contributes to emissions such as concrete and steel.
First, taking into consideration the energy, and process needed to make these materials, such as the use of cement which emits high C02 levels. This is an example of embodied carbon, which is a term that represents the factors that contribute to C02 emissions. Materials used in building such as concrete and steel, their transport and installation into the structure are factors. Additional maintenance for the materials and the waste created after using them are also important factors to consider. These are all the precautions that are fixed into the minds of the new generation of architects and construction related fields.
Elements are used to both combat and work in favor of the environment. There are ranges of design strategies that are improving. Green roofs are a way for buildings to take literal gardens and replace the old asphalt coated roof layers which only absorb more heat. In addition to providing more oxygen to the environment, green roofs saves energy indoors by regulating the temperature. Similarly, passive design is a strategy of using the space of a building to work with the climate and atmospheric conditions. An example is seen with the growing use of glass walls and the popularity of using glass to introduce
Promoting more sunlight into indoor space without needing extra light power sources is also energy efficient. Emerging building materials that are more sustainable for construction include mass timber framing, where wood is used as it’s a natural material which stores C02. Recycling concrete and other materials is becoming another trend with alternatives being used as aggregates in concrete mixtures. Overall, a career in architecture is changing along with the climate specifically to improve the cleaning and filtering of the atmosphere as opposed to the use of standard materials that create a lot of waste. The new considerations that are established for sustainability in architecture through its designs and construction will help adapt and mitigate global warming.
“CO2 Emissions from Buildings and Construction Hit New High, Leaving Sector off Track to Decarbonize by 2050: Un.” UN Environment, https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/press-release/co2-emissions-buildings-and-construction-hit-new-high-leaving-sector.
“Passive Design Strategies: Sustainability Workshop.” Passive Design Strategies |Sustainability Workshop, https://sustainabilityworkshop.venturewell.org/node/784.html.
Yee, Eric. “What Is Embodied Carbon?” CarbonCure Technologies Inc., 29 Mar. 2021, https://www.carboncure.com/concrete-corner/what-is-embodied-carbon/.
Ellis, Grace. “Top Sustainable Construction Materials to Build a Better Future .” Digital Builder, 21 Mar. 2023, https://constructionblog.autodesk.com/top-sustainable-construction-materials/