We already have awakened to the reality of the Anthropocene era and realised the catastrophic damage we’ve inflicted on the planet. We need not imagine the parallel world where the concerns are not comprehensively dealt with, because we are living it.
Green Architecture or green design, is an approach for building that minimized the harmful effects of construction projects on human health and the environment. A ‘Green’ architect or a designer attempts to safeguard the water, air and earth by choosing eco-friendly building materials and construction process. Building a green home is a choice- at least it is for most communities.
A building is designed to meet building code requirements, says AIA and also, a green building design challenges designers to go beyond the codes to improve overall building performance and minimize the life-cycle of environmental impact and cost.
Characteristics of a Green Building:
The goal of green architecture is to be fully sustainable and achieve sustainability in order to go green. Green architecture and design include:
- Energy-efficient lighting and appliances.
- Ventilation systems designed for efficient heating and cooling
- Water-saving plumbing fixtures
- Landscaping with native vegetation and maximizing passive solar energy.
- Minimal harm to the natural habitat
- Alternative renewable energy power sources like solar power or wind power.
- Use of non-synthetic, non-toxic materials
- Locally-obtained wood, stone and eliminating long-haul transportation.
- Responsibly-harvested woods
- Adaptive reuse of older buildings
- Use of recycled architectural salvage
- Efficient use of space
- Rainwater harvesting and greywater reuse.
You don’t need a green roof to make your building green and you don’t need a vertical garden or a green wall to make your building green. In the case of India, it isn’t far behind and in fact, can be considered ahead of most nations. India’s ‘green building footprint’ has risen to 3.86 billion sqft making it the second-largest in the world. The ITC Green Centre in Gurgoan, certified platinum (highest rating) by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
Despite the severe water shortage in the city, the 1,70,000 sqft IT park maintains self-sufficiency in water through rainwater harvesting and water recycling. Considering the proactive approach being taken by severe states today, a sense of urgency of environment-friendly development has taken hold in the country.
Climate change will not destroy the Earth, the planet will go on for millions of years – longer after human life has expired. But, however, can destroy the species of life from Earth that cannot adapt fast enough to new conditions.
Looking towards a Sustainable Future:
Green design has numerous names and concepts associated with it and besides sustainable development, people need to emphasize the ecology and adopt the names like eco-design, eco-friendly architecture, etc. Whereas, Eco-tourism is a 21st-century trend, even if eco-house designs might have appeared a bit non-traditional.
A building can look beautiful and even be constructed from different or expensive materials, but not be ‘green’. Likewise, a building can be very ‘green’ but not visually appealing.
Architecture Buildings Around the World:
Pixel Building, Melbourne
Design: Decibel Architecture
Pixel building was Australia’s first carbon-neutral office building, generating all its own power and water on site. The energy-saving features include – colourful eye-catching panels that provide shade and maximise daylight as needed, supports in processing wastewater, a roof that captures rainwater, and series of vertical wind turbines.
Bahrain World Trade Center 1 and 2, Bahrain
With an incredible 787 feet, the futuristic towers of Bahrain’s World Trade Center complex are optimally positioned to take advantage of the island nations’ desert winds, with three turbines mounted on sky bridges between the towers to generate electricity. The tower’s shape, reminiscent of the Arab dhow sailing ships. help the funnel wind of the turbines, that supply about 15% of the buildings’ electricity. Reflective pools at the tower’s base help with the cooling via evaporation.
Museum of Tomorrow, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Use: Science Museum
Design: Santiago Calatrava
With its distinct cantilevered roof, effective pools and skeletal structure is a testament of future possibilities. The sustainable design features include fin-like solar panels that add to the building’s neo-futurist aesthetic and a pumping system that takes cold water from the bottom of Guanabara Bay for use in its air-conditioning system.
CopenHill (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Use: Power plant, sports facility
Design: Bjarke Ingels Groups (BIG)
It’s both a power plant that burns waste to generate electricity and a sports facility where you can take on the world’s tallest climbing towers. Beneath the wintertime fun, 440,000 tons of waste is yearly converted by furnaces, steam and turbines into clean electricity and hearing for 150,000 nearby homes.