“Sustainability” has become a buzzword in recent years. It’s often banded about so generally that its true meaning can be watered down or even lost. So, before we explore how we incorporate sustainable architecture into our services, we’d like to be clear about what we mean when we’re talking about sustainability.
What is sustainable architecture?
Sustainability is defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the future. It has three main pillars - economic, environmental and social - and these pillars need to work in equilibrium for a sustainable system to succeed. But what has architecture got to do with sustainability and why is it so vital that we consider it in our designs?
Design is a powerful tool and, when used with knowledge around creating a sustainable system, design can effect change. This can be through buildings, community or social change, including:
- low energy houses
- public social spaces
- jobs provided through development
It’s difficult to ignore the fact that we’re currently living in a climate emergency and that the world is changing through environmental damage. Without a huge change in the way humans currently build, we are in danger of creating irreparable damage to the planet. Explore the UN Environment Program’s facts about the climate emergency to find out more.
The built environment accounts for around 40% of all global carbon emissions. That means architects can have a positive effect on the planet using intelligent design; something the team at Marraum is passionate about.
How can we utilise eco-friendly architecture?
There’s a number of factors that can contribute to a sustainable architecture practice. At Marraum, we incorporate these eco-friendly ideas into our process, including:
Reducing a home's energy consumption
One of the key areas where we can make improvements when we design houses is in reducing energy consumption within our existing and future building stock.
Insulation, windows and doors have a big part to play, and we can work with you to find a cost-effective solution to implement changes that will benefit the planet, your pocket (good insulation makes for lower heating bills) and your comfort (no more wearing two pairs of socks around the house!).
Choosing sustainable building materials
When we’re designing buildings, architects have a choice of materials. Finding and using better and improved building fabrics within our designs is a key way that we can make impactful changes.
Stopping design for single-use is one way to be smarter. By designing for reuse, or easy recycling, we lessen the burden of finding virgin materials, as well as reducing our production of waste.
Improving your living environment
Designing to connect to the outdoors helps us realise the mental and physical benefits of being closer to nature. Landscape design on any size project can help to improve habitats and create a peaceful place to enjoy as your home. Re-wilding by planting additional trees and areas like wildflower gardens can also benefit the planet as well as make your own environment more pleasant to live in. Trees help provide cleaner air whilst wildflowers provide more diverse habitats for wildlife to thrive in.
Learn about sustainable architecture in Cornwall
At Marraum, we believe that sustainability isn’t just something to consider as an add-on in architecture but should ideally run through the veins of all the projects we work on. This is our mantra for design, and we believe that on any scale these eco-architecture ideas can be introduced and benefit your project.
Sustainability is an important part of our culture, and we’ve introduced an initiative called My Green Hour to encourage staff to take an hour out of their week to do something personally sustainable.
For more information, find out more about the modern architecture trends we embrace in our Cornwall architecture practice or get in touch to speak directly with us.