Sustainable Architecture

It is kind on the eye, but is eco-friendly architecture worth investing in?

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The architecture of the modern world can often be looked upon with sadness and a grim sense of a lack of creativity. However, the blossoming concept of sustainable architecture is bringing new life into any area, from farmland to city. It is also helping to create buildings which complement and support the environment at the same time, so is it time we saw even more of this?

Examples of sustainable architecture include roofs which capture rainwater to be filtered, ‘green walls’ which reduce heat inside buildings and sky bridges which create electricity using turbines. There are many other examples of course, all of which are examples of how the cutting edge of technology and engineering is helping to tackle climate issues and to freshen up the way humans construct our buildings.

Some of the buildings, such as the Bosco Verticale in Milan, look as though they were inspired by a post apocalyptic TV series where nature has reclaimed the city and its tower blocks. Yet the purpose of buildings like the Bosco Verticale is to make towns and city centres more environmentally friendly; if they are easy on the eye then this is a bonus.

There are, of course, pros and cons to sustainable architecture. These need to be assessed when analysing the argument, so see if one outweighs the other.

On the plus side, sustainable architecture by definition uses sustainably sourced materials in the construction process. Further to this, energy is often self generated in these buildings by using solar panels or wind turbines. Energy saving windows help to keep in heat during the winter and keep heat out during the summer.

In work buildings in particular lighting can be an issue, but with these larger windows letting in more natural light then there becomes less of a need for artificial light, of course this becomes an issue of its own during the darker days of winter.

The greener, fresher approach to work spaces has been shown to have health benefits to those who work there. Cleaner air and a brighter workspace will always go down well with employees, who wouldn’t feel happier with this situation?

Perhaps the only downside, albeit a significant one, to sustainable architecture is the initial cost of the building. Once completed they may be at least partially self-sufficient, but the cost of sourcing all of the eco-friendly materials and installing the latest in energy saving technology could be a cost which many companies and building firms don’t want the burden of in the current climate.

If money was no issue, then we would see eco-friendly buildings popping up all over the world; however this would be the case with a lot of beneficial aspects of life.

Sustainable architecture is helping to move grey and mundane built up areas into a new era of looking refreshed and reducing the carbon footprint of traditional office block buildings.

They may seem like advanced examples of post-modernism or only reserved for the world’s biggest, most progressive cities in 2020, but in order for sustainable architecture to be a genuine help in the struggle against climate change we will need to see plenty more of them; and soon.

Written by

I am a journalist with an honours degree from Coventry University. Passionate writing about politics, culture, sport, society and more

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