Modern architecture has found itself responsible for acting as a strategic and essential arena for sustainable innovation. Successfully integrated with the practice of creating sustainable design and planning strategies, architecture then brings us one step closer towards the goals of achieving total sustainable development with a high quality of living.
Sustainable architecture then, seeks to minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings by efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy, and development space. It also utilizes a conscious approach to energy and ecological conservation in the design of the built environment.
As industry experts would put it, the objective of sustainability, or ecological design, is to ensure that our actions and decisions today do not inhibit the opportunities of future generations.
The practice of sustainable design spans from the earliest stages of a project and includes commitments from all concerned parties, from the clients, designers, engineers, authorities, contractors to the owners, users and the community. Accordingly, the architect is given the responsibility of being “lean and mean” ensuring that the materials used are highly durable – used frugally and if their carbon footprint is high then they should be only used sparingly.
Positioned as a complementing tool for sustainable architecture, the industry has seen the emergence of cloud-based services that allow users to run building performance simulations to optimize energy efficiency and to work toward carbon neutrality earlier in the design process.
An example of these services can be seen in Autodesk Green Building Studio, a flexible cloud-based energy simulation software that can help extend the architect’s ability to design high performance buildings at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional and conventional methods.
These online solutions offer unique features like whole building energy analysis; detailed weather data; Energy Star and LEED support; carbon emissions reporting; daylighting; water usage and costs and natural ventilation potential. Utilizing these dynamic online solutions give architects access to the virtually infinite computing power of cloud-based analysis.
By Jimmy Joseph, product manager, Omnix International – supplier of information technology to clients