Green design is beginning to be the driver instead of being in the passenger seat when it comes to large construction these days. It shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to the changes in architectural design that the movement to “green design” is having a huge impact. With many cities writing up urban planning codes that call for environmentally friendly design of large urban buildings, green is finally in season.
Making use of everything from solar powered roofs to metal panel systems that reduce the reliance on cement in construction, including environmentally sound planning is simply a requirement for today’s modern architect. Often referred to as sustainable architecture, this is a movement that has many components, all of them growing in popularity.
Sustainable Energy Systems
While the idea of adding solar panels to roofs has now become almost commonplace for urban green design, sustainable energy is so much more. The introduction of solar energy powered heating systems in many cities have begun to be more widespread, especially in the southwest where solar power is plentiful and the sun always shines.
Wind turbines in Europe have begun to produce the majority of power for some countries, notably in Holland. In this tiny country, offshore wind farms are producing enough power for a large city like Amsterdam to be almost totally reliant on renewable energy instead of traditional carbon based oil for electricity.
Vancouver has developed passive solar heating systems that use the reflected heat from glass towers next door to create heat and reduce the need for central heating systems in large inner city towers. When combined with thermal heat from local thermal sinks, the city is now introducing a grid of alternative heating systems that have no need of traditional electricity for heat and hot water.
Sustainable Building Materials
Companies are coming up with innovative materials from recycled blue jeans for insulation to rammed earth construction. The development of bamboo as a fast-growing renewable source that can replace traditional wood in many buildings is another example of new materials that are more sustainable.
Recycled tires have been known to show up in everything from children’s playgrounds to roofing tiles. The recent emergence of lower volatile organic compounds for insulation material has meant that less toxic materials are now being used for public buildings.
Cutting Down on Waste
Another big movement in the world of urban development has been towards cutting down on the sheer amount of waste that generally ends in landfills. Commercial developments and large scale urban building projects generate enormous amounts of waste. But many companies are working hard to find new ways to recycle waste. In addition, building in waste cutters such as developing ways to capture grey water to water landscaping and the installation of low water toilets have helped to develop a culture of sustainability.
Moving Towards a Sustainable Future
As you can see, with these types of innovative approaches to urban development and large building construction changes are being more accepted. The kind of green development that was once seen as cutting edge and expensive is now seen as necessary and part of most major cities’ urban plans. As more architects and urban planners see the need for green planning and sustainable practices in urban development, these types of buildings will simply become part of the landscape.