In current times, members of our eco-friendly society have become more interested in the far-reaching impacts that architecture can have on our environment. As it seems, our world is heading down an unsustainable path, making it difficult to believe that buildings can contribute to our habitat while diminishing pollution out of the air and generating power of their own.
Believe it or not, ‘green architecture’ has the potential to sustain the health of millions in the future. Or at least that’s its mission. Studies show that by the year 2050, our world’s population is expected to exceed nine billion. With that information in mind, our world must find new ways of adaptation. By that year, buildings will need to meet a demand for high indoor environmental quality (IEQ) for growing populations, especially in developing nations and other urban locations. Why is this necessary? Well, the quality of a building’s environment is closely measured, just like the well-being of those who occupy this work or living space. By using this information to work towards a positive impact for the future, decisions on plans for eco-friendly and energy efficient buildings will help to create better quality living for indoor populations around the world, while also connecting humans to the nature that surrounds them.
‘green architecture’ has the potential to sustain the health of millions
With all of this promising talk, questions may be asked, but the answers are clear. The technology to build a ‘green’ urban environment is not the problem; our perception as a community is. Buildings and landscapes can now bring the agrarian world into our city life, but we just need to start the process. The operation of building more energy efficient structures should start with the modification of existing buildings. According to the EPA, existing buildings account for nearly one third of the electricity consumed and generate up to 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. By modifying the structures, buildings will require less material, proving already to be a step in the right direction for the environment and local economies.
Today, New York City is building up and restoring current buildings to be more environmentally friendly! One example is the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park, revealing itself as a 1,200 ft (366 m) skyscraper in Manhattan. The project designed by COOKFOX Architects was named one of the most ecologically developed buildings existing in the world today. Technologies such as floor-to-ceiling insulated glazing to contain heat and maximize natural light were used, also including an automatic daylight dimming system. The tower utilised its grey-water system in order to re-use rainwater, while also recycling its air through filtration systems. Not only that, but this building was made primarily out of recyclable materials.
Our world can learn a great deal from the new process of building through energy efficiency, sustainable materials, water conservation, air quality, waste reduction, and much, much more. If one of the most magnificent cities in the world can do it, there’s no excuse for the rest of us. Don’t keep complaining about global warming, start renovating instead!