On World Environment Day, reflect on the role of sustainable architecture

Architecture is largely determined by the surrounding context and environments. As one of the leading factors in the design process, an architect must carefully consider the location of the project, respecting its topography, flora and fauna. So on this Environment Day, let us reflect on our role as architects and designers in helping to practice sustainability, green design and eco-friendly construction practices to give back to our environment.

Practices related to this doctrine, such as access to natural light, fresh air and green spaces, have helped improve the mental and physical health of residents.

Sustainable and energy-efficient architectural practices have found their way into mainstream architecture in recent years. With the building and construction industry responsible for as much as 37% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the need for green building practices has never been greater. While technological advances in recent decades have been able to reduce carbon emissions at the micro level during the construction process, they have also enabled a faster pace of construction with rapid growth of cities.

Witness the final chapter of the Lok Sabha elections on HT with live counting of votes and results. Discover now! Discover now!

There are several approaches to sustainable architecture, which include a wide range of practices and standards to reduce a building’s environmental footprint during construction and throughout its lifespan. Ecological and legible ways of obtaining materials, from the nearest possible sources to reduce transportation, is one of the many ways to reduce the ecological footprint during the construction process. With careful inspection, reusable materials can also be obtained from a demolished site, reducing overall material production to some extent. In recent developments in the technologies used in construction, the concept of sustainable materials is known to reduce the energy consumed by the building by reducing energy consumption and heat loss, allowing recycling, etc.

Many such practices, done carefully, also help us build regenerative buildings. Regenerative buildings have a net energy impact on the environment and use less energy and resources than traditional construction practices. Adding more value to the environment than it consumes, with practices such as rainwater harvesting, energy production through renewable means and much more. These buildings often respond to changes in the environment and are able to adapt to changes in their environment.

One of the many layers of sustainable design also focuses on the well-being and prosperity of its users. Practices related to this doctrine, such as access to natural light, fresh air and green spaces, have helped improve the mental and physical health of residents. With inclusivity community architecture interventions, the space is accessible to individuals of all sizes and abilities.

Many of these aforementioned practices have been recognized by some of the biggest names in architecture and construction, with certifications such as LEED and GRIHA also encouraging green building practices in the industry. As architects, it is within our power to continue to innovate with sustainable interventions to support the cause. By embracing these practices, today’s buildings are built to meet tomorrow’s challenges, by giving back to the environment, on this Environment Day.

This article was written by architect Nilanjan Bhowal, principal architect and founder of Design Consortium.