Sustainable architecture is a concept that, despite having been defined at the end of the eighties, has only begun to be considered as an important division within modern architecture relatively recently.
But what is sustainable architecture?
The term derives from the concept of ‘sustainable development’ and basically refers to an architecture that seeks to reduce the environmental impact caused by construction as much as possible and that aims to integrate with the natural ecosystem while preserving it.
To achieve minimum impact on the environment, it is necessary to take into account the entire ‘life cycle’ of a building or construction in general. This includes the construction of the structure, its use (or life) and also includes the demolition of the structure.
Before even starting the construction process, the main areas to consider in this pre-life cycle part include the choice of materials to be used, the effectiveness of the building structure, town planning and the assessment of the impact, both on nature and society, that constructing the building will have.
Architecture has numerous and diverse objectives to fulfil if it is to be considered sustainable. It is essential that the design and construction of the building itself has already implemented criteria for energy efficiency and for achieving the least possible energy waste; it is very important to take advantage of the resources in the environment and integrate them so that the systems work as efficiently as possible.
Architects should also keep in mind that the building is likely to be demolished at some point, and therefore ensure that this process is as sustainable and environmentally friendly as the construction itself. Finally, the most difficult part is to balance all these parameters with maintaining the quality of life and well-being of the building’s occupants.