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Red Building On Water

One of the goals I had with my merit badge program was to have fodder for my blog posts.  I’ve been learning all about architecture for the past month or so but I’ve not felt comfortable sharing.  The reason is that I lack focus.  I am like a kid in a toy store.  Everything is cool.  My poor husband gets this look on his face every time I start talking about what I’ve learned.  I think it’s the same look I give him when he starts talking about WWE.

Architecture is a vast field.  I’ve been learning about housing features (which could be an entire blog on its own) and housing styles (ditto).  But what has been the most recent foray into architecture education for me has been on sustainable architecture.

Sustainable has become a buzzword, a trend, but most people don’t really seem to understand what it means to build sustainably.  I read one article from an architecture magazine that claimed even architects don’t understand.  The author criticized the belief that projects today shouldn’t have to follow green guidelines because they are already green enough.

I read blog posts that were criticized for having misinformation or outdated statistics or skewed information.  That’s the problem with how we access information today.  I will state, for the record, I am not an architect.  I have had no formal education.  I’ve just spent my time lately online, in books and watching videos on the subject.

So what does sustainable architecture mean? The official definition – the creation of buildings for which only renewable resources are consumed throughout the process of design, construction, and operation.  While this can’t happen at 100% with our current capabilities, we are able to build in such a way that we reduce the impact each building has on our planet.

This doesn’t just include building materials but how materials are manufactured and transported as well as components and equipment used.

When it comes down to it, sustainable architecture asks six questions about the project:
Does it save energy?
Does it use the space efficiently?
Does it reduce waste?
Does it save water?
Does it affect air quality?
Does it protect the integrity of the building site?

While strawbale adobes are the “poster child” for sustainable architecture, they are not the only type of house.  You can have your basic house, that looks like a house, and still have it be sustainable.  It just requires a little more thought into each aspect of the house.

I was fortunate enough to find the show Building Green at my library.  You may be able to find some of the episodes on Youtube.  That was a great introduction to all the nuances of sustainable architecture.

There are many parts to this topic but your time is valuable, next week I have two more topics under this heading – Adaptive Reuse and renewable vs recycled materials.