When creating building, there are many ways to make it more sustainable. This includes energy efficient lights, energy efficient HVAC and better insulation. The faucets and toilets could minimize water waste and recycling containers can be placed around the hallways. The building could also include solar panels or other sustainable energy resources. All of these factors are placed into or on the building after the initial architecture and design has finished. However, many people don’t realize that the design and layout of the building can greatly affect sustainability as well.
Many times it can be difficult for a contractor or architect to change the location of the building. However, they can maximize its efficiencies by changing the building’s orientation. If the length of the building faces south and north, it can harness the natural heat of the sun in the winter. This natural heating can be increased even more by increasing the amount of glass windows on the south end of the building (so long as the building is in the Northern Hemisphere) and capturing the heat through a storage medium such as a masonry wall.
During the summer, the sun is higher in the sky and will not be reflected into the windows directly. The design of the building can decrease the amount of sunlight entering the building during the summer by including shading devices inside and outside of the windows. The outside shading can be an overhang perpendicular to the building. This will let in light when the sun is low in the winter but decrease the sun’s rays entering the building when it is high in the sky in the summer. The amount of overhang needed should be calculated depending on the site’s climate and latitude.
These design techniques are some of many that contractors and architects can use to create a more sustainable building from the ground up. Comment below with other ideas and follow me on twitter!