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ARCHIFYNOW > TIPS & IDEAS > Celebrate Earth Day This Year by Committing to Sustainable Design

Celebrate Earth Day This Year by Committing to Sustainable Design

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Earth Day is celebrated by billions of people across the globe each year on April 22, to raise awareness and demonstrate support for environmental protection.

Earth Day, also known as Mother Earth Day, was first celebrated in the United States on April 22, 1970, and has since become a global movement.

The official theme for 2022 is, ‘Invest in Our Planet’, encouraging individuals and organisations to act boldly, innovate broadly, and implement equitably.

It’s no secret that the built environment is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than any other sector of the world economy. Our built environment needs to be re-imagined and re-designed to function synergistically with nature. It is time to reassess our relationship with the Earth and stop consuming its resources as if there is an unlimited supply.

Keep scrolling to discover how you can celebrate our beautiful Earth and invest in our future through sustainable design.

Make thoughtful material selections.

  • Choose recycled and green materials where possible.
  • Limit carbon intensive materials such as concrete, steel, aluminium, foam insulation, carpet & Gypsum board
  • Choose lower carbon alternatives such as Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), bamboo, cork, hemp, blended cements & rammed earth.

Consider designing in modules or using prefabricated design strategies.

Modular and prefabricated design produces less waste and carbon emissions compared to bespoke construction. 

Design for longevity, repurpose and adaptability.

Design for easy disassemble and reused instead of the materials being demolished and contributing to landfill.

Eliminate fossil energy and adopt renewable clean energy.

Some of these include:

  • Solar Photovoltaics Solar thermal
  • Geothermal
  • Hydro
  • Advanced biofuels

Incorporate Smart Building Design Technologies.

Smart building technologies help to increase energy efficiency, reduce operating costs and improve occupant comfort. Some technologies include:

  • Building Management System (BMS) or Building Automation System (BAS). These systems allow for centralised control of the buildings HVAC, lighting, security, temperature, humidity, electricity, water pressure.
  • Building analytics platform to get your building operating at peak performance.
  • Smart Meter - a small electronic device that records the real-time data of the water, electricity and gas consumption.

Encourage Sustainable habits of occupants.

Through encouraging sustainable habits of occupants, you are contributing to lowered carbon emissions. Encourage occupants to bike or walk to work by providing end-of-trip facilities, bicycle Lockers and limit car parking spaces. You can also encourage occupants to utilise the stairs instead of lifts through convenient and enticing location and design of exit stairs.

Educate your clients.

Convincing design professionals of the value of sustainable design is only part of the challenge. Clients and developers also need to understand the importance.

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Breanne Iredell
Breanne Iredell is the Content Developer for Archify. She coordinates the content creation and publishing on Archify and Archify Now as well as the development of online CPD presentations and education materials. Breanne holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Western Australia.
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