Sustainable design: the future of the construction industry

Over the past decade, climate change has become one of the greatest threats facing humanity. The various efforts to reverse the damage done so far require urgent attention from world leaders. Even individuals have a crucial role to play. Every little action adds up to make a big difference, which is why we, as conscious citizens, must pay special attention to safeguarding our planet and its dwindling natural resources. Every industry is undergoing a radical change to become more environmentally friendly in its practices and limit its carbon footprint. The construction industry is no different. There is an urgent need for the construction industry to incorporate sustainable practices into its operations. This is the only way to hope to achieve our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and to prevent the global temperature from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius.

What is Sustainable Design?

Sustainable design can be described as a type of design that seeks to limit negative impact on the environment. This sustainable design is achieved with the health and comfort of building occupants in mind, thereby improving building performance. The main idea behind sustainable design is to reduce the consumption of non-renewable resources by construction operations, minimize waste and create healthy living environments for residents.

A sustainable building has the following characteristics:

  • Reduce non-renewable energy[1] consumption

  • Conserves valuable resources like water

  • Optimize operational practices

  • Uses environmentally friendly construction materials

  • Improved indoor air quality

By implementing a sustainable design philosophy, decisions are encouraged at every stage of the design process that will mitigate their negative effects on the environment and the health of residents, without sacrificing the financial viability of the project. It is a holistic approach to designing a building that favors trade-offs and trade-offs. All stages of a building’s life cycle, including design, construction, operation and decommissioning, are positively impacted by such an integrated strategy.

Principles of sustainable design

Throughout the territory, buildings consume various resources (energy, water, materials, etc.), produce waste (construction, inhabitants, etc.) and release pollutants into the atmosphere. In addition, building owners are often faced with the question of balancing the need for accessible, safe and healthy facilities with the need to reduce their impact on the environment. Therefore, selecting a sustainable building design can help reduce maintenance costs and carbon footprint while increasing building resilience.

Sustainable design is a term that can be used across multiple disciplines including, but not limited to, the construction industry. This design process refers to the process that incorporates an eco-friendly approach and considers nature as part of the design.

Various companies, governments and non-governmental entities are applying sustainable design as a philosophy to achieve a better future through less consumption of the earth’s resources. Here are some of the most commonly applied sustainable design principles in the construction industry:

  • Optimized site potential: Site design, which starts with the right choice of site and includes the rehabilitation of the existing building, must combine with sustainable design to create a successful project, whether developing a new building or modernizing a building. existing. Local ecosystems, mobility patterns and energy consumption are all impacted by a building’s location, orientation and landscaping.
  • Optimized energy consumption: Increasing our energy independence involves improving the energy efficiency of existing structures. One strategy to dramatically reduce our dependence on fossil fuel-derived energy is to create structures using sustainable design.
  • Durable construction material: The material used in the construction of buildings is generally very polluting and its origin can lead to pollution. Using sustainable materials can reduce negative environmental effects such as toxicity, resource depletion and global warming. Environmentally friendly materials mitigate their negative effects on the environment and human health while improving worker safety and health, reducing liabilities and reducing disposal costs.
  • Improved indoor air quality: The health, comfort and productivity of building occupants are significantly impacted by the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) of the space [2]. A durable structure, among other qualities, maximizes natural lighting, has appropriate ventilation and humidity control, improves acoustic performance and avoids the use of materials with high emissions of volatile organic compounds.
  • Improved maintenance and operating procedures

The need for new or updated sustainable building designs that balance safe, secure, and productive environments presents particular challenges for building owners.

Engineers, architects and other site contractors can specify materials and systems that streamline operational procedures and reduce maintenance requirements by working together. These procedures are cost effective and reduce life cycle costs while also aiming to reduce the amount of water and energy used on site and inside the building.

All of these principles mentioned above are crucial characteristics in defining the design of sustainable buildings. These characteristics can be used to differentiate traditional buildings from sustainable buildings.

Building a greener future with Schneider Electric

The construction industry is changing and current global demands will accelerate the transformation. You will need to harness the power of the all-digital, all-electric world with a more sustainable, resilient, efficient, and people-centric building if you are to survive and even thrive as a developer, owner, and operator. At Schneider Electric, we can help you keep up with the trends through our sustainability initiatives like Ecostruxture.

To help you maximize building efficiency, optimize comfort and productivity, and increase building value, EcoStruxure Building securely connects hardware, software, and services over an Ethernet IP backbone. We are ready to accompany you on the path to decarbonization and to undertake this difficult but essential work alongside partners like AECOM.

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