The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines green construction as “the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction. known as a sustainable or high performance building.”
Seeks to reduce negative impacts on the environment, and the health and comfort of building occupants, thereby improving building performance. Sustainable design principles include the ability to:
Building with nature as a “unified organism”.
Organic architecture is a philosophy of architecture which promotes harmony between human habitation and the natural world. This is achieved through design approaches that aim to be sympathetic and well-integrated with a site, so buildings, furnishings, and surroundings become part of a unified, interrelated composition. Exterior and interior spaces merge seamlessly, and different rooms create a single continuous space.
The nature of materials is showcased. Unadorned stone, wood, steel, glass. Materials, structures, motifs, and ordering principles, in general, tend to repeat themselves throughout the building, making them more holistic and intentional. Organic architecture is reflected in every element of the building—from windows to doors and even floors and furniture. Every component seems to relate to one another, reflecting nature’s symbiotic ordering. By blending interiors and exteriors and maintaining a harmonic ambience, organic architecture strives for the unification of the human habitat with nature.
Organic design integrates cantilevered overhangs for passive solarheating and natural cooling; natural lighting with clerestory windows; and radiant-floor heating. The characteristics of organic architecture include open-concept space that flows freely, inspiration from nature in colors, patterns, and textures, and a sense of shelter from the elements. There should be peacefulness providing for reflection and uncluttered space with simple ornamentation.
Windows exactly on opposite sides of the building causes parts of the room to be ventilated while other areas are not:
Placing windows across from (but not directly opposite to) each other causes their room’s air to mix better by distributing cool and fresh air:
Placing an inlet low in the room and an outlet higher up can cool spaces effectively as they leverage the natural convection of air called stack ventilation.
These are excellent mechanisms to guarantee natural ventilation, which in addition to light and solar control if properly designed and positioned in conjunction with solar and local wind conditions, can guarantee excellent internal thermal quality.
The consideration of the types of openings is indispensable. In a practical way, let us think of an environment that, if a window with two sheets of sliding glass is chosen, it is understood that when opening, only 50% of the opening will allow the wind to enter. With the same size of the span, if we opt for a window with one or two open sheets, the ventilation will be integral.
Depending on the type of window, seal or door chosen, it will directly influence the direction of the winds (vertical, horizontal or inclined) and percentage of the inward air mass.
Site orientation refers to the direction that your home faces in relation to the sun’s path, wind patterns, and the lot itself. When planning the site orientation, it is important to remember that the direction your home faces can impact views, interior temperatures, natural lighting, exterior landscaping, resistance to wind damage, access points, energy costs and emissions and even the value of your home.Every site, even flat fields, has elements that have to be recognized for practical home placements and site orientations. There will always be an element to work around and consider, even if it is not visible. This could include trees, utility placements, drainage, easements, and city codes.
Trees can be a beautiful feature to design around. Mature trees offer practical shade to protect the home and also give a sense of beauty and charm. Instead of cutting down an existing tree, the home could be positioned to have the tree shading a deck or creating a visual treehouse feel in second-story rooms.
Elements like utilities, drainage, easements, and codes may prohibit or limit the ability to build on certain areas of the site. For example, it is best to stay away from areas with poor drainage or to address the problem prior to the build to ensure the home is protected in the future. Utility connections are another cost factor to consider. While they may be possible to move, there may be budgetary restrictions. Easements and city codes on the other hand will be almost impossible to change, as they allow someone else to have access and uninterrupted accessibility to certain areas of your site.