Why Sustainable Design Can Be the Most Interesting Design, Too
Limitations often breed creativity. Designing and constructing sustainable buildings is no exception. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the standards for sustainable building or green building. Meeting those standards while still creating appealing architecture forced builders, designers, and architects to get creative.
That creativity has resulted in some fantastic designs. Through innovation and research, builders have adopted many sustainable design principles as standard practices. They embrace the limitations of the standards while still creating eye-catching or uniquely functioning buildings. Today, sustainable homes and environmental architecture don’t just save energy; they look great too.
Sustainable architecture and sustainable design aren’t just about performance anymore.
According to the EPA, up to 30 percent of the energy consumed by commercial buildings is lost to waste. Sustainable design principles seek to reduce such waste through better materials and more efficient use of space and energy. Early on, the standards for sustainable buildings were more difficult to hit because there were fewer LEED-certified builders and fewer energy-efficient or renewable materials options. Today, sustainable buildings — particularly custom homes — are easier than ever to design and build to fit any owner’s specifications.
The long-term goal of designing a sustainable building remains the reduction of energy consumption, and advancements in high-performance materials and techniques now give designers more options. For example, improvements in the efficiency of solar energy technology continue to expand energy sources for sustainable housing. Embracing these and other modern advancements, architects now relish the challenge of designing a sustainable house or commercial building with the coolest energy-saving ideas and beautifully integrating the components they require.
Modern sustainable buildings don’t just reduce energy usage; they look great too.
Sustainable Home Design: The Sky’s the Limit
Enjoying a sustainable home doesn’t have to mean limiting yourself to living in prefabricated houses. People with a variety of tastes can now enjoy living sustainably.
Some of the most incredible innovations we’ve seen in sustainable architecture include the following examples:
Tesla Sustainable House
Tiny homes started becoming popular in the 2010s. Tesla jumped in on the trend and designed a tiny sustainable home.
The Tesla sustainable tiny home is about 140 square feet. It uses 100 percent renewable energy. It uses solar panels on the roof to absorb energy from the sun. Then, it stores that energy in its “Powerwall.” Tesla’s Powerwall is a wall with a self-contained battery and inverter. In the tiny house, the Powerwall can store solar energy so you can use it when needed.
You can also control the home’s energy system through the Tesla app. These homes were designed to be affordable, mobile, and efficient.
Passive houses are homes designed to reduce energy consumption by up to 90 percent. They integrate the natural temperatures of the environment to contribute to overall energy efficiency. Passive houses employ modern energy-saving innovations, like using energy star materials, double-glazing windows, and installing efficient ventilation. They even use your body heat. Through precise engineering, passive houses use all the environmental features to create a comfortable home all year while using very little energy.
The Utah Clean Energy Commission promotes the development of buildings that can meet and surpass their own annual energy needs. Solar panels usually play a significant role in power generation for houses and commercial buildings that can meet that standard.
Renovate or design a sustainable building in Salt Lake City, Utah, or Utah County with help from Think Builders. Think Architecture is an accredited (LEED) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design firm focusing on creating sustainable architecture in Utah.
Sustainable Communities / Ecovillages
Ecovillages are small communities designed with sustainable housing and a like-minded focus on reducing their impact on the environment. Besides being energy efficient, ecovillages often also practice sustainable farming to reduce consumption further. Many even require cohabitation to lessen the demand for food and fuel.
Sustainable communities exist all over the United States, from the East Coast to the Pacific Northwest, but we particularly like the architecture of the Avalon Gardens & Ecovillage in Arizona. Along with its model of sustainability, the community features buildings of various shapes and styles that make for an interesting blend of nature and modern comfort.
A “Naturehood” combines the idea of a traditional neighborhood with some of the sustainability concepts of Ecovillages. These communities feature individual sustainable luxury homes in traditionally agricultural areas near outdoor attractions.
The natural draw of the outdoors draws many people to these new Naturehoods. The Benloch Ranch community near Deer Valley Ski Resort in Park City, Utah, features quick access to various outdoor activities. Community residents live just minutes away from miles of trails for hiking and horseback riding, a shooting range, an ice skating pond, and ski resorts.
Naturehoods allow for private living in places where you can enjoy nature while doing your part to preserve it. Give yourself unfettered access to the beauty of nature by building a luxury sustainable home in Utah with help from Think Architecture.
Environmental Architecture Firms Make Beautiful and Sustainable Housing Attainable
The simplest way to ensure sustainable housing remains stylistic is by working with building and design firms with experience creating energy-efficient buildings. You can find them by looking for firms with LEED accreditation.
Environmental architecture and sustainable design firms continually learn about the newest trends in both building and sustainability. They also regularly put them into practice in renovations and new construction. Architecture and building firms have the resources and manpower to keep up to date with all current local zoning and regulations. They can also get access to, and often better deals on, sustainable materials through relationships with vendors they’ve already established.
Don’t navigate the complex world of sustainable building design on your own. Get help from an expert team of builders.
Design Your Own Sustainable House with Think Architecture
Get started on your next sustainable building project in Utah with Think Architecture. Our building and design teams have the experience and knowledge to build your green and sustainable home or business while keeping your project moving quickly and on budget. Contact Think Architecture today!