Environmentally Responsible Architecture & Sustainable Buildings
Sustainability is not a new concept. It has been around for a long time. Over the last half-century, through the development of new technologies and globalization, natural resources and energy have been very affordable and readily available too most industrialized nations, and sustainably as a lifestyle was lost on a generation. In recent years we have seen a revitalization of sustainable technologies and practices, due to the increasing costs of energy and the growing concerns about climate change and depletion of the Earth’s natural resources. Contrary to the beliefs of most people, buildings are the largest consumers of natural resources and energy; using nearly half of all the energy consumed every year. Buildings are also the largest contributor of carbon emission, which is the leading cause of climate change. The time has arrived in which we have to be conscious and intentional about the choices we make in buildings and our daily lives for future generations and ourselves.
PARAVANT Architects takes a holistic approach to sustainability. We recognize the growing trends in the industry through policy and consumerism towards sustainability. We are aware of new and innovative technologies that reduce the demand for energy, as well collect and store energy and even give back to the grid. But, we also return to the early notions of sustainability as a way of living. Not just about how we can reduce our impact to the environment, but also how can we give back to it, how can we make a place better then it was before we arrived. For PARAVANT Architects sustainability is also about making a place that provides for the emotional and physical well being of those that come into contact with it. Through our conscious approach to design we are able make sustainability an integral and complete part of any building project.
Buildings are the primary consumers of electrical power, using over 75% of electricity consumed annually. This high level of demand on the power grid is largely the result of an out dated approach to the financial side of making a building. A shift in thinking must take place. The reality of a small percentage increase at the early stages of making a building can have large payoffs within a short period time over the life of a typical building, both financially and environmentally. Most homes have minimum insulation, single glazed windows, and over sized and inefficient water heaters. Many commercial and public buildings face similar problems with inefficient heating and cooling systems and a lack of planning on window size and location, which could reduce the need for artificial lighting during the day.
Early consideration in design and integration can allow for the implementation of passive and active technologies in new and renovated buildings. Solar, wind, biomass, sea, water and geothermal energies are infinite and can be taken advantage of for the entire life of the building, significantly reducing the operational costs compared to those of typical buildings using traditional forms of energy. However, we are arriving to a time in which sustainable thinking is not an option, but rather a requirement. Many local and state codes are making it mandatory to use and implement passive and active features starting in the design process, through construction, building operation and even beyond the life of the building.