Sustainability and architecture

Sustainability and Architecture In Relation To Green Construction and Buildings. Green Architecture

Green architecture has resulted from pressures in the world on its natural resources and the environment. Pressures include emission of green house gases and extreme heat in buildings and degradation of our environment from pollution. Construction of buildings that conserve energy would prevent global warming.

Wines, J. (2016).Green architecture. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from

Wines(2016) explains that green architecture is an architectural philosophy advocating sustainable sources of energy, energy conservation, safety and re use of buildings and building materials as well as constructing buildings as we consider its impact on environment.

Ong, P., & Patraporn, V. (2006).The economic development potential of the green sector. Policy brief, 1-29.

            Ong and patraporn (2006) outlines various recommendations on how to establish a regional development economically and ensure creation of jobs that will grow green sector to form an important export base. The project aims at promoting green sector economic development to become a main international center for green goods and respective services.

Kaye, L. (2006). Attracting “Green Industry.” An economic development approach for the city of Los Angeles. The Ralph and Goldy lewis center for regional policy studies. UC Los Angeles, 1-70.

Kaye (2006) defines green sectors as similar to environmental goods and services industry and meaning the activities taken in production of goods and services that measure, limit, minimize, correct, and prevent damage of water and soil. Moreover, the process addresses waste problems, eco-systems, and noise.

Hermanowicz, S.W. (2006).Sustainable development: physical ad moral issues. Water resources center archives.University of California, 1-10.

Heranowicz (2006) postulates that sustainability is a great concern in economies, politics, and various regulations. It has raised concern in civic groups, businesses, individuals, and governments concerned with reducing emissions harmful to the environment, preserving ecosystem, providing efficient energy among other efforts to save the earth.

Hermanowicz, S.W. (2005). Sustainability in water resources management. Water resources archives, 1-10

Hermanowivz (2005) argues that engineered water supply is a factor to consider in sustainability and architecture. Treatment of water is a necessity among humans. It is characterized by purification of water through various technologies to balance water from various sources.

Lyubomirsky, S., Sheldon, K. M., & Schkade, D.(2005). Pursuing happiness: The architecture of sustainable change. University of California, 1-48.

Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade. (2005)  explains happiness as a goal that has to be reached and sustained by people. However, most people do not pursue the goal because of pessimistic approach caused by genetic determinism and hedonic adaptation. Happiness is gained by positive health mentally and adaptation criterion. Happiness benefits families, communities, and individuals.

Algonquin College of applied arts and technology. (2016). Green architecture. Algonquin College. Retrieved from

Algonquin College (2016) asserts that Green Architecture focuses on use of alternative technologies associated with eco-friendly (green) architecture.

Royal Architectural institute of Canada. (2016). Sustainable architecture. Retrieved from

            Royal Architectural institute of Canada. (2016) asserts that sustainable architecture is the creation of buildings that consume renewable resources from their design, operation and construction. Sustainability methods also involves manufacture of materials, their transportation and construction equipment involved. Architects should concentrate on designing buildings that improve performance of energy and construction of buildings that are super-insulated and consume less energy.


Green buildings are ways of reducing environmental degradation in the world. Degradation is in towns and cities . Growth of the population has led to spread of cities in each countries, increasing buildings. As  a result the environment is negatively affected. Buildings use approximately 40% of global energy and resources and 25% of global water while they only emit 33% GHG emissions (Wines, 2016). Green buildings are today constructed to reduce negative environmental impacts such as pollution, environmental degradation, wastes and loss of energy and water. Sustainable building materials are recycled blown-in fiber glass insulation, linoleum, trass, harvested wood, concrete, sheep wool, clay, rammed earth among others. Sustainable architecture involves use of second hand materials like recycled copper and reclaimed lumber. The process reduces use of new raw materials and reduces embodied energy. Recycled architecture materials are obtained from demolished buildings. These include windows, hardware, and doors.

Lower volatile organic compounds such as  volatile organic compounds, cellulose insulation and recycled denim. Green products have fewer VOCs and therefore better for the heath of people and environment. Green architecture are processes that are responsible for the environment and efficient on resources through out the lifecycle of a building (Wines, 2016). Building lifecycle involves design, construction, operation, maintenance stage, renovation process and demolition stage. Green buildings aim at balancing between sustainable environment and home building. The practice of green building architecture is concerned with the economic status, durability of the building, comfort, and utilization of natural resources. Green buildings reduce negative impact of the environment and health by making efficient use of water, energy and other resources. It protects health of occupants thus increasing their productivity and reduces pollution, waste, and degradation of the environment.

Environmental degradation

Environmental degradation involves destruction of habitats, ecosystem, and area sensitive animals. Fragmented environment occupies land meant for animals foods and other resources such as water. The wildlife becomes threatened and endangered and may end up becoming extinct. Aggressive plant life is a form of environmental degradation since it destroys the land through occupying the land and clearing the native flora (Skye, 2016).  Water and air pollution from corrosive substance obtained from buildings and toxic substances thrown in water kills animal and plant species.

Acid rain

Acid rain results from a mixture of sulfur dioxide and emissions from coal plant and their combination with air. The chemical reaction causes acid precipitation. Acid rain pollutes lakes and acidifies water sources leading to death of  plants and animals.

Soil erosion together with agricultural run off carries pesticides and fertilizers into the streams and lakes. The run off poisons the lakes ,rivers and other water sources (Skye, 2016).

Green sector project promises to support and make an environmentally friendly region through offering support to regional and local suppliers of green goods and services. It aims at strengthening equity in the economy through promotion of workforce programs, which will prepare the workforce and ensure equal sharing of neighbor hoods to assist in economic growth. Green sector project recommends that public agencies adopt policies and programs that promote economic development and establish infrastructure and incentives to ensure public and private investments and overcome barriers in financing of the green sector (Ong & Patraporn, 2006). Second, elimination of cumbersome rules in the city that hinder development of green sector and establish rules that encourage growth and expansion of green firms. Third, conduct training, monitoring and accountability measures in the green sector.

Kaye (2006) states that green industries established and operating in Los Angeles are approximately 300 and contribute to 0.8% of wages and salary establishments in the economy of LosAngeles. As a result, it takes a small proportion of the economy of the city. Kaye (2006) proposes that attachment to technology and service sectors will make it significant. Los Angeles has the potential to grow in provision of green goods and services and offer decent jobs that will raise the standards of living of the workers and residents in the city. Los Angeles has various advantages that it can concentrate on to attract growth of green economy. These include ambitious environmental goals, large and diverse economy, important strengths in green industry technology, and the need to achieve set goals through innovative technology. In addition, it has a growing consumer market to supply green services and products, a public sector that significantly requires green products and services, and unique intellectual assets in research institutions and local universities.

Sustainable environment has its vital systems maintained at healthy levels that are improving. In addition, its people are protected from disturbances in the environment. The country combines with other countries to solve common environmental problems and reduce environmental externalities. It establishes institutions, networks, and social skills that respond to challenges in the environment.

According to Hermanowicz (2006), Sustainability aims at meeting needs of present generation and avoids compromising future generation ability in meeting their personal needs.

Morality and ethics

Sustainability calls for people to modify their current activities in response to negative effects of future generations. Sustainability of water improves the quality and quantity of water from different sources and avoids transporting water from far distance locations. Treated water is safer for drinking, cooking, domestic works, and disposal of waste Hermanowivz (2005). Hydrologic cycle with linear chain in large circular paterns is used in purification of water.

Water reclamation and reuse

Reclamation of water is considered because clean water is unavailable and obtained water is of lowest quality. Sustainability of water considers its reuse through advanced treatment, multiple distribution systems, and usage of monitoring and control systems.

            According to Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, and Schkade (2005), happy people are likely to experience happier marriage life, lower divorces, and stronger support socially, more friends and increased social interactions. Happy people work well and give better results thus earning higher incomes. They have greater flow of energy and engage in more activities. Their minds and physical body is healthy, and are exercise greater self-control and become self-regulatory. Their immune system is boosted and livelonger lives.

Pessimism that affects happiness comes from set points that are genetically determined. People may be born with certain happiness levels that are long-term and not affected by externalities. Second, personality traits such as behavioral, cognitive, affective may affect situations in life and offset set point stability. Examples of traits are extraversion and neuroticism. Happiness is affected by guilt, worry, self-confidence, enthusiasm, social engagement, and rumination.

Third, Hedonic treadmill which explains that happiness gains are temporary since people adapt to changes quickly. Example happiness or sadness diminishes as people change and respond to changes in the surroundings. As a result, happiness is not sustainable.

Royal Architectural institute of Canada.(2016) asserts that  reducing pollution and emission of green house gases involves constructing buildings that consume more than 40 % of raw materials available and energy produced. Architects are therefore in a better position to remove environmental footprints of buildings and create a sustainable architecture.

Green building rating systems

Green building rating systems evaluate building designs that are friendly to the environment and quantify them to construction and related operations. Example is LEED Canada, Green Globes, and BREEAM. LEED Canada is a leadership and environmental design that makes use of point system to asses’ value in sustainable site planning, water efficiency and safeguarding practices, efficiency of energy and renewable energy, conservation of resources and materials, quality of indoor environment, design, and innovation.

Cascadian Green building council demands that buildings should not be constructed on areas sensitive to the environment, near water supplies. It requires that water supplies near buildings be collected, purified, and used on site. Energy consumption rates to get certification from local renewable energy water system. Architectures should conduct lifecycle assessment tests to evaluate the impact of a process or a product on the environment in its lifetime.

A software program ATHENA assists building professionals to measure the impact of various design options for new and renovated buildings construction projects. ATHENA estimator places the environment on equal foot with traditional design in conceptual stages of the project. It combines databases that are widely acclaimed and covering over 90 percent of envelope systems and structural ones that are typically used in commercial and residential buildings (Royal Architectural institute of Canada, 2016). It stimulates more than 1200 different combinations of assembly. It has the capability to model 95% of existing building stock in North America.

Life cycle cost analysis

The method assesses total cost of owning a facility by considering ownership costs, disposal, and acquiring costs.

Net Zero energy homes

These homes produce amounts of energy levels similar to those consumed by the building. In housing single families with efficient building envelope, wind, solar, geothermal energies are installed to produce energy. There may be connections to electrical power grid to replace expensive systems of storage battery (Royal Architectural institute of Canada, 2016). Net zero energy buildings have heating systems that accommodate in periods of maintain the systems.

Governments should increase their financial support to transport sector and developmental policies to support mass transit of people and goods. Architecture should focus on increased use of automobiles and alternative modes of transport other than expansion of highways. The government should provide incentives to recycle construction waste. Example offering tax credits for recycled material and penalize construction waste. In addition, architects are supposed to adjust construction designs and specification in recycling and reduction of construction waste. Architectures must address health issues caused by ongoing constructions such as asthma and obesity. They could design buildings with convenient and well-marked stairwells aimed at encouraging walking and climbing the stairs.

There should be available and accessible bicycle storage and shower rooms to promote alternative transport and commuter systems. Moreover, workplace buildings installed with shower rooms and change rooms provide a healthy workforce and promote physical activities (Architecture Institute of Canada, 2016).

Wines (2016) postulates that buildings constructed in the early 21st century consumed 16% of fresh water on earth and approximately 30% of energy supply. Raw materials used were almost 50% of raw materials obtained from the earth. Architecture of the time was responsible for 40-50 landfill deposits and 20-30 % emissions of green house gases. Green architecture wave originated from Native American lifestyles and their minimal effects on land. Lewis Mumford, a social philosopher proposed an environmental policy in 1973 to solve energy crisis by transforming to solar energy through plants. In addition, he proposed that plants could produce enough food and labor in ways that would reduce waste and lower demands of power from high use of technology. Proposed green architecture rules include cluster development, which involves concentration of people in one area and their living creatures, and leave much land in its natural environment to flourish.

Energy and environmental design (LEED) standards established by U.S. Green Building Council gives measurable criteria in designing and constructing buildings that are responsible of that environment. Their qualifications include Development of a sustainable site and reusing existing buildings as well as preservation of surrounding environment. In addition, incorporation of shelters, roofed gardens and all time planting and encouragement of round buildings is important in sustainable architecture.

Second, conservation of water through cleaning, recycling gray, installation of water catchment buildings for rainwater and monitoring water supplies. Third, increasing energy efficiency through constructing buildings not affected by change in seasons, and the position of the sun. Fourth, using diversified and regional sources of energy including wind, water, biomass, geothermal, and solar energy.

In addition, use of recycled and renewable materials and ones requires lowest energy to produce. They are sourced from local surroundings and are chemical free. Their ingredients do not pollute the environment are recyclable and durable. Fifth, ensuring quality indoors such as installing ventilations, controlling temperature, and using materials that do not release harmful gases to the environment. Green architecture involves use of earth beams, straw bales, sod roofs, evaporative cooling, power, and photovoltaic panels.

Principles of building green

Building green involves use of alternative sources of energy such as building homes and having communities supply their power through solar and wind power. In addition, use of solar collectors and photovoltaic panels depending on their quality, availability, price, warranty support method of delivery and technology. Second, conservation of energy through constructing weather sensitive buildings to protect against cool or warm air. Chemical companies establish materials that are dependable, resist moisture and having insulating materials that prevent humidity problems indoors. Laminated glass was used in place of stone, wood, or masonry. Regions experiencing extreme heat constructed buildings from mud-brick and straw bale.

Re-using materials such as recycled building materials from demolition sites and considering careful way of sitting through underground architecture is ideal for domestic living. They can be constructed 1.5 meters below the surface since constant temperatures are at 11 degrees centigrade. Hence, the earth is a good source of controlling climate. The government complies with LEED standards by recycling households, constructing small buildings that are more efficient and encouraging grid energy supplies.

Various points have to be considered as people construct green infrastrures. These include topography, cultural history, indigenous vegetation, territorial idiosyncrasy among others. Green architecture has responsibilities of ensuring that it has met psychological and physical needs of the inhabitants. These are sense of touch, smell, sight, hear, and space. Green architecture has facilitated constructions in cities, transfer of responsibilities to engineers and increase of psychological and social commitments (Wines, 2016).

Goal for economic development

Net importer of Green services and goods Main Goal Net exporter of green services and goods.

Source: Ong, P., & Patraporn, V. (2006).The economic development potential of the green    sector. Policy brief, 1-29.


Hermanowicz, S.W. (2005). Sustainability in water resources management. Water resources          archives, 1-10

Hermanowicz, S.W. (2006).Sustainable development: physical ad moral issues. Water resources    center archives. University of California, 1-10.

Kaye, L. (2006). Attracting “Green Industry.” An economic development approach for the city    of Los Angeles. The Ralph and Goldy lewis center for regional policy studies. UC Los        Angeles, 1-70.

Ong, P., & Patraporn, V. (2006).The economic development potential of the green sector. Policy brief, 1-29.

Skye, J.(2016). Causes of environmental degradation. Home and garden. Retrieved from   

Wines, J. (2016).Green architecture. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from   

Royal Architectural institute of Canada. (2016). Sustainable architecture. Retrieved from   

Algonquin College of applied arts and technology. (2016). Green architecture. Algonquin College. Retrieved from

Lyubomirsky, S., Sheldon, K. M., & Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing happiness: The architecture     of sustainable change. University of California, 1-48.

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