What Does it Mean?
When I think about sustainability and promoting a sustainable built environment, below is a list that I would like to emphasize on:
- Sustainable materials and procedures during construction
Timber is the material with the lowest environmental impact on its production and life cycle, and has to be certified so that we can be sure about its sustainable production and origin. Other original techniques include manufacturing concrete with recycled tire rubber; using the mud from sewage plants for making bricks, or wood and cork remains (pruning, sawmills, sanding dust, etc.), and especially vegetal fibers (bamboo, coconut, etc.) that, once mixed with cement, also work as insulators.
- Energy efficiency during usage & Renewable energy
Add natural-light-enhancing features to commercial structures, decreasing energy waste from incandescent bulbs. Adding skylights can improve a building's access to natural lighting. Installing south-facing windows also enhances indoor illumination without producing glare.
Installing solar windows that contain transparent solar cells will sunlight into emission-free energy while providing natural lighting.
Smart lighting and HVAC systems that use the Internet of Things technology is very effective in saving unintentional energy waste.
- Water protection and conservation
Use commercial rainwater collection systems with either the Surface Runoff Rainwater Harvesting Method or the Roof Top Rainwater Harvesting Method. The act as an excellent source of water for landscape irrigation without filtration
What Inspirational Examples Can We Learn From?
Vancouver Convention Centre West (Vancouver, Canada) is the first building of its kind to get a double LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum designation. Four hives of European honey bees have been installed to pollinate the roof's plants and grasses, which in turn help reduce heat build-up in summer and retain it in winter. On top of that, the roof's sloping shape also assists with water drainage and the distribution of seeds. In addition, some of the project is built over the water on piles (columns) that help support a marine ecosystem that includes native crabs, salmon and shellfish.
Robinson Tower in Singapore meets the stringent standards set by Singapore's Landscape Replacement Policy, which require that new projects include public green spaces equal to any greenery removed to construct the building. It is also LEED Platinum certified. Loaded with podiums and tracks for trees and other plants, its design also maximizes the amount of available natural light coming in, which reduces artificial lighting costs. The public can visit an enclosed garden on the roof and an open-air garden on the top of the retail spaces in the building.