Green architecture is all about building with an eye toward the impact on the environment. It accomplishes its goal by conserving energy, using sustainable energy sources, and opting for building materials that are recycled and environmentally-friendly. Designing and building a green home is about conserving and reusing energy and resources. If you are thinking about building a home, green architectural elements and principles can be included in its design and construction. Here are some basic green architectural principles to consider when designing and building a home today: 

  • Design - Green homes are simple and can adequately house a family with a central design that has a small footprint and does not branch out excessively from the central core. Rooms that are built farther away from the center core use and waste heating and cooling resources. Green homes are designed with compact room size and lower ceiling heights and are oriented with south facing windows that allow interior rooms to have exposure to the sun in the winter and be shielded from the sun in the summer. Roof extensions and retractable awnings can be used to direct or avoid direct sunlight as necessary. Green homes are built into a hillside to use the shelter and strength of the surrounding earth for their basic structure. 
  • Building Materials - Green homes are constructed from sustainable products and resources. Woods from quick growing trees such as bamboo can be used for flooring, storage, shelving, and closets. Concrete that incorporates waste products from mining and other industries can be substituted for portland cement. Architects use automobile tires, discarded tin cans, and other refuse as central building blocks within the walls of green homes to insulate them and conserve energy. 
  • Water Conservation - Green homes are designed to conserve the water that they use each day. Drainage and water runoff from weather can be stored and filtered to reuse for the irrigation of a green roof, a vegetable and flower garden, the surrounding trees, grasses, and landscape. Conserving and reusing water makes it a sustainable resource.  
  • Green Roofs - Growing plants, grasses, and other vegetation can be used to construct a roof that will cool and shade a home in the summer and act as a heat insulator for a home in the winter. The water used to irrigate a growing green roof comes from the atmosphere and rainfall and is supplemented by an irrigation system that begins at the top of the roof and drains down through the plants and vegetation to the bottom of the roof where it is reclaimed and reused. This drainage system is similar to the drainage that occurs naturally on mountains. 

These basic green architectural principals can be expanded to build an ecological home that does not negatively impact the environment and surrounding landscape. Green architectural design helps to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and energy consumption and provides a healthier living environment. It is a step backward to simplicity and a step forward to sustainability. For more information, consider contacting a professional like those at R+D Architecture.

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