Inside, Wulf says small things can make a big difference when it comes to looking at passive solar gain and the reduction of resource use for heating and cooling. “Insulation is obviously crucial, but looking at incorporating areas that have a thermal mass to help heat and cool the home is important too. That may be a polished concrete floor or walls that are placed strategically in areas of the home where sun will hit them in winter, but in summer, where they will be shaded and instead of releasing heat accumulated during the day, they will help to cool the home.”
It is also important to consider the systems which are incorporated into the home, for example energy efficient lights and water efficient fittings and fixtures, not only reduce natural resource consumption but also reduce energy and water bills for the occupants.
Integrating systems such as rain water harvesting and solar power collection, if considered at an early stage of a design can be incorporated easily and assist in leading towards greater self-sufficiency for the occupants.
Considering aspects outside the home, to assist the occupants being able to reduce their impact on the environment through their day to day living is also important, this can be as simple as looking at spaces for recycling and compost, as well as vegetable gardens. This is important when taking a holistic approach, as it is not only creating appropriate spaces (which can often become an after-thought), but also encourages and provides the opportunity for people to live more sustainably.
Sustainability does not have to be a concept that incurs the client cost; rather, it is about clever design and a holistic view of the large picture – the client’s lifestyle, plans for the dwelling, material choice, and maximising the use of the site, sun and climate to reduce the home’s footprint.
If you’re interested in embracing a more holistically sustainable design, get in touch with Borrmeister Architects on ArchiPro here to discuss your ideas.