Our planet is heating up. Greenhouse gases are reaching record levels. The Antarctic ice sheet is melting and with it, the flora and fauna are disappearing too. It will not be long until no humankind could be found on the face of the Earth.
Is there any hope? Can we reverse the damage that we have caused to our planet?
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that we can bring back the environment to its previous healthy stage. What we can do, however, is to reduce or maybe even stop the harm. But how?
There are multiple ways to minimise our bad impact on nature. One way, apart from green landscaping, is to start focusing on sustainable architectural designs and green building.
According to the UN Global Status Report 2017, buildings and construction sites are responsible for 36% of the global energy consumption. Moreover, they account for 39% of the energy-related CO2 emissions on the Earth, which makes it one of the largest sectors contributing to environmental harm.
But what exactly is sustainable architecture and how can it help us minimise the environmental damages?
Sustainable architecture focuses on reducing the buildings’ energy consumption by implementing alternative energy solutions and smart designs in the building process.
Additionally, architects not only focus on energy usage, but they also implement environmentally friendly building materials for their projects. In this way, the green buildings are capable of heating up or cooling down by using the natural resources of its surroundings without causing any environmental damage.
Malaysia, the Good Example for Sustainable Buildings
Luckily, there are places on the planet, where architects are taking the climate crisis seriously. One perfect example of such a place is Malaysia.
One of the biggest contributors to CO2 emissions regarding building designs in Malaysia is air conditioning. While in countries with cold climate, architects are trying to isolate the building in order to keep the heat inside, in Malaysia, they are trying to achieve exactly the opposite effect.
In a CNN interview, Dr. Tan Loke Mun, a Kuala Lumpur architect, shared that one way to reduce the building’s energy consumption with up to 50% is to place the ventilation system in the floor. Furthermore, he is also using a special glass material for his home which allows only the light in and repels the heat.
Another huge trend and area of extensive research in Malaysia are the green rooftops. In places similar to the Malaysian climate, green roofs help reduce energy consumption, noise pollution, and heat island effect.
On top of that, they enhance stormwater absorption. For example, some of the major buildings that have implemented this strategy are the Ministry of Finance, Heriot-Watt University in Putrajaya, and the Acappella Residences in Shah Alam.
Keep It Green
It is our responsibility to use our planet’s resources efficiently in order for the next generation to be able to survive. Therefore, we should take into account all the available knowledge about sustainability and best practices and apply them in our daily lives.