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What is Sustainable Architecture?

Sustainable architecture is a general term that describes environmentally-conscious design techniques in the field of architecture. Sustainable architecture is framed by the larger discussion of sustainability and the pressing economic and political issues of our world. In the broad context, sustainable architecture seeks to minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings by enhancing efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy, and development space. Most simply, the idea of sustainability, or ecological design, is to ensure that our actions and decisions today do not inhibit the opportunities of future generations.This term can be used to describe an energy and ecologically conscious approach to the design of the built environment

Sustainable energy

Energy efficiency over the entire life cycle of a building is the single most important goal of sustainable architecture. Architects use many different techniques to reduce the energy needs of buildings and increase their ability to capture or generate their own energy.

Social sustainability in architecture

The building structure must also be considered. Cost/effectiveness is an important issue in sustainable architecture projects, and one of the most efficient designs herein is the Public housing approach. This approach lets everyone have their own sleeping/recreation space, yet incorporate communal spaces eg. mess halls, Latrines, public showers, ...

Sustainable design can help to create a sustainable way of living within a community. While the existing social constructs can be seen to influence architecture, the opposite can also be true. An overtly socially sustainable building, if successful, can help people to see the benefit of living sustainably; this can be seen in many of Rural Studio's buildings in and around Hale County, Alabama, and in the design of ALA Himmelwright's "model fireproof farmhouse," located at Rock Lodge Club in Stockholm, New Jersey. The same can be said for environmentally sustainable design, in that architecture can lead the way for the greater community.

Art can be a powerfully positive social force. It can help to reduce stress in many situations, lowering the risk of stress-related health problems, both physical and mental. Art can also be a way of individual expression, which can add to the community as a whole. Hundertwasser's buildings in Austria are an inspiring example of art giving back to the community.

In addition, to decrease costs of operation (heating, cooling, ...) techniques as Earth sheltering, Trombe walls, ... are often incorporated.

Source: Wikipedia