Eco-friendly architecture: the importance of sustainable design
As we become increasingly aware of the importance of environmental issues, there is one area of our lives in which sustainability is now more crucial than ever. And that's the construction of the buildings in which we live.
Heavily reliant on natural resources such as stone, timber and metal, the construction industry has no choice but to sit up and take notice of sustainability. It's not enough anymore for sustainable building practices to be added on as an afterthought; instead they must be embedded into every aspect of the design process. The end user demands it – and so does the planet.
WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE DESIGN?
Sustainable design is the practice of creating buildings which make as little impact on the natural world as possible. It promotes the health of the building’s occupants at the same time as reducing the negative effects of the construction process on the environment.
This approach ties in with our values at FibreGuard. We produce soft, durable, sustainable fabrics that are built to last thanks to their ability to withstand the demands of family life. In addition, all the fabrics in our collections are OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 certified which means they meet stringent environmental standards relating to production, sustainability and ecology.
This planet-friendly approach is particularly pertinent to the construction industry because of its traditionally high consumption levels of both energy and materials.
“Buildings and construction account for more than 35% of global final energy use and nearly 40% of energy-related CO2 emissions.” – UN Environment's Global Status Report 2017
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SUSTAINABLE DESIGN?
So, why should the construction industry be adopting sustainable design practices? Here, we round up the main motivators.
1: Protecting the environment
Sustainable building practices reduce the negative effects of construction on the environment by protecting existing ecosystems and biodiversity, and by reducing CO2 emissions. Architects and builders need to take a 360 approach to environmental considerations throughout the design and construction process to order to best maximise these benefits.
Ways of achieving this include protecting existing habitats, planting trees around a new construction site, and opting to use sustainable materials to reduce a building's carbon footprint. Increasingly, architects are applying Passive House principles to their designs to achieve the most energy efficient results possible.
2: Reducing waste and energy use
Another benefit of sustainable design lies in limiting energy use and reducing waste. Examples of this include introducing solar energy sources, centralising water and heating distribution systems, and using renewable materials.
Such measures are founded in the knowledge that the natural resources we have at our disposal are finite. It's a future-focused approach which shows respect both for the planet and for ourselves.
3: Improving the health and wellbeing of a building's inhabitants
Adopting sustainable building practices can also improve the health and happiness of residents. It turns out that healthy buildings promote healthy lives. Occupants of eco-friendly buildings typically experience better overall health due to improved air and water quality. And the benefits of being around sustainable, natural materials such as FSC certified timber have been shown to increase feelings of wellbeing.
Where interiors are concerned, materials that connect us to the natural world are key in sustainable design. So it's worth thinking about natural textures such as grained wood, marble, jute and leather. Suitable fabric colours from our stain-resistant range include mossy greens, earthy browns and subtle pinks and terracottas. Gentle tones inspired by nature which will help to create tranquil, welcoming spaces.
SUSTAINABLE DESIGN AT FIBREGUARD
Our high quality fabrics represent the antithesis of a 'throw away' culture. Instead, they will last for many years to come because of their inherent quality and durability as well as their stain-resistant properties.
Added to that, all our fabrics are OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 certified which means they are kind to both the skin and the planet.