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Sustainability

With the highly visible cop26 just past and countries passing new laws like the UK Building regulations changes in 2022 the issue of sustainability is becoming a more visible issue. With this comes the steady infiltration of buzzwords into businesses. With construction contributing a significant amount to the global energy consumption we think it’s important to talk about what these words are supposed to mean and how we use them as a company. 

What is sustainable architecture?

Sustainable architecture is the practice of designing buildings that have minimal negative effects on the environment. The idea is that we can meet our needs now without sacrificing the needs of future generations. No empirical way of measuring sustainability currently exists as the goalposts that define this type of design are continually moved by technologies and innovations that allow for the construction of buildings with greater efficiency and lower resources. In a way it is aspirational, an attempt by architects to improve the environment and reduce the embodied carbon of their works. 

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This is similar to a carbon footprint but only represents the C02 released into the atmosphere in the production of materials, transportation, construction of a building, and eventual demolition and recycling.

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A passive house is a building that has reached a standard that is exceedingly energy efficient while remaining comfortable. Passive refers to the structure harnessing passive influences such as wind and sun. 

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This is the same concept as carbon neutral but refers to all greenhouse gases and emissions. 

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Low energy buildings are a standard that is easier to achieve than a passive house but includes some of the features that high living standards and comfort with low energy consumption and carbon emissions.

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Applying Context

There is a current trend of trying to sell sustainability. Arkhi has had the foresight to have been attempting low energy buildings for the last six years. When we use the term low energy we tend to mean that a building has met an A or B on its energy performance certificate. These certificates are government documents that are publicly available on the gov.uk website. These designs vary but all have some elements of sustainability that help maintain the environment, from renewable energy and heating sources to high insulation low embodied carbon building materials.

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