Sustainable Site Design

Association of Construction and Development
November 8, 2012 — 1,178 views  

Sustainable Site Design

When designing a home or business these days, many people wish to make their new building as sustainable as possible. For engineers, architects and other building professionals, this means delving into a whole new world of building and engineering concepts. To make a home or building sustainable, the selection of the site and how the building is constructed can make all the difference in the world. As more and more people are demanding sustainable homes, what are the main elements that engineers and other professionals need to keep in mind when developing a site?

Passive Solar/Home Orientation

One of the key principles to sustainable design is making use of what a site has to offer. For example, the orientation of a home to allow for the best shading during the summer and the most direct sunlight into the building during the winter is a common sense way to create a structure that by its very design and placement, is meant to be more sustainable, taking advantage of natural sun movement patterns for added insulation and heat.

Local Material Usage

The resources that occur naturally around a given site are there for a reason. They “have what it takes” to survive and thrive within a given region. Relying as much as possible on local materials will help to create as more durable and longer-lasting home. The woods, for example, that grow in a particular region are well suited to handle the climate and weather patterns of that region and thus hold up better over time and a non-native wood might.

Smart Green Technologies

Too much technology in a home adds unnecessarily to the cost of the home. However, there are smart green technologies that dramatically improve the sustainability of a home. Ambient heating, energy monitoring systems and use of local energy sources is a great way to integrate technology in a way that actually adds to the utility of, and thus value of the building. Efficient placement of lighting, use of resource-saving materials and appliances will go all that much further towards the creation of a truly sustainable site.

These are not the only sustainable site design principles, of course, but they are amongst the most useful and popular methods of sustainable site creation. By following the steps above, the site chosen, building orientation, materials used and technology used inside the building should be as sustainable and efficient as could be possible for a given location. Site-specific building plans are a great way to create truly sustainable sites.

 

Association of Construction and Development