Am I a green architect?
his is a question I have recently been asked. The short answer is yes; however, I don’t brand myself as a ‘green’ architect. I think all architects should be ‘green’.
The number one ecological sustainable design (ESD) principle I use is passive solar gain. Where possible I place living areas to the north; not only for ecological reason but for one’s own comfort. Melbourne is freezing enough in winter; so we need to embarrass the sun as much as possible.
One must not forget about Melbourne’s heatwave either. As much as we want to allow the sun in during winter; we want to keep it out in summer.
My preference is to use manipulative devices (i.e. external blinds, shutters, etc.) to control the sun due to the extremes in Melbourne’s weather from one day to the next.
Fix devise – such as overhangs and pergolas – also work well. The great Australian classic veranda came out of the need for sun control. (Exploring the green principles of vernacular architecture can be a great resource; something that Modernism unfortunately turned its back on. I’ll leave further discussion on this to another post).
Deciduous planting is also extremely effectively and cost effective. You can always use the option of a native deciduous plants; which is a better ecological solution.
This is just the beginning of my thoughts on green architecture. I will leave my further thoughts to other posts – otherwise I will never finish this post. I just want to close saying one other thing. Just as we need to look after ourselves – we also need to look after our earth.