Today, a guest post by the folks at Vector Foiltec. Vector Foiltec invented the use of Texlon (ETFE), and have developed the use of this innovative technology worldwide in the design and constructive industry. Some of the world’s most impressive offices, stadiums, and transport buildings have been developed by Vector-Foiltec.
Recent years have seen a surge in the number of designs and commissions of green buildings by designers and architects. All around the world, green, eco-buildings are becoming the benchmark of expectation. Not so long ago, a green building would standout because of how different it was. It would be something new, even quirky, and something unfamiliar that not everyone was comfortable with.
Those days have long gone, however, with a realisation that green building is the way forward, with environmental benefits as well as those attached to finances and quality of life improvements.
Eco-friendly buildings aren’t yet at the stage where we can celebrate them as the final frontier of construction, however. Yes, the new designs of buildings and the materials used certainly mean that an office block can be carbon neutral, but are they sustainable in other ways? The evolution of green building, now and in the future, will center firmly around the ability of designers and construction professionals to create buildings that are not only eco-friendly, but sustainable for use in terms of how they deal with extreme weather or other natural events, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, for example.
Meeting the challenge of ensuring that a building can ‘always work’ has been an obstacle for designers. Placement of windows, for example, and the materials used within construction means that issues such as insufficient daylight are no longer an issue.
But what about when there is a power cut, or problems with the water supply?
To reach that searched for ‘final frontier’ that we mentioned earlier, designers need to make a building that can stand independently of central supplies such as electricity and water. This creates new challenges around energy recovery and storage as well as on-site water recycling, but it is possible to achieve results.
When a building is at the level where ‘always working’ has been achieved, a hurricane or other severe weather will then be minimally disruptive to it.
‘Always working’ represents a model for a truly sustainable building.
How It’s Made
The materials used are often the central focus of eco-building and have been responsible for many of the positive results seen in recent years. However, there is still a focus on developing eco-friendly construction materials further, and using them to best effect within a building.
So strong is this focus that there are now homes being constructed from ‘cob,’ and other similar compounds around the world. The great thing about these? They are lightweight, resistant to fire and earthquakes, and also stand up to events such as flooding and powerful winds.
The very meaning and identity of ‘green building’ is changing fast. Architects and designers that combine environmental benefits with true sustainability over the coming years are sure to find themselves in high demand.
Thoughts, comments? Know of a ‘cob’ home that we should get pictures of? Post in the comments section below.
Photo (c) Vector Foiltec