80% of our life is spent inside buildings whether we sleep at home, learn at school, buy on shopping mall, exercise on gym or work inside an office. Due to that, buildings are deeply important for our health, safety, productivity and happiness. As work and education is going to happen more at home, we are going to spend more time at home. 1) Health and Wellbeing is one of the aspects we have to take into consideration in a building and is referring to indoor air quality (CO2, VOC, mould, dust and bacteria), thermal (temperature and humidity) and acoustic comfort, visual comfort (daylight and lightning) accessibility, user experience, biophilia and others. Billions of people are affected everyday by SBS – sick building syndrome.
From the economic point of view, housing is a person’s biggest investment and also the biggest monthly cost, 75% of the total costs come from usage and maintenance of the house. In the European Union buildings are responsible for 40% on 2) Energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions generating the 3) Pollution of soil, water and air, and also generating a lot of 3) Waste while we use it, but also before, losing more than 25% of the resources involved the process of building. All that could easily be improved by and effective 5) Management.
Green buildings should be good for people, planet and profit. While the Passive House Certification is tackling only the energy efficiency part of buildings taking into consideration only the annual heating and cooling demand, total use of energy and air-tightness, there are other certifications like BREAM, LEED, DGNB and LBC that are taking into consideration the triple bottom approach, having a better approach in evaluating buildings. For me, the most holistic approach on homes is using the CIP Diagram which concentrates on 3 pillars: Concept, Interactions, Product.
Choosing the right 6) Materials for our house is extremely important and using a life cycle assessment for every material and equipment in the house is the way to go. Efficiency, resilience and cost should be followed by responsible sourcing of materials, energy and carbon footprint as factors in deciding what to use. 7) Water consumption and leaks alert are useful to take into consideration both for health and environmental reasons. When planning to build or rent, the building’s 8) Land use including site selection, impact on biodiversity and traffic are also things we should consider. 9) Transportation is the 10th criterion we can use to analyse a building, but for that we have a special category where we discuss the mobility challenges of people, services and goods.
In the next decades we will see tremendous 10) Innovations that will impact the construction industry, how we design, how we build and how we live and interact with buildings. The most important ones are 3D printed buildings including structural parts, electronics, insulation and finishing, and AI – artificial intelligence integration in the processes from concept, to building, living and demolition.
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