Improve Quality of Life With the Latest Building Design Trends

In the 1980s and 1990s, people were worried about lead paint fumes, fluorocarbons, asbestos and other toxic chemicals found in our homes and offices. This fear was so widespread that the news media dubbed it “Sick Building Syndrome.” As a result, much attention has been focused on sustainable, energy-efficient, health-promoting building design. Making the necessary adjustments to your home may be as simple as choosing compact fluorescent light bulbs and Energy Star appliances, or it may be as complex as trading in that dated carpet for recycled bamboo flooring.

Green interior design lighting is important because light sucks up electricity, generates heat and costs us money. A green lighting designer would tell you that compact fluorescent lamps are much more efficient than incandescent lamps, using 80% less energy. “CFLs last 10 times longer than incandescents and normally pay for themselves,” explains David Lee, a 23-year lighting designer with The Lighting Source.

Each bulb replaced with a CFL could save you $30 on utility costs, experts say. Of course, since these bulbs contain mercury, disposing of them is just as critical when it comes to green building design. Home Depot stores have orange bins to collect and recycle these bulbs. For those who wish for sunnier lighting color, halogen lights still offer 30-40% energy savings, compared to incandescents, although they are not as good as CFLs.

Many eco-friendly consumers are also looking for green interior design furniture and furnishings too. As you may know, indoor air quality can be affected by mold, moisture, organic compound emissions from paints, and formaldehyde emissions from cabinets and ventilation systems. Some building design materials collect contaminants and dirt as well. When shopping, you will want to avoid phenolic resin derived plastic laminate found on inexpensive furniture.

Make sure your wood products are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to ensure the harvesters followed sustainable building practices. Wool that has not been treated with moth-proofing chemicals is preferable to polyester. Beware of polyurethane foam padding that contains polybrominated diphenol ethers, which are flame retardants.

The latest building design trends will focus on improving the quality of life and our planet in an affordable way. “Sustainable development allows economic progress and environmental quality to be compatible goals,” said Christine Ervin, Department of Energy assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy. “Communities are finding that sustainable development strategies save taxpayer money, improve the profits of local businesses, and make the community much more livable.”

Green Building Design Must Guide Our Future Building Policies

Green building design will become a much sought-after specialty as the Western world is forced to address the affordability of its housing for the average home owner. As we concentrate on the rates of consumption and the sizes of our homes to address some of the many problems of climate change, we expect to find solutions that can both meet our expectations while reducing our impact on the environment.

Trend To Larger Homes

When countries experience financial booms, home sizes typically grow larger, demanding more and more energy to support the lifestyle. Thanks to the mineral resources boom, there has been a noticeable trend to larger size homes in Australia, which has been coupled with a trend to smaller sized families living in those homes.

We are developing patterns of living that are increasingly unaffordable and definitely unsustainable. In a paper entitled ‘Affordability through Modesty’ Dr. Linley Lutton clearly shows we are heading the wrong way. He looks at how we may start to undo the damage of wasteful patterns of development and increase density while making homes more affordable. The use of low energy or green building designs are a step forward in making homes future-proofed against the climate change problem.

Pressure For Continual Growth

One hot political issue worldwide is population growth.The fact that modern economies are based largely in continual population growth to maintain their economic growth is a major problem in itself. Given the destruction of natural habitats and depletion of the earth’s resources, if one looks at it logically, it is a self-defeating strategy.

It stands to reason that this approach will come to an end. Are we going to wait until we have destroyed the natural world beyond repair and thus create mass extinctions of human populations? Or are we going to look ahead and take intelligent steps to make this a truly sustainable world for life on earth by striking the right balance?

Dr. Lutton has shown in addressing climate change, what many specialists in the solar energy industry have known for a long time. Our large building companies have been simply responding to the increasing expectations of the populace and putting pressure on government planning agencies to allow them to do so. In the end nobody wins.

The Meaning Of Sustainability

In 1987 the World Commission on Environment and Development, a U.N. body entrusted to report the environment and the impact of buildings on the environment, first termed the concept of true ‘sustainability’. Although at that time the term ‘sustainability’ included ‘ecological’ and ‘ecologically sustainable development’, the accepted meaning of ‘sustainability’ has since been corrupted and watered-down.

In his talk ‘Project Homes Big House-Small House’, Dr. Lutton describes the issues in explicit terms and offers solutions as an urban designer and planner. His presentation looks at successful models of the past and how we have destroyed the whole notion of public interest through unbridled consumption.

Green Building Design Is More Than Solar Panels

If we are to have any chance of addressing climate change we must realize that it is not sufficient to place a number of solar panels on the roof or hook up to a nuclear reactor. True green building design goes much further than this. Over 50% of greenhouse gases in the modern economies are produced from our built environments and its associated infrastructure. We simply will not solve the potential catastrophic future resulting from climate change if we do to change our building culture. Over half of the built environment comprises housing and therefore, the way we live, the patterns of our housing development and our rates of consumption, will determine greatly our future existence on this planet.

We need to change the way our society thinks in relation to our housing.

As we adapt our built environment to live more economically, with less consumption of materials, we need to integrate green building design principles and utilize solar and low energy technologies to complete the picture.

In so doing we should, over time, reduce our dependence on carbon-polluting energy sources by over 50%. Reducing the peak load demand will enable a more economically viable transition to new clean energy sources.