Getting Back to Basics with Passive Design

By September 22, 20212021

It’s time we got back to the basics of sustainability and green buildings. But why do we need green buildings and what is the main goal?

The ultimate goal is, of course, to reduce emissions and by emissions we mean carbon emissions. When we talk about carbon emissions, we’re focusing specifically on carbon dioxide, or CO2 which is the most dominant greenhouse gas produced by the burning of fossil fuels and through industrial production.

According to the International Energy Agency carbon dioxide emissions are continuing to rise and are forecast to surge by almost 5% in 2021 (1). The impact these rising levels have on the environment is worrying. As one of the greenhouse gases that absorbs radiation preventing heat from escaping into the atmosphere the need to reduce the levels is critical. 

And with 39% of energy-related emissions attributed to the built environment (2), we cannot ignore the enormous impact this sector has on the climate. We can, and must, do our part to reduce carbon by implementing measurable design goals, and utilising emerging technologies in sustainability.

An environmentally-friendly, innovative and competitive construction industry can play a crucial role in contributing to a long-term climate and energy ambition through a number of different measures whether that is through sourcing new low carbon footprint material or conserving energy by using less fossil fuel produced energy.

Starting with the basics, passive design uses the fabric, form and the orientation of the building to reduce the consumption of energy for lighting and ventilation.  Passive design strategies are easy to adopt and, in reality, are the basics of architecture design. They take advantage of natural energy opportunities as they relate to the location of the building’s site, the local climate and the properties of building materials. Active design strategies then become part of the design process when mechanical and electrical systems are integrated into the building design.

Adopting passive design strategies and developing new designs will eventually lead to a low-carbon road map but designers and architects around the world need to start with basics and ensure they are incorporated into modern designs thus contributing to a greener society.

By Avinash Kumar, Associate Partner

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y Avinash Kumar, Associate Partner