3 Key Factors in Designing Sustainable Buildings
- April 27, 2022
- Anthony Bowie
When creating new schools and workplaces of the future, designing sustainable buildings should be a top consideration for architects, designers, and building planners. Sustainable design emphasizes the needs of infrastructure, efficient energy consumption, durability, and air quality to ensure environmental sustainability and the health of those who use the space.
At MiEN Company, we are driven by sustainability, which is reflected in our products and design. We strive to be a valuable partner in creating sustainable buildings for the schools and businesses we furnish. While furniture is a big part of the sustainability of these workplaces and learning spaces, there are many other factors that play a major role in sustainable design.
One of the biggest factors in designing sustainable buildings is creating facilities that are energy efficient and that minimize energy consumption across all facets of the design process. It’s important for the building itself to have features that improve energy consumption, including natural light and efficient thermal control systems. These attributes minimize the need for additional electric lighting and help the space maintain a comfortable climate for those who use it.
Energy consumption is also a consideration when choosing furnishings for a space. Furnishings should be made with high-quality materials that consume less energy during manufacture and require less energy to be repurposed or recycled at their end-of-life.
The infrastructure, materials, and furnishings within a building all have a significant impact on the sustainability of a facility. The design of the building itself should be functional and timeless, allowing for future reuse of the space when its purpose and function changes. This includes materials and finishes, which should be selected with durability and longevity in mind to serve a wide range of functions over the life span of the building.
Durability is also important to consider when selecting furnishings, to ensure long-lasting furniture that is both a sustainable and economical investment. This is why it’s critical to choose surface and upholstery materials that can withstand not only repeated use, but also regular cleaning and disinfecting. Durable materials will ensure the most efficient life of furnishings, but all furnishings eventually reach their end-of-life. This is why reusability and recyclability are also a significant consideration, to ensure sustainability at furnishings’ end-of-life.
Failure to control indoor air risks can have huge costs in the form of increased health care needs, lost working days, and personal costs to individuals. This can be avoided by implementing factors of good air quality when designing sustainable buildings. These factors include: maximization of natural ventilation, efficient HVAC systems, and effective air filtration methods and systems.
Low-emitting products––including building materials and furniture selections––are also an important part of achieving good indoor air quality. Choosing products and finishes that are made with materials certified for low chemical emissions ensures minimal toxins being released into the building. Surface materials should be taken into consideration for their moisture retention properties and ability to resist mold growth, which also has a major role in the air quality of buildings.
Sustainable buildings are designed with many environmental, functional, and health considerations in mind. Decision-makers in these building projects should consider the impacts that all parts of the design process have on the environment and the people who will use the space.