A Sustainable Home For The FuturePublished on 11th July 2019
We’ve talked before about the role the greenhouse might play in avoiding a potential future food crisis. A popular theory is that city roofscapes will be transformed by the addition of beautiful and functional gardens and greenhouses on the tops of flats, office blocks and shopping centres.
With that in mind, we thought that we’d take a look at some of the other ways our buildings might change to accommodate a future with fewer resources, less space and more people.
The Passivhaus was developed in Germany to minimise the ‘Heating Demand’ of homes. It is probably the best known and most widely accepted future design concept at present, but what else can we expect from future architecture? Some designers think that we need to look to the past to shape our future.
Well-known publisher, Felix Dennis, for example, commissioned architects Glenn Howells to produce a wattle and daub house. This, complete with turf roof is his vision of the ultimate eco-home. The building is to be carbon-neutral and employ rainwater harvesting and renewable energy systems.
It will bear the hallmarks of a dwelling from ancient Britain and yet perform in a way that, to quote Dennis’ agent James Way, ‘will tread lightly on the planet’.
Another concept being explored is that of the ‘Teletubby’ or ‘Hobbit’ house. The idea being that the earth around the buildings would provide insulation enough to reduce the need for heating. Carbon-neutral materials would also be used in the construction. The theory is interesting, but it does little to tackle the problem of land shortage. After all, we only have so much Earth to dig under. It seems that that problem can only be combated by building up.
The technology behind our skyscrapers is notoriously environmentally unfriendly.
So how do we combat this? One way might be through glazing.
While more windows and glazed buildings, are an obvious step for reducing our reliance on artificial lighting, the Building Research Establishment’s ‘Smart Home’ goes one step further. Orange, which is the optimal colour for tracking ultraviolet light, glass is employed in their conservatory. Although perfectly transparent, the glass is embedded with tiny wires which harvest that UV light for use in a solar energy system. This seems extremely promising for the future of our glass and aluminium designs…and the planet!
We can’t really know what the future will hold; ideas will come and go, thrive or demise. Yet one thing is clear; as human beings we’re in the process of trying to clean up our act and working for a cleaner, brighter, more sustainable future.Return to Blog