Architectural Sustainability- A Vital Ingredient for Buildings
Hardly any architect today design without sustainability in mind. Sustainability is on practically every conference agenda related to design, planning, construction and real estate development. But what does it mean to create sustainable architecture?
Dictionaries cite the adjective “sustainable” and the noun “sustainability” only after offering several definitions of the verb “sustain”: to support, to keep up, to keep going,to provide for by furnishing means or funds. Does this mean that a sustainable building is one with a skeleton that will prevent it from falling down, a building with technical systems that keep it functioning well year after year, or a building with revenue and expenses that continue to meet its owner’s funding and investment objectives?
As an architectural student and an aspiring architect, I know quite well that the sustainability ideal lies elsewhere.
It is about conserving energy and material resources, safeguarding the health of occupants, and protecting and
enhancing the natural environment. Sustainability in architecture means minimizing not only the waste and
pollution generated by buildings, but also that attributable to their construction.
At the sight of any building with an outstanding aesthetic value, is not its general appearance that interests me,
but how sustainable it is. What impact does it have on the environment? Does it employ an architectural design that is in harmony with its surrounding? Is it adequately sustainable? Kenya is slowly joining the league of
countries employing environmental sustainable architecture in real estate development today. The move is largely
informed by the dwindling natural resources such as fossil fuels and water resources that were once thought
were inexhaustible. Kenyan architects have posed a remarkable upward trend in innovative ideas of putting
up structures with great sustainability techniques. This is fueled by the present competition now that it’s evident
Kenya is endowed with many ambitious architects.
Architects are not alone. Sponsors of cultural, commercial and government projects increasingly seek silver, gold
or platinum ratings by well established energy and environmental design organizations for the structures they
erect. Such ratings are calculated by adding up points earned for favorable site and building design. Those characteristics include brown-field redevelopment; access to existing transit and utilities; use of locally available or minimally transported materials as well as recycled or naturally replenishable materials; avoidance of materials that emit noxious gases or particles; use of solar energy, daylight and natural ventilation; recapture of waste heat; capture of rainwater and recycling of wastewater; efficiency of building form; tightness and insulating efficacy of building skin; and ecologically sensitive landscaping. Increasing numbers of architects have studied and taken courses that major on sustainable architectural designs that read more on the architect magazine