The principles of sustainable architecture

One of the first fields of study of sustainable architecture, which can been defined as the discipline that is aimed at building trying to maintain the balance between the wellbeing of people and the health of surrounding nature, was that of renewable energy sources, alternative to oil, like solar energy. The first examples of green buildings, which appeared in Europe and in the States in the Eighties, highlighted the attempt of searching for new methods to produce and not to disperse energy. With the passing of time this trend and the studies in this field have been deepened, while environmental problems, which are well-known by us all but seem to be impossible to be solved, have become more serious. Terms like external wall insulation, dehumidification, natural light … have become part of the vocabulary of architecture and construction, and have begun to be used to describe new types of houses and buildings.


Sustainable architecture includes many sectors, from building materials to designing, from energy sources research to the insulation of buildings. As far as building materials is concerned, sustainable architecture is meant to use high performances, low environmental impact materials, which are not too expensive. This means avoiding to use materials that can be dangerous for our health, like chemical glues and paints, and replacing them with natural materials. Choosing materials for green buildings also means limiting the use of resources, perhaps using recycled or light materials, which can be more easily transported. As far as the designing stage is concerned, sustainable architecture is very focused on environmental impact, and tries not to change the habitat where the building will be built. First of all, architects need to consider the location of the building, which should be able to benefit from solar light and other atmospheric factors. Secondly, green buildings are meant to maintain the natural peculiarities of the place where they will rise, which also implies a focus on landscape projecting. As for energy sources, it is self-evident that green buildings are focused on energy saving. This results in a higher attention on alternative and renewable energy sources (in this sense solar and photovoltaic panels play an important role), but it also means using household appliances that consume less and studying some methods to avoid dispersing energy. In this sense, it is very useful to insulate buildings, using special walls, windows and doors that limit heat loss and the use of air conditioners and heating systems, which enormously contribute to air pollution.