Green architecture is on the rise. With more and more people becoming environmentally conscious, architects are designing buildings that take green living to the next level. Many of these trends focus on sustainability, renewable energy sources, and livable spaces for all types of plants, animals, and humans.
There’s a wide range of incredible developments in this field. To find examples, look no further than one of the international green building expositions, such as Greenbuild 2021. At this premier event for the green building industry, attendees got up close and personal with some amazing examples of green architecture and sustainable design concepts and learned all about the latest trends in this area. Read on to learn more about these eye-catching green architecture trends.
1. Natural Air Filtration
The first trend focuses on improving indoor air quality by using plants as natural filters for pollutants within buildings. This concept has been around since NASA was studying ways to improve air circulation on space stations, but it seems that now architects are beginning to recognize their potential as well when designing green buildings.
Other air filtration systems include innovative air filtration panels that can be attached to exterior building facades. These trends are particularly of interest to some of the world’s most populated cities, such as Singapore, Tokyo, and Mexico City.
2. Improved Airflow
The next big trend to keep an eye on is natural ventilation. Architects are achieving this through the design of strategic openings, shading devices, and efficient airflow systems. It’s no surprise that this idea has been around for centuries. However, what was once considered a luxury item is now becoming increasingly common as architects recognize its potential impact on indoor air quality as well as energy efficiency.
In the past two years, improving airflow in buildings has also become a major focus of public health. With the increased risk of airborne viruses and other pollutants, more people are concerned about airflow than ever before.
To keep this trend “green,” architects are focusing on natural ways to improve airflow. For example, so-called “natural ventilation” introduces fresh and cool air without using air-conditioning or other types of mechanically driven devices. This is created by the differences in the distribution of air pressures around a building. Air moves from high-pressure areas to low-pressure areas, with gravity and wind pressure affecting the airflow.
3. Solar Panels
This third eye-catching design goes far beyond those rooftop glass boxes you normally see at international green building expositions. The concept here focuses on strategically placing solar panels across facades and roofs, giving them a unique look.
While solar panels are not new by any means, they are getting smaller and more flexible, allowing architects to use them thoughtfully in design. Thus, they are less utilitarian and more integrative overall. Innovations in this area include glass roof tiles, integrative solar roof tiles, and solar panel windowpanes. Some designers are even working on creating solar panels that can be painted right onto buildings.
4. Sustainable Communities
The fourth trend is a little bit more ambitious. This trend is focused on creating entire cities that are designed with the environment in mind, from their energy systems to transportation networks, as well as the building structures themselves. These concepts aim to create fully sustainable communities that will help those who live there reduce their carbon footprint. They will also focus on other aspects of life, such as housing, education, and health care.
While some of these ideas seem futuristic, some are very practical and immediately applicable. For example, changing climate and weather patterns are impacting urban design. Many cities are beginning to integrate resiliency and environmental impact into their plans.
5. Indoor “Agro”
Finally, we have an eye-catching design that marries indoor agriculture with architectural concepts. This includes using plants and natural elements throughout the interior spaces within a structure. This idea can take many forms, but one popular way architects and designers implement this concept is by adding vertical gardens and rooftop hydroponic gardens onto their buildings. These serve both functional and aesthetic purposes.
In fact, whether contact with vegetation is active, such as gardening, or passive, such as simply viewing vegetation through a window, research has shown a consistent pattern of positive effects. These include stress reduction, mood improvement, better focus and attention, and even reduced pain and faster recovery when studied in healthcare settings. With these benefits, this trend is sure to grow in interest and impact.
While these are interesting trends in green architecture, there are so many more out there. This exciting field of green architecture and design is growing in leaps and bounds each year as increasingly more architects focus on sustainable design concepts, livable spaces, renewable energy sources, and indoor air quality when designing the homes and workplaces of future generations.