3 essential elements to consider before starting any eco-friendly construction project
Before launching an eco-construction project, it is essential to understand that every decision made in the early stages can have a lasting impact on the environment, costs, and the well-being of future occupants. To ensure the success of your project, it is essential to incorporate environmental principles from the outset. These principles extend beyond the design phase and also encompass site selection, accessibility, and solar exposure. In this article, we explore these three key elements.
1. Sites to Avoid
When selecting a site for your construction project, you must consider the potential natural risks associated with its location. Areas prone to natural disasters, such as flood-prone areas, earthquake-prone regions, or hurricane-exposed areas, should be carefully avoided to minimize risks to both human safety and property preservation.
Avoiding Flood Zones
Flood-prone areas are particularly delicate due to their vulnerability to sudden floods and storms. Constructing in these areas can pose real risks to the safety of occupants and result in high costs for repairs and emergency measures. However, if you are compelled to choose a high-risk area, ensure that the building is designed and constructed to withstand these risks. This may involve elevating the building, using waterproof materials, or implementing drainage systems.
Managing Seismic and Climatic Risks
Regions exposed to seismic and climatic risks require meticulous planning. This planning involves constructing foundations capable of withstanding seismic shocks or strong winds and using weather-resistant materials. Local regulations may also provide specific guidelines for construction in these risk-prone areas. It is highly recommended to consult available government resources to assess natural risks in a specific area. For example, in France, the government offers the GeoRisques website, which provides precise information on natural and technological risks in a specific area. These government regulations may require stricter construction standards to ensure occupant safety and protection against natural disasters.
Avoid Building in Protected Natural Areas
While it may seem obvious, it is essential to preserve these critical protected natural areas for biodiversity. Just in the past decade, terrestrial ecosystems have absorbed about 30% of the carbon emissions generated by human activities. These areas host a variety of plant and animal species, and construction can disrupt these habitats, leading to ecosystem fragmentation and the endangerment of many species. Not to mention that natural spaces play a crucial role in climate regulation by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
3. Solar Exposure and Management: Master Solar Exposure for Eco-Friendly Constructionon Networks
When selecting a site for your eco-friendly construction project, accessibility is a factor to consider. This includes connecting the site to existing public transportation networks and proximity to essential services.
The Importance of Public Transportation Connectivity:
Connecting a site to existing public transportation networks is essential to encourage the use of mass transportation by users on-site. If efficient public transportation is available, it encourages residents and site employees to opt for mass transportation rather than individual vehicles. This reduces traffic congestion, decreases greenhouse gas emissions, and contributes to air quality preservation.
The Advantage of Proximity to Essential Services
Furthermore, proximity to essential services such as supermarkets, banks, hospitals, schools, or post offices is an aspect of accessibility to consider. Living or working near essential services reduces the distance people have to travel for their daily commutes. This reduces fuel consumption, carbon emissions, and time spent in transportation. Not to mention that having these services nearby simplifies the daily lives of residents or employees and improves their quality of life.
3.Solar Exposure and Management: Master Solar Exposure for Eco-Friendly Construction
This is a strategic approach to optimize the use of natural light and control heat input, which affects the sustainability and energy efficiency of a building.
Analysis of Daily and Seasonal Sun Path
Before designing a building, it's important to study the daily and seasonal path of the sun to control heat input. This analysis helps understand how the sun interacts with the site and the building throughout the day and year.
Understanding the sun's path allows you to determine the orientations of facades that require protection against excessive solar heat in the summer, using devices like awnings, solar shades, or green facades. On the other hand, this analysis identifies facades that can benefit from passive solar heating in the winter, optimizing the building's thermal management.
Solar exposure management doesn't only concern heat but also natural light. By optimizing the use of natural light, you reduce the reliance on artificial lighting. This not only saves energy but also enhances the quality of life for occupants by providing a more pleasant and productive living environment.
Lastly, sun analysis allows the design team to anticipate the optimal orientations for solar panel installation. This forecasting helps plan the solar energy production capacity, contributing to the building's energy autonomy and the use of renewable energy sources.
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These three elements illustrate the importance of planning your project in advance to ensure its success. However, they represent only a fraction of the necessary considerations for a successful environmentally friendly construction. Many other factors, such as orientation, microclimate, and architectural design, must also be taken into account.