News / Sustainble Architecture_ Advantagies and Opportunities for Enterprises in the Mediterranean Context

The concept of Sustainable Architecture is of not of easy understanding in a context wherein, for various reasons, these arguments seem to be almost “exotic”, far from reality and not of immediate relevance, and are commonly addressed in arbitrary, superficial and even misleading way.

An entrepreneur who intends to develop a site, for hospitality, touristic or directional purposes, or a private who wants to build a home, are often frightened be the word “sustainability”, as they, wrongly, believe that a sustainable approach involves an increase of expenses not providing any immediate or tangible benefit. 

This opinion is principally due to the fact that, in context like South Italy, the concept of sustainability in architecture is mainly linked to an implementation of thermal insulation and air conditioning systems, both interventions sensibly increasing building costs without improving internal comfort.  

It is necessary to dispel this myth. Sustainable architecture is not over-insulating the building envelope, or using complex and expansive conditioning systems (solutions designed for context colder than the Mediterranean one). Moreover Sustainable Architecture is not the use, sometimes even grotesque, of green elements (such as plants or tree) for the decoration of buildings, this practice, known as green-wash, could even worsen the overall building performances and energy demand.

Rather than that, Sustainable Architecture, synthetizing, aims to take full advantage of “free and available” energy sources (solar passive heating, daylighting, natural ventilation) provided by the surrounding environment allowing for the best comfort conditions with the lowest energy consumptions.

Sustainable Architecture can be described as an approach or a process more than a single intuitive gesture.

The following are the parameters which are generally considered:

  1. Analysis of client program and building use, this can provide useful information about possible internal gains and specific design needs. In this sense the study of efficient building precedent, with the same use, can be helpful.
  2. Analysis of local vernacular architecture, in the past people did not have the mean to artificially control internal environmental conditions, in this sense vernacular architecture can provide useful indication for passive design strategies.
  3. Analysis of weather conditions, in order to take the best advantage of their beneficial aspects avoiding those that can be negative.
  4. Analysis of building materials and systems, in order to identify the most suitable for the specific use and location.

Sustainable Architecture is thereby a complex topic, wherein various skills and professionals work together in order to achieve the best result.

Technologies, means and knowledge to achieve those result are today available, at reasonable costs and with convenient payback time, why not take advantage of them? 

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