What do we mean by ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ building? Perhaps, the proper term is bioconstruction, or at least is what Spanish architects used to refer to a structure of any kind, which is efficient with the resources it uses, healthy and productive for its occupants, maximizes the return on investment in its life cycle and, through its efficiency, produced a light footprint on the planet.
Conventional buildings consume 40% of our energy, contributing 30% of waste that goes to our landfills, consuming also 30% of our raw materials and 25% of our water. So it seems rather sensible to try that architectonic trends point in that direction.
Any construction can be sustainable. The essential is to think and design the project as green or sustainable from the beginning as proposed by Green Builders Council, an organism that, as the Green Building Council or the Spanish Association of Bioconstruction, advocates for the type of architecture.
Not only specific buildings, but neighborhoods and even etire cities have been created based on sustainability. It’s the case of Symbio City, a group of houses south of Stockholm, Sweden, first example of urbanization understand as a whole. It’s not intended as something flashy but comfortable and harmonious. In it few years of existence, it has reduced by 50% their environmental impact through the use of natural energy sources with solar panels, windmills and rain water. In addition, organic waste is treated to produce biosolids and 80% of journeys are made by foot, bike or public transport.
The Swedish system has been implanted in many places around the world, as in several cities in China, Canada, Ireland, Russia, South Africa, India, United Kingdom or France.