The demand for sustainability is in our day and age an ever-growing one. This also goes for the architecture and construction industry: new buildings have to be sustainable and environmentally friendly in order to be approved by city councils and governments. But what exactly defines sustainable buildings? And how are they made? In this article, we will give you some inspiration, handy tips and useful examples of contemporary sustainable building. 

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What is a sustainable building? 

First of all, let’s look at the definition. What exactly is it that makes a building sustainable. This word has been used (and abused) all too often over the last decade or so to market buildings that needed to be sold to young urban professionals, hipsters and other environmentally aware city-dwellers with a guilty conscience. 

sustainable buildings

The core definition of sustainability

Sustainability is a marketing term to sell overprized condos might not be that impressive, although if you are going back to the true definition of the word and its intended use within the construction industry, the following definition, by the government of The Netherlands, comes close: “a way of building which aims at reducing (negative) health and environmental impacts caused by the construction process or by buildings or by the built-up environment.”

The increased importance of sustainable buildings

Throughout the last two decades, the demand and need for sustainable building has increased exponentially, as cities around the world also grew out of proportion, with problems ranging from smog, clogged traffic and birds dying in the thousands by flying into the glass skyscrapers. As we’ve built more, the construction industry has picked up more sustainable techniques, and governments around the world are seeing the need for more sustainable building and construction. 

The 6 principles of sustainable construction

Back in 1994 already, the international construction industry set up 6 principles of sustainable construction that have to be met in order for a construction project to be deemed sustainable. These six principles are: 

  • Minimize resource consumption (Conserve)
  • Maximize resource reuse (Reuse)
  • Use renewable or recyclable resources (Renew/Recycle)
  • Protect the natural environment (Protect Nature)
  • Create a healthy, non-toxic environment (Non-Toxics)
  • Pursue quality in creating the built environment (Quality)

A revolution in sustainable building techniques

Lately, sustainable and environmentally friendly construction has taken flight considerably as the need is high due to environmental issues. A good outcome of this though, is that new developments are being adopted faster than ever, ranging from sustainable building materials to buildings that are self-sufficient in their energy needs, all the way to creating more efficient ways of visualizing a design in order to get a quick overview. In that sense, you could say we are in the midst of a revolution in sustainable building techniques. 

Get your sustainable buildings approved quicker and more efficiently

Sustainability is not only a matter of building as environmentally-friendly as possible: it comes down to smoothening every process that’s a part of the construction. At Xuver, we created a platform that will help you, the 3D architect or designer to shorten the approval time for a project by showing it as a 3D walk-through model. 

Your model, created in SketchUp, ARCHICAD, Revit or IFC, is converted into an in-browser model that you and your clients can walk through, each with their very own avatar (a 3D figure). This is all done online, so you will save precious traveling time while – importantly – reducing your carbon footprint too. And that’s what it all comes down to, efficiency that leads to more sustainability and innovative designs. Let’s all do our part in creating a more sustainable built environment. 

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Ed