For the environment and for the general public of countries across the world, there’s a growing need to address the climate crisis. Public health issues, too, are a pressing need that may seem like a separate topic. However, integrating bioclimatic architecture can cause both public health and the environment to benefit in cost-effective ways.
COVID-19 has exposed a connection between environmental issues and public health concerns. A Harvard study linked higher COVID-19 death rates to areas with worse air pollution. In a location like the United Kingdom, where air pollution causes over 40,000 premature deaths per year, solutions are necessary.
Pollutants come from various sources, but buildings and construction projects are high contributors. Finding a way to reduce these negative impacts on the environment will benefit residents as well, since there will be less pollution that causes illnesses and premature deaths. The way forward is through bioclimatic architecture.
With this form of construction, experts focus on the construct’s design and space. Each construction must work with its given community and the environment to benefit everyone. To do so, builders and architects use renewable energy sources and energy-efficient products and methods. For instance, using solar energy alongside locally sourced materials reduces emissions by eliminating international imports. Solar power, as a renewable leader, speaks for itself.
When you look at dense populations or urban areas where diseases like the novel coronavirus can spread easily, reducing pollution and focusing on health becomes the main priority.
Functions of Bioclimatic Buildings
Bioclimatic architecture should serve the people and the planet. You want to live somewhere that provides you with peak comfort year-round, has a low carbon footprint and is visually appealing yet practical and functional — all while saving money.
Bioclimatic buildings cover those fields. They also perform functions by using natural resources on top of being environmentally friendly and cost-effective. A green roof, for example, can cut 75% of summer air conditioning costs. This reduction happens with an increased level of natural lighting and ventilation — keys for bioclimatic methods.
The Bioclimatic Community Mosque of Pamulang is currently seeing the benefits of a green roof. This mosque uses natural ventilation to cool the inside while the green roof reduces the heat island effect — which is especially useful in the warmer months. Plus, these eco-friendly practices are low maintenance, therefore decreasing costs.
Applying these ideas to the U.K. is now essential. In 2019, almost 56 million residents lived in urban locations in the U.K. Only 11 million people were living in more rural areas. Additionally, rural living is decreasing, while urban living is becoming more popular. Therefore, with more people in cities, bioclimatic buildings must become more of a norm, using Pamulang’s mosque as a leading example.
Elsewhere, France is ramping up plans for these kinds of beneficial buildings. The country has taken a step back after being hit hard with the pandemic. Now, it’s envisioning a post-COVID-19 society where buildings are key. Bioclimatic urban planning means maintaining biodiversity while also helping residents stay healthy. Their plan is to merge public health with environmental urbanization plans.
These two examples are critical examples of what the U.K. must do now. Once the pandemic passes, recovery efforts can create a better world for the people and climate. Though the country is making progress, it’s time to commit to bioclimatic architecture. The 40,000 premature deaths in the U.K. must decrease. With this reduction, the environment will improve — as will public health. The key is using the right materials and planning methods.
A New Normal
The right buildings can make a world of difference. Whether they’re places of residence, museums, religious institutions or schools, eco-friendly buildings can change the way people interact with their surroundings. Utilizing natural resources, renewable energy and environmentally conscious building methods will lead to a healthier climate and healthier populations across the globe.