Sustainability, sustainable living design and greener building is an evolving culture today. Plus, a fact of life in the next generation. What is sustainability and greener living trends all about? Why should I care? What are the benefits of sustainable living design?
First of all, it’s a broad topic and we could write forever. However, as an introduction we’ve given a few quick answers. Answers, to these and many other questions regarding sustainability. Sustainable living design and green building is a vast evolving domain. It affects us all. Furthermore, it’s the gateway to the future society. And, to the very survival of our civilization. Plus, it is totally achievable. But, like anything, it takes commitment. Also, hard work and a shift in the thought process. For example, as illustrated in the adjacent photo on the right, of sustainable living design in Vietnam.
Sustainable Living Design | Society’s Future Gateway
Our webpage and all those nested within, is intended to provide an introduction to key concepts, elements and considerations essential for producing sustainability living design high-performance homes. Thus, enhancing sustainability in human environments overall. The page is not intended to replace any codes, national or international, nor any standards, and other recognized and accepted guidelines available to homeowners, designers and builders.
Consequently, everyone is encouraged to consult a wide variety of additional sustainability resources, which are readily available for further and in-depth guidance.
An Introduction To Sustainability
All home designers and home builders should also work with their clients, their specialty trades and their subcontractors to ascertain and execute the level of performance desired, not only in the sustainability factors of the home, but also the whole concept of sustainability living design overall in our built environments.
Transforming societies into full sustainability through sustainability living design is a social challenge that requires evolution and change to national and international law, urban planning and transport, as well as local and individual lifestyles change and adaptation. What is being done?
What can we do? The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has some guidelines and research results which you can view through this link to their Website.
The Concept Of Sustainable Living Design
Therefore, the concept of sustainability living design and green building, puts together a lot of practices, techniques and skills to reduce and ultimately eliminate the impacts of building on the environment and human health.
This can be fulfilled by using renewable resources, using green roofs full of plants, rain gardens and reduction of rain water runoff, photovoltaic equipment, etc.
These practices and technologies are constantly evolving within sustainability living design and can be different and vary widely by country or region.
However, the fundamental objective is the same in which this philosophy is derived:
- Waste and toxic reduction
- Energy efficiency
- Water efficiency
- Materials efficiency
- Indoor environmental quality enhancement
- Structure and design efficiency
- Maintenance optimization
Sustainable Living Design and Green Building
Sustainability living design and building or ‘Green Construction’, also known as ‘Green Building’, is a term used to describe a structure or process that is resource-efficient and environmentally responsible throughout a building’s life cycle regarding:
Consequently, sustainability living design and green building is so much more than recycling or driving a hybrid.
It’s about utilizing the resources we have today without limiting future generation’s abilities to experience a similar or better lifestyle.
The way we look at sustainability living design is to see it as a jump start in technology to increase something’s efficiency. Because of the fact that it is regarded as ‘green’ is a secondary benefit.
When designing and constructing a ‘green home’, the architects, designers, builders and developers have a broad choice for following an array of recognized and accepted programs, rating systems, and laws.
With this variety, these options can sometimes cause considerable confusion over an accurate definition of a green home and its related sustainability living design factors.
What Is Sustainable Living Design?
Is a ‘green home’, a home that is constructed solely from more naturalized or local materials?
Are sustainability and sustainability living design about a home that uses substantially less energy, or more efficient, renewable energy sources than the average home or the home of yesteryear?
Or, is sustainability more about net-zero energy or carbon neutral and low impact footprint on the planet?
Sustainable living design is about a home that recycles waste-water and collects and utilizes rainwater?
Perhaps, sustainability living design is about a home built with non-toxic, non-VOC, off-gassing and more ‘friendly’ materials?
Do you suppose it is all of the above?
In general terms sustainability is the endurance of systems and processes. The survival of humans and other organisms depends on healthy ecosystems and environments.
There are four basic and essential interconnected domains within sustainability living design:
The term sustainability living design is becoming more widely accepted and applied.
Nevertheless, in light of environmental degradation, climate change, over-consumption, and society’s pursuit of indefinite growth in a closed system, it questions the possibility of human societies achieving full sustainability.
Sustainable Living Design and Green Building Business Practice
Consequently, when it comes to sustainability living design, it is not sufficient to create a building, home or residential environment that is simply ‘green’.
Beyond Green™ for example, the tagline which was adopted by the SBIC (Sustainable Buildings Industry Council), helps convey the industry commitment to designing and building high-performance homes and buildings.
To go Beyond Green™, home designers and builders, should apply a deliberate integrated approach to home and building design, as well as a strong, defined and integrated team process to achieve true sustainability living design and thus full sustainability.
The design objectives, eight in all, and all of which are to a lesser or greater degree of vital importance to any project. The integral components of that process are outlined for consideration in the Urbane Residential Group design process.
A true green, sustainability living design home acknowledges the importance of all building elements, and utilizes them in design and construction, from air-tight, effectively insulated wall systems to choosing and installing high-quality windows and well beyond.
Green construction is all about finding the balance and harmony between home-building and the sustainable environment. Green buildings are designed with the main objective of reducing the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by:
- Using water, energy and other resources efficiently
- Improving employee productivity and protecting occupant health
- Reducing environmental degradation, pollution and reducing waste
- Locally made products reduce transportation fuel consumption
- Builder’s office supplied with green power
Benefits Of Sustainable Living Design Energy Efficient Home
The Department of Housing and Urban Development states that property value can increase by $20.00 for every $1.00 in cost savings.
This, combined with the unfortunate fact that nothing is getting cheaper in today’s economy, are major reasons why we offer our customers sustainability living design ‘green technology’ options in their Custom Homes, Renovations and Landscaping.
After the initial investment, sustainability living design building practices set out by organizations like Built Green, Green Up and CaGBC’s LEED can help to drastically reduce your overall cost of living.
But what some people do not know, is these same programs also help to promote better functionality and design, thus adding an additional level of benefit to choosing sustainability living design and building practices, such as:
- Lower fuel/energy and water costs
- Improved indoor air quality
- Increased comfort
- Lower maintenance costs
- Increased market and resale value
But, what are some other benefits of sustainability living design and building green?
The short answer – funding and financial assistance exists!
Funding options and related topics are available for viewing at this Link to the EPA Website, and there are many ‘Frequently Asked Questions and Answers’ available at this Link for your general information about sustainability.
The Role Of Rainwater Harvesting In Sustainability
What is rainwater harvesting?
The short answer is that it is the collection and storage of accumulations of free water that Mother Nature provides the earth. Rainwater for reuse on-site, rather than allowing it to simply aimlessly run off.
Its uses can include many.
- Water, which with proper treatment can also be utilized for domestic usage, both indoors and outdoors at our homes, businesses and factories.
- The harvested water can be used as drinking water, for laundry, showers and toilets, cooling, as well as being stored for a multitude of other indoor and outdoor purposes.
- Water for gardens, lawns and trees.
- Water for livestock.
- Water for irrigation.
Benefits of Rainwater Collection & Conservation Sustainability Practices
In many places the water collected is just redirected to a deep pit with percolation, but this is such a waste of a valuable renewable resource. The advantages and benefits of rainwater harvesting are many.
- Among them, it provides an independent free water supply. This can be particularly advantageous during times of regional water restrictions.
- In developed countries it is also frequently used to supplement the main water supply.
- Rainwater harvesting can often provide water when there is a drought.
- It can help mitigate flooding of low-lying areas and flood-plain areas that would ordinarily be otherwise plagued.
- It dramatically reduces demand on drilled wells. In addition, due to its collection and targeted usage, it still enables ground water levels to be sustained.
- It also helps with the availability of potable water, because rainwater is substantially salinity-free.
This link will give you more of an insight and an introduction to rainwater harvesting, its benefits and uses. Or, visit one of our favorite Suppliers, Barr Plastics, over in Abbotsford BC and speak to our colleague Dean Barrett.
The Role Of Vertical Gardens, Green Walls and Green Roofs in Sustainability
Nowadays living in a metropolis often means giving up or forfeiting nature, as the trade-off.As the cities grow, people get absorbed by the concrete, steel, glass and asphalt that make up the city.
Metropolis residents often want to be as close as they can to the center of the city. Therefore, living spaces become smaller as the number of inhabitants rise in a more confined space.
As a result land becomes a very expensive asset in terms of sustainability usage and living.
For a period of time ‘green spaces’ were being exploited because they were getting in the way. During that period, some cities, they stopped allocating areas for parks, gardens and trees in exchange for more dense development. The size of gardens in peoples homes also got reduced and trees got abusively cut down.
Now, most governments at all levels regulate the amount of parks, the minimum size for gardens and when you are allowed to chop down a tree.
However, in many areas regulators still don’t take a proactive enough approach, nor do they take strong enough or rigid enough actions in making the urban environment significantly better.
Among other ways, this is achieved through the preservation of green spaces, the building of parks, gardens and tree planting.
Contamination in huge metropolises often gets worse and people living in urban environments suffer from diseases that people living in small towns or at farms aren’t subjected to.
Benefits To Vertical Gardens, Green Walls, Green Roofs and Green Spaces in Sustainable Living Design
The American Heart Association publishes regular journals for air pollution and cardiovascular disease that can be viewed at this link. It is widely known and proven that air and other types of pollution are directly linked to heart attack, stroke and a wide variety of cancers, as you can learn more at this link.
Thus a increased need for ‘green spaces’ in heavily populated areas.
Due to the smaller and more confined spaces, vertical gardens and other such effective usages of smaller spaces have been making their way to the public as an ecologic tendency.
Great success and acceptance within architecture and sustainability living design have been achieved.
In addition, it is becoming known more widely about the benefits they bring and present to the overall impact on the built environment.
Sustainable Living Design in Gardening | Greener Living Trends
We’ve included just a few to inspire some thought:
- Reduces the urban heat island effect, smog and thus enhances sustainability
- Cleans outside air of pollutants and dust and offsets the carbon footprint of people and fuel emissions
- Cleans interior air space by removing VOC’s and other harmful toxins like benzene and formaldehyde
- Acts as a sound proofing barrier
- Soil and plants are a natural filter that can clean the water that flows through the wall
- Insulates and cools the building envelope, as well as protecting it from the elements
- Creates habitats for birds and beneficial insects, increasing biodiversity and sustainability enhancement
- Can be used for growing food in urban settings, creating sustainable and local control of food sources
- Increases real estate value and sustainability enhancement
- Increases foot traffic in retail spaces
- Speeds recovery time for patients through biophilia
- Helps children with ADHD focus better in school
- Reduces absenteeism in the workplace and boosts employee morale
- Qualifies for LEED certification points from USGBC
Vertical Garden and Green Wall Technology in Sustainability & Sustainable Living Design
Vertical gardens can be separated into three different basic categories regarding their technology and nature in sustainability living design:
Loose Media Sustainable Gardens
Are the vertical gardens that are made on shelf-like or bag-like systems. The soil used in these systems has to be changed at least once a year on exteriors and once every two year on interiors.
This type of system is not recommended for seismic areas. Repairs on these systems are messy and difficult. These systems are not suitable for areas with a lot of public interactions.
Additionally these systems should not be installed in areas 8 ft above the ground or higher, since they can be blown away by the wind and rain very easily.
Mat Media Sustainable Gardens
Tend to be core fiber or felt mats. These kinds of media are quite thin and cannot support vibrant root systems or mature plants for more than three to five years.
Reparation of these systems is done by cutting large parts of the mats and replacing them with new ones. This process often compromises and kills surrounding plants when repairing.
Thus, more ideally suited for the interior of buildings in a sustainability living design and are a great choice for low seismic activity areas.
Consequently, this system-type are particularly water inefficient most of the time, so they need constant irrigation and often require a water re-circulation system at an additional cost.
Structural Media Sustainable Gardens
Are not loose media or mats, but incorporate the best of both into a block that can be made into various sizes, shapes and thicknesses. These systems are much more durable since they can last up to 10 to 15 years and can be specifically made regarding the amount of water they could hold depending on the plant they will carry.
They are the best choice for high seismic activity areas and are resistant to winds and rain.
Depending on the installation, Structural media tend to be more expensive than the other two, but much lower cost to maintain.
Overall, the best choice in the sustainability living design environment.
Green Roof Technology In Sustainability
‘Green Roofs’ used for sustainability living design concepts are essentially roofs covered with vegetation.
Typically, they are planted over a waterproofing membrane.
They serve several purposes, such as providing insulation, absorbing water, and creating a more naturalized habitat, which in turn decreases the stress for the people living around them.
Modern green roofs utilized in sustainability living design, which are made up of a system of layers, deliberately placed over roofs to support growing medium and vegetation, are a relatively new in many areas of the world.
However, green roofs, or sod roofs in Northern Scandinavia have been around for quite a long time, centuries to be more precise.
The modern trend started when green roofs were developed in Germany in the 1960’s, and has since spread to many countries.
There are 2 primary types of green roofs:
- Extensive roofs- these roofs range in depth from 2 cm to 12.7 cm and require minimal maintenance.
- Intensive roofs- are thicker than extensive roofs; they can support a wider variety of plant since the minimum depth is of 12.8 cm, but are heavier and require more maintenance.
Some Benefits Of Green Roofs in Sustainability
Green roofs in a sustainability living design can extend the lifespan of a roof up to three times, covering waterproofing membrane with growing medium and vegetation.
This shields the membrane from ultra-violet radiation and physical damage.
- They increase the real estate value of a property and sustainability enhancement
- They reduce the energy consumption by improving the thermal performance of a roof.
- In certain regions the government creates incentives for people to install a green roof such as tax reduction, grants or rebates.
Leading Role URBREG Residential Plays in Sustainability & Sustainable Living Design
- The Urbane Residential Group is fully aware of the consequences building and urbanizing have in and on the environment and ecosystem.
This is the main reason Urbane Residential Group takes a leading role, is an industry leader and encourages their customers to ‘build green’ every time.
- It is also a primary reason why Urbane’s sustainability living design and construction practices are made with full awareness and in compliance of enhanced sustainability, green building and sustainable lifestyles.
OLE | Sustainability Technology
The original and unique Urbane ‘OLE Concept’ takes all the factors of sustainability living design into consideration and puts them into practice in day to day operations.
- OLE (Optimized Lifestyle Enhancement) includes many considerations, such as geothermal heating and cooling, rainwater harvesting, reduction of rainwater runoff, vertical gardens, rain gardens, green roofs, solar energy, wind energy, UV reflective technology, photo-voltaic equipment and recycling, just to mention a few.
What we can offer to you as the consumer is endless, and we are always looking for the latest and greatest in green technologies, building practices, and lifestyle enhancement.
The survival of our planet, our society and our civilization depends on it.
Change starts with you and me. It’s all about balance. The impact of human activity must made more eco-friendly overall. Human footprint on the planet, environment and our ecosystem must become less harsh and be more harmonized with the balance of nature.
The Challenges Of Sustainable Living
You’d likely agree, that is indeed a tall order! It won’t be a task without challenge, dispute, controversy and difficulty. Nevertheless, it is totally achievable through thoughtful sustainability living design practices, going forward.
In our view, it must start at each of our homes and spread outward from there. If we as homeowners begin with and implement good sustainability living design practices, it will put pressure on ‘big business’, factories and manufacturers to follow suit.
As illustrated in the sustainable living design concept rendering of this futuristic custom home on the left and the high-rise Condominium on the right, major change must come about. (More photos are being processed for the web and will be posted shortly)
However, the balance of human interaction with nature is a delicate one. As such it will have to forever be the focal point, if we are to achieve true success as a sustainable, green, eco-friendly society through sustainability living design. All of us must contribute in a growing way or disaster is inevitable and devastation will result, according to scientific studies.
Sustainable Living Custom Homes in Drake Landing at Okotoks Alberta
The Drake Landing Solar Community is located in Okotoks Alberta. It’s a proud, western, cowboy town with a magnificent view of the mountains and foothills encasing the Sheep River valley. Calculated, broad endeavors have been implemented to safeguard the natural scene and consolidate the Drake Landing sustainability pilot project community into this dazzling setting.
Solace for new home buyers is encapsulated in Drake Landing. The residential area feels joined with closeness to fairways and characteristic green spaces. It sets the scene. Vicinity proximity to neighborhood shops and administrations guarantee to simply discover what’s required, when you live in your new Urbane sustainability designed solar home in Okotoks.
Sustainable Living Solar Technology Usage
Drake Landing offers state-of-the-art solar technology homes with a wealth of green-space, fused by the town’s broad Provincial pathway framework. Sustainability designed and built homes, constructed by a top Calgary builder. There’s a gorge complete with a naturalized lake. An area frequented by untamed wildlife and inhabitants alike, punctuate this stunning sustainable environment. It’s a genuinely dynamic, family neighborhood and modernized fantasy world.
Facility and area highlights include:
- Recreational play areas
- Parks interlaced with neighborhood pathways
- Off-chain puppy park
- Hospitals and Medical Clinics
- Veterinary Clinics
- Educational Facilities
- Churches of various denominations
Sustainability Practices Begin At Home
For new home builders, the job starts well before the first nail is driven. Urbane Design & Construction participates in Okotoks and Calgary market research, to investigate whether the potential home communities offer sustainable amenities to future residents. Modern design and exacting engineering practices go into all we do and participate in. Have a look at this video to learn more.
As a top Calgary – Okotoks home builder, there’s knowledge that goes far beyond construction, within our Firm. Urbane not only designs sustainability, but executes precise, timely, supervised, building construction with skilled artisans and subcontractors. New precedents have been set in sustainability design, solar technology, rainwater harvesting, conservation, green walls, living roofs, sustainable gardens and green practices overall.
Our planet is dear to us and it should be to you too. Consequently, it’s all part of the reasons to hold tabs on Okotoks and Calgary zoning rules, building codes, bylaws and other legalities. A unified and synergized team of professionals and vendors enrich our residential sustainability work.
Sustainability Roles from the Professional World
From Architects and Constructing Designers, to Kitchen and Interior Designers, from Landscape Designers to Decorators and on through to the actual construction, supervision, finishing and inspection personnel, #TheUrbaneTeamOfExperts shines in the perpetual sunlight of Drake Landing in Okotoks.
The solar and sustainability technology and expertise we bring are state-of-the-art and top-of-the-line.
Urbane Design & Construction Group are top, modern, sustainable Alberta home builders. We’re accountable and dependable for precise timetables, with the highest and most exacting industry standards, in new, sustainability, solar home construction. This team is custom, luxury residence builders; possessing the expertise and experience to maintain and sustain clients of all types, tastes and financial comfort levels.
The Town of Okotoks is located 15 minutes south of Calgary and so are we. Visit our sustainability Show Home. Inquire about getting your new sustainable living home built in Phase 11 of Drake Landing, Okotoks Alberta – a world prototype in global preservation and sustainability practices. We’re in Nuevo and Puerto Vallarta Mexico too! Have a look at our real estate overview.
Learn More About – Sustainability, Sustainable Living Design and Greener Construction from a World Leader – Contact Us TODAY!
If you prefer to learn more about some aspects of sustainability living design in Spanish rather than English, you can also visit our ‘Sister Website’, Tan Vert Jardines Verticales, en Monterrey México. Better yet, contact us to order products and services or to get questions answered.