Resilient architecture or how we prepare buildings for climate change

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Climate-resilient architecture is a type of urban planning aimed at climate adaptation strategy. As the recent climate changes are more and more alert, both people and the spaces in which they live, work, and carry out their activities must be adapted to these challenges. Thus, the architecture of cities must be one that can combat any type of adverse events that could affect urban areas.

Architecture and urbanism must be prepared to prevent any adverse weather conditions, but also to make, as much as possible, the use of natural resources and the protection of the environment more efficient.
On a micro level, since a city cannot be built from scratch, but only adapted to a certain extent, new constructions can make a difference. Climate resilient design should be an integral part of the planning process in the context of the function, purpose, asset type and location of the project site, then conclude the appropriate design strategies. Climate change is about to become increasingly significant, with the consequences catching the unprepared and undermining the basic services they will make capital investments for and ignore some critical aspects of applying resilient design to any type of climate.

Here are some ways in which they can promote sustainability, as a vision that must be adopted by as many developers as possible in the future.

How we prepare buildings for climate change – Orienting buildings and neighbourhoods

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Building location and orientation are crucial principles of climate resilient design to mitigate overheating and accommodate rising temperatures. The performance of a building can be significantly affected by where it is located on a land plot. Moreover, trees, dedicated gardens and other buildings in the neighborhood can contribute to positive shading or blocking of the sunlight just when it is needed. Basically, the designers have to take into account the elements already existing on the land or reinvent an entire space so that its position optimizes the orientation of the building towards the sun. In this sense, the longest axis of the building should be oriented in an east-west direction, which maximizes light and allows greater heat gain, for better thermal comfort. Thus, spaces should be oriented to obtain maximum natural light with minimal or maximized heat gain, as well as artificial lighting efficiency, depending on the location of the building and the season.

How we prepare buildings for climate change – Natural ventilation

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Climate-resilient design must benefit from natural ventilation, which happens effectively when buildings are equipped with a ventilated facade. Along with the optimal orientation of the building on the ground, we also need to achieve an optimal positioning of the windows, with generous glazing. On the other hand, in a project that is in agreement with the climate to which it will be subjected, the direction of the wind must be taken into account. Thus, through the technology of the ventilated facade, we will have coolness inside in the warm season and the preservation of heat in the cold season. These are the results of the chimney effect, obtained by leaving an air space, several centimeters deep, between the perimeter wall of the building on which a layer of insulation has been applied, and its external face. When the density of the air inside the void changes, due to the heat generated by the outer shell, the air will be forced to move upwards and thus trigger a flow of natural ventilation. In addition, the ventilated facade will look the same in 30 years, without the value of the building decreasing (implicitly of the apartment, if it is part of a block).

Harmonized cost efficiency solutions at design level

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Here we are talking about a synergy between several characteristics of a building with sustainable architecture: the choice of generous glazing, the efficient partitioning of the interior spaces (high and deep rooms for the benefit of a healthy microclimate, in which light penetrates properly), thermal insulation through natural materials (basalt wool), ventilated facade, district hating plant (with much lower consumption and minimized risks compared to an apartment one) and smart technologies for regulation and control of consumption. All this together, contributes to a healthy living environment, but careful with nature, with the use of a minimum number of natural resources, but which is prepared for any weather conditions or extreme manifestations of nature. Moreover, through the chosen solutions, a much lower number of carbon emissions will be obtained (use of a reduced amount of electricity, minimal consumption of resources for thermal comfort depending on the season).

On the other hand, at the design level, to make material costs more efficient, but also to avoid waste, the chosen 3D modeling program will bring exactly the required quantities of materials to the site and nothing more. In addition, the use of resistant, sustainable materials, perhaps even recycled ones, will contribute to a longer life of designed buildings prepared to face any climate challenges.

All h4l buildings are carefully designed from the first design phase, with a focus on cost efficiency and the use of construction materials, something that transfers to everything that means living and enlivening life in these spaces. And outside them, in the immediate environment, the creation of dedicated spaces that encourage people to go outside, walk, exercise, and socialize, will feed a healthy vision of living in harmony with nature, which they value and accept in all its manifestations, without altering it in any way.