U7_sustainability in architecture

basic concepts

4 operational principles

  • Human impact in natural systems mustn’t exceed natures capacity to process it.
  • renewable sources must be used without tresspasing their regeneration rte
  • non renewable sources should be conpensated by the renewable ones.
  • emissions mustn’t exeed the nature’s capacity to absorbe it.

3 pillars

Having the environment into account is not eniugh in order to build sustainable architecture, these 3 pillars MUST be taken into account.



circular economy: implies a model based on the reuse, repair, remanufacturing and recycling all the materials of the production, in which there is no waste at all. As, the economy es circular and not linear.

green economy: reduces environmental risks and it is cost-efficient.

if a society doesn’t allow a economic balance, it is not sustainable.



Reduce: scarce materials and non renewable sources

Reuse: remodel, rehabilitate

Recycle: transform materials to allow another use.

ecological footprint

studies the territory needed to produce the resources needed to make a certain product and consumed by activities and needs.

life cycle assesment

studies the environmental impact of a product through it whole life cycle (production to discartment). Studies:

  • extraction of materials
  • manufacturing
  • packaging, transportation, distribution
  • use stage
  • enf-of-life

other concepts

  • green: refered to everithing realted to the enrinment
  • eco/eco-friendly: pro-environmental, that doesn’t harm the environment
  • bio-: non having been artficially produced.
  • km0: products linked to a specific territory (low transport emissions)
  • permaculture: permanent agriculture, mamteinance of agricultural productive ecosystems.
  • low tech: use of simple inexpensive technologies
  • passive: maximises the use of natural resources.
  • nZEB: high energy efficency and comfort
  • passive house: stardar for nZEBs

healthy buildings

conection between human bio.ogy and environment. buildings must allow basic needs as air quality, water quality, natural light…

sick building syndrome is a conbination of sympthoms (skin reactions, red eyes, irritability…) associated with a building that can produce chronic illnesses to its inhabitants.

aspects such as the followung have an effecte on human cognitive functions and health:

  • proportion of spaces
  • chromatic atmospheres
  • textures
  • exterior views

climate-human being

our energy and health depend on our environment. Atmospheric conditions stimulate or depress our working capacities. the main elemets that influence us are:

  • temperature of the air
  • radiation
  • movement of the air
  • humidity
  • type of activity
  • types of clothes

environmental conditions that affect the building:

  • temperature
  • sunshine
  • winds
  • rainfalls
  • snow
  • relative humidity, vapour pressure

sustainable design

  • loss of technical skills snd know-how due to industrial development
  • Sustainable development goals (buildings must meet them in order to be sustainable)


  • minimize negative impacts of the building.


  • attention to insulation and thermal inertia
  • passive installations
  • water saving and recovery
  • healthy materials
  • acoustic and sunlight control
  • natural lighting and ventilation
  • open spaces.


  • study of the climatic conditinos of the site
  • project directed to achieve sustainability and bio-architecture objectives.

constructive solutions

microclimate control shuld be achieved by passive methods like:

  • hindering direct solar irradiation through windows
  • adequate orientation of the building
  • type of building favoring natural cross-ventilation
  • use of clear finishes to promote maximum reflection
  • thermal inertia of the building.


the use of natural materials has demonstrated over time that is has a greater performance than sythetic ones