Industrial architecture and ecobuilding

6 mayo 2019
28 mayo 2019

Industrial architecture is the design and construction of buildings serving industry. Such buildings rose in importance with the Industrial Revolution and were some of the pioneering structures of modern architecture. The term ‘Industrial Architecture’ itself is very broad since it encompasses a very wide range of buildings right from flatted factories to mills, breweries, distilleries, refineries, power plants to warehouses. Basically, industrial buildings are designed with a view to accommodate industrial processes and not surprisingly, architectural quality in artistic terms sees much lesser emphasis. However, just like architects try to understand a residential client’s personality, a thorough understanding of the industry, its product and production processes are absolutely critical. Given the complexities, understanding the functionality and processes is crucial before designing and requires an in-depth knowledge of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) services right from the planning stage. Globally, industrial buildings came in prominence with the industrial revolution and were some of the pioneering structures of modern architecture. Now we present some key elements of an eco-building.

Energy Efficiency: Any building with eco pretensions must be energy efficient. Often first thoughts turn to space heating. But an eco-building needs to address energy consumption wherever it occurs: hot water and electricity consumption (with LED lighting throughout the building for instance) is also important.

Materials: When it comes to creating an eco-building, the materials used are key — and this can be quite a complex area to unravel. The materials which go into building an eco-building may include one, some, or all of the below:

  • Sustainably sourced materials. Whether it is Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified timber, which seems to be stocked as standard in most builders’ and timber merchants, or recycled plastic products, a knowledge of where materials are sourced is often key.
  • Natural materials, such as straw bale, lime, or sheep’s wool and cellulose insulation.
  • Recyclable materials: For those seeking to build an eco-facility, reused and recycled are also important. Some builders have taken the idea of reducing material impacts to their extreme. At the end of the building’s life, everything can be taken apart and the salvaged materials reused.
  • Possess a low carbon footprint: The carbon dioxide produced in the manufacture and transportation of building material or materials can have a bearing on how green a building is.

What’s more, an eco-building could include some or all of the following:

  • High levels of insulation.
  • Good levels of daylight.
  • Good double or triple-glazed windows.
  • Passive solar orientation — glazing oriented south for light and heat. And, minimum north-facing glazing to reduce heat loss.
  • Thermal mass to absorb that solar heat.
  • Deep overhangs, air conditioning, and other features to manage to overheat.
  • A healthy indoor environment, which may include a mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) system in a highly airtight home.
  • Heating and/or hot water provision from a renewable source (such as solar, heat pump or biomass)
  • Specifying electricity from a ‘green’ supplier.
  • Natural materials and avoidance of plastics.
  • Rainwater harvesting and greywater collection.
  • Living off-mains.

It helps to treat this list as a menu rather than a shopping list, picking elements best suited to the project, the site, and the occupants.