Title: Environmentally Sustainable Design Essay Example

Title: Environmentally Sustainable Design

The efficacy of double glazing

About 44% of energy consumed within the EU is used in buildings, tertiary or domestic buildings (Kibert, 2016). Making existing and new building as energy efficient as possible is important in making a significant contribution in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions whereas preserving energy resources that are valuable. Some buildings being occupied were put up when energy efficiency was not a challenge hence huge amount of energy is used for cooling, heating and lighting. Buildings that are being constructed need to emphasize on the need for carbon dioxide emission reductions. There is sufficient technology as well as know-how to be applied in reducing energy consumption in buildings (Chuck & Kim, 2011). Making use of advanced glazing solutions is able to reduce the need for cooling and heating in buildings; consequently leading to reductions in energy consumption as well as associated carbon dioxide emissions.

Research has demonstrated that savings of more than one hundred tonnes of carbon dioxide can be achieved yearly if buildings within buildings used advanced energy saving glass. Double glazing is the use of double glass window panes that are separated by a vacuum that reduce heat transfer from the building. Double glazing leads to reduced energy loss particularly during winter hence reducing energy consumption through heating of buildings (Ritchie & Thomas, 2013). Energy-efficient windows offer space heating and lighting to buildings. Windows provide buildings with warmth, light and ventilation but they can negatively impact on energy efficiency of a building. Energy costs can be reduced though the use of energy-efficient windows. Many buildings lose heat via their windows. On the other hand, energy-efficient glazing will keep homes warmer and lead to reduction in energy consumptions. Double-glazing helps in reduction of heat loss hence keeps down energy consumptions (Kibert, 2016). The design of energy efficient buildings has to consider the use of windows that are also energy efficient with the target of reducing carbon emissions. Engineers must internalize how double glazing can be used in controlling heat loss particularly in low humidity areas. Engineers of repute have to recommend to owners and contractors on the need for use of double glazing to reduce heat loss and save the atmosphere from excessive carbon gas emissions.

Use of radiant barriers in building construction

There has been more movement towards greater sensitivity of the environment as well as energy efficiency in building and construction. Despite the movement, the concept of green building as well as sustainable design has been demonstrated in few projects in stated design intent. Radiant barriers have been recommended in today’s green building rating systems as well as emerging codes (Chuck & Kim, 2011). When correctly installed and specified, the products function as part of the insulating envelop of the structure. Research demonstrates that radiant barriers perform effectively and contribute towards comfort as well as savings in some climate zones as compared to others. They may provide little benefit if they are used incorrectly (Basbagill et al, 2013). Radiant barriers refer to shinny panels or flexible membrane applied in construction. Although they do not have R-value, radiant barriers can used as art of building assembly, for instance, an assembly made of an air space and a radiant barrier for slowing heat transfer.

The distribution and sale of radiant barriers has attracted a share of scam artists who promise impossible energy savings. The explanations given by such hucksters include multiple references to NASA and space vehicles. This misinformation has made few builders have developed a religious belief in some magical powers of radiant barriers (Chuck & Kim, 2011). A radiant barrier refers to a thin sheet of reflective material, usually aluminum, used to a substrate like plastic film, kraft paper, cardboard, or plywood. A radiant barrier must have low emissivity. Radiant barriers largely reduce heat transfer across the space facing them. A material with lower emissivity means more efficiency in reducing radiant heat transfer. Despite radiant barriers being able to be made from a variety of materials, there is nothing like radiant paint. No individual has come up with paint that attains emissivity of 0.1 or below (Kibert, 2016). Radiant barriers that are not facing an airspace cannot work. A radiant barrier becomes a conductor and not an insulator if it is sandwiched a layer of concrete slab and sand. Engineers must be able to tell genuine radiant barriers and use them properly so as to be of benefit to buildings. Incorrect use radiant barriers render them useless.

The definitions of

Within cold conditions the aim is to reduce heat loss out of the building. The components of the building envelope are all crucial sources of heat loss. In hot conditions the major source of heat energy is though solar radiation. The optimal placement of components plays a significant role in insulation through considering the impact of solar radiation on buildings and prevailing breezes. The greatest environmental problem is the atmosphere as accumulating greenhouse gases cause climate change as well as rising sea levels (Ritchie & Thomas, 2013). Climate responsive design enhances the comfort of the home through moderating the external climate via good room planning, material choices and orientation. Condensation and humidity can compromise the health of buildings occupants as well as their comfort, destroy interior finishes as well as raise heating costs. Air contains water vapour and the amount basically depends on the air temperature (Chuck & Kim, 2011). Warm air contains more moisture as compared to cold air. When the temperature falls, the water amount in the air also goes down. When air cannot anymore water it is described as saturated.

The ratio of water vapour within the air can hold at a certain time is described relative humidity. As temperature increases, the capacity to hold moisture increases directly. Humidity affects both indoor air quality and thermal comfort. Controlling humidity is key in designing environmentally sustainable designs. Humidity control systems remove or add water vapour from indoor air to ensure optimal humidity ranges (Tsagarakis, Karyotakis & Zografakis, 2012). Humidity control is important for people’s thermal comfort. In most circumstances excess moisture in buildings can lead to mildew or mold, causing problems for indoor air quality. Humidity control also consumes energy. Proper environmentally sustainable designs should ensure proper humid control to avoid dehumidification that may lead to more energy consumption. HVAC systems within buildings in humid climates have to do some basic things in order to maintain humidity control (Basbagill et al, 2013). HVAC system has to correctly condition the interior of the building. One cause of moisture accumulation in buildings in hot humid climates is focus on ventilation at the expense of correct dehumidification. Engineers have to understand this trade off.

As an engineer it is important to understand the definitions of humidity and how it is important to consider humidity in the designs of buildings. An engineer should be able to use ventilation to control humidity within his designs. Insulation and ventilation are used by engineers to control the amount of humidity within buildings. Understanding the role of humidity in environmentally sustainable designs is important to any engineer.

The art of giving presentations and writing

The art of giving presentations and writing reports is important in creating an environmentally sustainable design since it is through reports that the public is sensitized on environment. The design of environmentally sustainable designs should be presented in elaborate presentations to stakeholders and accompanied by convincing reports (Tsagarakis, Karyotakis & Zografakis, 2012). As an engineer it is important to present your designs in presentations that can easily be understood by laymen and write reports that are comprehensive. Every detail should not be overlooked when making the presentations and writing reports. Writing of reports is important since it sets the basis of convincing stakeholders and owners on how environmentally sustainable designs work in every situation. Engineers have to be well versed in report writing and making presentations since they have to bring make stakeholders on board for environmentally sustainable designs to be a reality.


Basbagill, J., Flager, F., Lepech, M. and Fischer, M., 2013. Application of life-cycle assessment to early stage building design for reduced embodied environmental impacts, Building and Environment, 60, pp.81-92.

Chuck, W.F. and Kim, J.T., 2011. Building environmental assessment schemes for rating of IAQ in sustainable buildings, Indoor and Built Environment, 20(1), pp.5-15.

Kibert, C.J., 2016. Sustainable construction: green building design and delivery. John Wiley & Sons.

Ritchie, A. and Thomas, R., 2013, Sustainable urban design: an environmental approach, Taylor & Francis.

Tsagarakis, K.P., Karyotakis, K. and Zografakis, N., 2012. Implementation conditions for energy saving technologies and practices in office buildings: Part 2. Double glazing windows, heating and air-conditioning, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 16(6), pp.3986-3998.