High-end residential design begins with site selection. This article will explain how to choose the best spot to build your new home using smart sustainability planning.
Location and Orientation
The location and orientation of the new building will affect the functionality of the home and quality of life for its users through factors such as:
A well-chosen site, particularly in urban areas, provides important access to services, infrastructure and public transportation.
There are many factors to consider in site selection; here are a few that we recommend focusing on:
Building orientation is an additional consideration that will affect:
Build orientation is typically directly related to building access (i.e., it determines where the front door and other entryways will be placed), so proper interior layout can help integrate passive and active solar exposures.
Smart sustainability design seeks to maximize the efficiency of a site during construction and afterwards. You don’t have to be an environmental activist to be interested in sustainability design; as an intelligent way of minimizing costs and impacts to the surrounding environment, it makes a sound foundation for any good design. Below are some steps for implementing sustainability design into your site selection and construction.
1. Conserve Existing Buildings and Materials
Current sustainability codes focus on regulating new construction. However, usually new construction begins with demolishing existing buildings, which wastes the resources that were already used in creating those structures. Instead, your site selection process should seek to partially or entirely retrofit existing structures if possible and viable. Another sustainable practice would be to minimize land disturbance by considering the existing land grade and preserving existing foliage (trees and bushes).
2. Erosion Control
Erosion control refers to practices that prevent topsoil from being worn away by wind or water. Here are some design techniques for maintaining erosion control, both during construction and once the site is being lived on:
3. Heat Management
The “heat island “effect is a well-known consequence of conventional building and design, where dark-colored roofs and pavements accumulate heat from the sun. There are a number of solutions that you can explore to avoid this effect:
4. Building and Roof Design
Green roofs are useful for avoiding the “heat-island” effect; they also assist with water management, and provide wildlife habitats.
For overall sustainability issues, ventilating the building properly, especially through natural gravity ventilation, will help to naturally maintain proper temperatures while adding to a well-designed system of cross-ventilation relying on prevailing wind patterns.
As climate change takes hold and the need for sustainable building design grows, it will become more common and more important to consider proper site selection, site design and building orientation in all construction. These factors not only affect the owners and users of the building, but all of us.
To learn more about how to use sustainability design in your new home project, please contact to schedule your intitial consultation meeting.
Photo credit: Magdalena Kurylowicz
One of the best things about a custom home project, and also the most challenging, is the huge variety of options to choose from. We can help you create anything you have in mind, but a client’s desires are sometimes limited to what they have seen in other homes. In this article, we will explore some of the more common, as well as the lesser-known customization options available to you. To help you build your dream project, we have created this Premium Home Features list to help you gather and evaluate ideas and concepts.
Taking the time to understand clients and their needs is the most important thing an architect can do to ensure the success of any residential project. Every custom home is as unique as the family who will live in it, so the architect must always begin by getting to know the family: their values and personalities, how they will use the home, what their daily lives are like. This article describes the importance of private and public spaces and how to allocate them according to the family’s needs.
Urban infill, also known as redevelopment or land recycling, is when new construction takes place to refresh or repurpose underused sites. But infill projects can be controversial if they aren’t a good fit in the neighborhood. How can architects balance their design aesthetic in the context of the surrounding environment? This article describes some factors to consider.
If you have a dog or are planning to get one, you know that a dog is a member of the family. It’s natural to consider them when designing your new home. This article explains how an architect might design a home with a dog in mind: by planning customized indoor and outdoor spaces and implementing subtle pet-proofing design tips throughout the home.
By now, if you’re looking for a new home, you’ve probably heard the word “infill” a few times. Infill generally refers to redevelopment in form of multi-family, semi-detached or single-family dwellings being built on vacant or underdeveloped parcels within previously built, serviced (i.e. schools, transit lines, emergency services, etc.) and established areas.