Oct 145 min read

How You Can Incorporate Sustainability In Your Design Practice?

written by

Kishan Thakkar


In the 21st century, sustainability has become an important aspect of architecture, pushing the design and construction of buildings towards a greener and more eco-friendly future. 

In light of the fact that 40% of global warming is caused by construction. As architects, it is our responsibility to adopt sustainable practices.

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Additionally, adopting sustainable practices can save up to 50% in energy costs and up to 30% in water consumption, making them more cost-effective designs over the long run.

This article will explore the importance of sustainability in architecture and discuss practical ways to incorporate it into your practice.

The Importance of Sustainability in Architecture

Sustainable architecture is more than just creating visually appealing green structures or "green-washing" buildings. It aims to reduce the environmental impact of buildings or carbon footprint and improve the quality of life of users.

By incorporating sustainability into your architecture practice, you can contribute to reducing natural resource consumption, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating healthier environments for people.

Sustainable Architecture Projects

Sustainable Architecture_kaarwan_5.jpg© Auroville Earth Institute 

The Auroville Earth Institute in India is a small-scale practice that focuses on using earth/mud architecture. One of the key projects is their own design studio which uses CSEB blocks and other natural materials to build low-cost, energy-efficient structure.

Additionally, the project uses solar energy to power the buildings and promote sustainable living. Furthermore, the project also has a rainwater harvesting system that collects and stores rainwater for reuse within the site. This project is a good example of small-scale sustainable architecture in the Indian context.

Let's look at one more example of sustainable architecture practices in the global context.

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The Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Singapore focuses on biophilic design, incorporating nature into the building to promote health and happiness among patients and staff.

The examples above are just a few of the many examples of sustainable architecture.

How to Incorporate Sustainability into Your Practice

One must deal with many things as an architect, including client briefs, designs, changes, and executions, but incorporating sustainable practices and making clients understand them may be the biggest challenge. Don't worry, we have some soltuions for you!

Make Sustainable Materials a Priority

The first step is to choose materials with a low environmental impact like AAC bamboo, plastic brick, etc. Opt for recycled materials or those with a high potential for recycling. 

For example, architect Anupama Kundoo, based in India, has made sustainable material a priority in her work. She is known for her use of earth and other natural materials to construct low-cost, energy-efficient architecture. Additionally, her projects often feature solar energy, rainwater harvesting systems, and other sustainable design features.

The Green School in Bali, Indonesia is an excellent example of a sustainable building project. The entire campus is built with bamboo, and other materials such as recycled plastic bottles, car tires, and scrap wood are used to create furniture, walls, and other features.

Sustainable Architecture_kaarwan_4.jpgGreen School in Bali © Levi Strauss

Consider energy efficiency when designing

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Energy-efficient design is of the highest priority in sustainable architecture. Design buildings with appropriate insulation to minimize artificial heating and cooling needs. 

You can use passive solar design principles, like placing windows strategically for natural light and heat, to reduce your dependence on artificial lighting and heating systems. Consider using low-energy lighting and appliances like LED to further lower energy consumption.

Make Use of Renewable Energy

Consider integrating renewable energy sources into your designs to make buildings more sustainable.

Install solar panels on rooftops or facades to use solar energy.

Analyze the site 

Choosing the best location within the site for designing is crucial for creating a sustainable environment. Opt for areas that are well-suited for energy efficiency, natural ventilation, and solar orientation. Avoid building on ecologically sensitive areas and follow building norms.

The choice of site is not always an option for an architect, it is recommended to consider wind direction, solar movement, and site functions during the design process. 

Educate Your Clients

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It is probably one of the most challenging aspects of design to deal with clients for sustainable design. Educating clients on the benefits of sustainable architecture is crucial to encouraging a shared responsibility to the environment. 

Clearly explain the long-term benefits of sustainable design, including lower electricity bills, reduced energy consumption, and often higher property returns.

Take small steps towards a sustainable lifestyle

Begin your journey towards sustainable architecture by taking small steps. Start by implementing sustainable practices in smaller projects in small details and gradually incorporate them into larger projects as you go.

Take steps to live a sustainable lifestyle, such as using public transportation, reducing paper usage, etc. Continuously research and stay updated on the latest green building trends and technologies.

Architects' Challenges in Incorporating Sustainability


One common challenge architects face in incorporating sustainability is balancing the initial costs of green features with the long-term benefits. 

Sustainable materials and technologies can sometimes be more expensive upfront, making it challenging to convince clients to invest in them. 

To address this issue, architects need to demonstrate the cost savings and environmental benefits that sustainable features offer in the long run, ultimately making them a worthwhile investment.

Resources for Learning about Sustainable Architecture

To deepen your knowledge about sustainable architecture, Kaarwan offers result-oriented workshops for architects and designers worldwide. Our workshops provide practical skill-based learning that prepares architects for real-world challenges. 

Through affordable and comprehensive lectures, Kaarwan aims to help participants achieve their career goals while making a positive impact on the environment.

Here are some books you should read to understand more about sustainabiity in architecture.

1. “Natural Design, Organic Architecture: Lessons for Building Green” by Frank Llyod Wright

2. “Strategies for Sustainable Architecture” by Paola Sassi

Incorporating sustainability into your architecture practice is no longer an option but a necessity. Embrace sustainable architecture as a guiding principle and contribute to a greener, healthier, and more sustainable future.

Visit our website to find out how you can make a difference through sustainable architecture while achieving your career aspirations.

Kishan Thakkar

Kishan Thakkar

A content writer with extensive experience in creating content for AEC & Real Estate industries. He is working as a freelance writer, assisting businesses in building a robust online presence through the power of writing and content strategies.