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Hey, I’m Georgia.Currently spinning around the sun for 19 years and appreciating planet Earth’s environment.
Studying Geography in school I was told that the ‘world was on fire’. Back then, I didn't understand this phrase that well, but as the years went by I realised that the world is indeed on fire.
So, this feeling started growing inside me telling me that I need to take action, I need to do something, to not only protect the environment but also us, humans. I want to save the world.
But how can you save a world on fire? Just like firefighters fight flaming buildings and sometimes go in to save people’s lives.
And no. I’m not talking about risking our lives. Firefighters have two options; Option 1; If they can’t control the fire in the building and there’s nobody in there and there are no other buildings or a forest nearby, they will let it be. Option 2; If they can control the fire, they will do everything in their will to make sure that it’s not going to spread in other buildings and nobody’s going to be in danger.
Luckily for us, we’re still in option 2. Therefore, as residents of this beautiful planet, we are obliged to protect it and everything that lives within it.
Got it? Not yet? Let me help you. Climate change. The word fire refers to this thing called Climate change.
Sometimes, when we hear Climate Change and designing buildings so they can be environmentally friendly, we immediately compare them with the word expensive. And not unfair. But, you don’t have to be rich to take action and help spread awareness.
Why can’t we just build our house, university, museum etc. just like Pantheon was built in ancient Rome? And more specifically, the dome of the Pantheon. It has this thing called ‘oculus’. Oculus is a circular opening in the centre of a dome or in a wall. But, we don’t have to build domes to have Oculus. We can have it on our walls! Oculus is open to the weather, where it allows rain to enter and fall to the floor, where rain is carried away through drains. Moreover, the rain keeps the building cool during the hot summer months! Also, it has another significant use. It allows light to enter the building as the sun lights the earth! And what if we could store the rain that it’s carried away through drains in order to have a water supply in this specific building? What is more, if we’re talking about a multi-floor building it will actually help provide ‘’cleaner’’ water, as if water wouldn’t have to pump up through so many floors. And not only that, we could turn this water into energy! And through that, we could have access to electricity and heating! What a way to save the environment and our pockets!!
Moving on, unfortunately, there are a lot of ugly buildings out there that are made of glass. What if, we could replace the glass windows with photovoltaics that will turn sunlight into electricity for the building. That way, we could stop using power plants, in order to have electricity and heating, which contribute to air pollution and therefore, we will help reduce and why not stop climate change. Do not forget though, living or working in a building where you are not able to see outside is not a good idea. That’s why, photovoltaics in windows should be put in such way, that we will still have the chance to look outside. Not to mention, that a photovoltaic module has an estimated lifetime of 30 years and also, even on cloudy days the diffuse light will provide useful electricity, which will be extremely important for countries that are not very ‘’sun friendly’’, for example, the U.K. And the question we all have; ‘’yes we could have photovoltaics, but what happens at night?’’ Well, we could build photovoltaics in such way where they will absorb more sunlight, therefore they will have enough capacity to support the needs of a building and during the night.
And finally, probably the most important thing after designing a building to be friendly to the environment, is the productivity of the occupiers. Yes, a sustainable building must help to reduce carbon emissions, but also it should provide a healthy and comfortable environment for the users to improve their satisfaction and productivity. Taking everything into consideration, having everything I discussed in buildings will give good thermal comfort, as with the help of the rain will keep the temperature of the building to satisfying levels. Moreover, it will help with the air quality of the building, as air will constantly come in and in that way will change the odours of the room as well. Working or living in an environment that helps you be more productive, boosts your energy levels and encourages you to collaborate with your co-workers, it’s really important.
Keeping people happy, keeps the planet happy.
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