Future of Sustainable Architecture

In the previous posts a brief about the theme of Sustainability, Building a strong base for a Sustainable Future, Implementing Sustainable Architecture in the Tourism Industry, Proximity Hotel a Sustainable model and Hotel Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers – Worlds NO.1 GREEN HOTEL were seen. These were giving us the a clear picture of what the Tourism Industry has gone through to reach the milestone it is now situated. So where does the future take Tourism Industry? We can never be sure of if, but it can be anticipated to take some wonderful level.


The CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility has now been integrated into business models as a  self-regulating mechanism and ensures its active compliance to the standards & policies. CSR promotes innovation in developing different methods of being sustainable. The Solar City MalmöCopenhagenisation in Copenhagen,  the future is now for sustainable cities in the U.K., China, and U.A.E lets us know about various cities transforming them into a carbon neutral community.
I would say the Tourism Industry should take Initiative of the upcoming inventions and methods to be a role model for all the other industries. Create sustainability as a standard rating for the hotels. And when the travelers and guests are educated about them they will largely support them.  Other remarkable developments in the sustainable architecture are Bio-mimicry,  Land Art, experimental architecture, utopianism  and Environmental Activism.

Michael Pawlyn an architect explains the way we can use nature for solutions to build a sustainable design. One thing is for sure, the vast majority of scientists and world leaders believe that it is now; it is in our time, that such challenges will be faced. It is now that we will see these questions answered. Taking action now, no matter how small, is the response that will, cumulatively, help us steer humanity to a more sustainable lifestyle that will be compatible with the life support systems of this planet. No matter how beautiful and well designed a building may be, when it falls, it is usually wasted. So concentrating of sustainable architecture is far more important.

Some of the upcoming technologies are  roof-mounted wind turbines, photovoltaic panels that convert light into electricity, a combined heat and power (CHP) plant to generate electricity and provide hot water, green roofs—building tops covered with plants—to capture and filter rainwater, recycling sewage and other waste to fertilize and irrigate nearby farms, magnetically-steered electric vehicles, energy recovery ventilators which use the humidity and heat energy in the exhausted air to precondition incoming air in winter thereby rejects incoming heat and humidity in the summer, Earthships, 3 R’s’ (reduce, reused, recycle), ‘cradle-to-cradle’ approaches, automated occupancy sensors for lighting  heating, ventilation & air conditioning, Local Warming and Green Architecture ultimately.


Hotel Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers – Worlds NO.1 GREEN HOTEL

Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers entranceThe Hotel Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers built in 2009 is designed to be one of the most sustainable hotels in the world. The architecture of the Crowne Plaza was so commendable even before the project was completed received the Danish building award “Det Gyldne Søm” (The Golden Nail) for its sustainable concept. Environmental and social awareness is highly reflected in the architecture and the interior design of the hotel. The Motto of the hotel “Who Cares Wins” has really applied to the practicality by CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility as a winning strategy.

Organic decomposing toilet requisites, energy producing gym facilities, the largest in Denmark facade integrated solar Photovoltaics (PV) installation and frontline energy-efficient technology, cutting energy consumption by 53% compared to conventional hotels. The hotel receives all of its energy through renewable and sustainable sources. Solar panels and a groundwater-based cooling and heating system helps the Crowne Plaza conserve precious resources. The groundwater based system is the first of its kind in Denmark, and it saves up to 90% of the energy used for climate regulation inside the hotel.

The Walk of Sustainability

The Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers is a carbon-neutral building with energy sound operations. Food is purchased within 300 km radius, is palletized, received fewer times a week in order to save transport, and the wine is biodynamic.  Complimentary shuttle service transports between Copenhagen Airport and the hotel with a maximum capacity of 8 persons.

The free meal idea has been a method to boost guests’ health and shrink their carbon footprint, benefits the local environment and the World at large. There are bikes connected to generators that require guests to pedal for about 15 minutes to produce 10 watt-hours of electricity. iPhones attached to the bikes display the amount of power being generated.

Healthy living and sustainability meets in this hotel.

Guests of the hotel travel around Copenhagen in the environmentally friendly cars and bicycles. Thus  Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers  embraces an innovative green concept that benefits the hotel, its employees and the guests. By doing so it is serving as the worlds No. 1 Green Hotel with no compromise in service standards and comfort levels.electriccar

Hotel Director Allan L. Agerholm has been in this process since the architectural award the Golden Nail Award was won.

Proximity Hotel : Sustainability without deprivation

Today I am going to break the myth “conservation comes from deprivation” and at a high cost. The Proximity Hotel is the best example for it. The general thought that sustainability is achieved when the luxury is sacrificed. And the tourism industry mainly based on satisfying guest needs will not endure if this was true. Greensboro’s Proximity Hotel in North Carolina is the first Hotel in the continent to receive a LEED Platinum certification. The hotel’s architecture was planned effectively to achieve maximum sustainability possible. It uses about 39.2% less energy than a conventional hotel /restaurant would use, by using ultra efficient materials and the latest construction design.

Proximity Hotel, Greensboro, USA-Centrepoint

The other noticeable green technology used in the architecture would be solar energy to produce 60 % of hot water required, large windows in both public areas and guestrooms to incorporate 97% natural light, recycled construction waste instead of them turning into landfills, Geo thermal energy used for cooling the refrigeration equipment, Otis Gen2 regenerative elevators to generate electricity as they descend to use for the ascent, bicycles for guests, regional vendors and artists used to reduce transportation & packing, high-efficient plumbing fixtures, gel concealing the urinals and many more.

An upfront cost is higher but comes down with the less energy use. The Proximity hotel uses eight compressors with eight speed transmission for high operating and fuel efficiency. Designed efficiently than the required level by LEED code, the hotel saves 30 % more energy. Especially about half of the natural gas costs are saved. Same with the Geo thermal energy use, Kohler high-efficiency plumbing fixtures, solar panels and the regenerative elevators. These energy saving techniques are a long term investment from a business perspective, but also a huge step to reduce the limited resources used.


Educating people about the sustainable practices of the hotel is the      “Cherry  on top of the icing”.416_500_csupload_38437819

The hotel provides educating tours to the guests, symposia and students. This will definitely spread the word. There may be hundreds of processes, theories and plans to develop a sustainable architecture but when it is made aware in a practical way more trust will develop. With economy influencing the tourism industry to act up on cutting operational costs, this will definitely win over the investors’ mind. Now there are only a handful of hotels in the US with LEED certification, but with the knowledge provided by the Proximity Hotel competitors will definitely look to compete with them.

Implementing Sustainable Architecture in the Tourism Industry

In the previous posts I have mentioned about the theme of sustainability and the effective ways architecture can influence sustainability. But how can it be implemented in the tourism industry where the prime goal of the companies is to make the guests or travelers feel satisfied. The key issues to be addressed in the sustainable architecture are

  • Energy
  • Water
  • Building materials
  • Land Use
  • Waste
  • Human Health

All these main issues can be addressed by simply concentrating on small things which contribute them. First and foremost is the overall building size. Big buildings mean more resources and energy consumption. So the space used for constructing and operating has to be of minimum – “Smaller is Better”. Next this building should have a proper use of sustainable and durable materials. Recycled copper, blown-in glass insulation, locally obtained building materials, organic insulation and paints. Design the buildings to use maximum renewable energy such as using solar water heating, optimum sunlight use for lighting, heating and natural cooling processes. This can be done through use of proper materials and method.  As in the pictures show hotels, convention centres using the sunlight for energy use.

Ayers Rock Resort, Australia-Cox Architecture2

Ayers Rock Resort, Australia – Cox Architecture using Large windows for scenic view and light

Convention Center, Pittsburgh, USA-Rafael Viñoly

Convention Center, Pittsburgh, USA – Rafael Viñoly, internal view of the clear roof to provide more light

Convention Center, Pittsburgh, USA-Rafael Viñoly2

Convention Center, Pittsburgh, USA-Rafael Viñoly 

Barajas Airport, Spain-Richard Rogers Partnership

Barajas Airport, Spain – Richard Rogers Partnership using sunlight during the day

Water being a limited resource has to be recycled and has to be used for some irrigation processes. Rain water harvesting and gray water recycling is also to be considered. The major idea to be considered is that can a previously constructed building be renovated. This leads to the stage of re-usability of the building for requirements in a later stage. The waste disposal and recycling is a huge issue to be taken care especially with on-site segregation. Lastly the use of transport can be reduced by making it more accessible to public transportation and easy walking access.

The video below shows all new cutting edge technology to use energy efficiently.

So I would like you to see this story of how a green building was erected and the challenges it faced and the way they overcame them. Using these methods a modern building can be built with a very sustainable architecture. I would love to work in a building like this.

Sustainable Architecture – Building a strong base for a Sustainable Future

Now that we know what sustainability is, I am going to concentrate on the way architecture can positively impact on our environment. My main reason for concentrating on the buildings is because just building sector alone has used resources more than any individual industry. In fact it consumes nearly half (48.7%) of energy produced in the United states alone. And in turn to operate them about seventy-six percent of all the electricity produced in the U.S. is being used (according to the U.S. Energy Information AdministrationEIA).

Adding to this they are also the biggest producer of carbon dioxide, one of the major reasons for climate change. The Architecture 2030 organisation explains them really well in detail about them. The images below gives us description of how the energy is consumed sector wise, electricity consumed by sector and the emission of CO2 by sector.

Click on the image for a larger view.

These would be rapidly shooting up as the need for urbanization is growing. The only way to avoid this is to bring in the sustainable architecture to a new level. The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating for calculating the sustainable amount of energy used for the construction and the ongoing operation of a building. There are points given for the most sustainable method adopted in construction and the operation. By this process one can reduce the negative impact created by a building.

For if there  is a problem, there is always a solution. We just need to look in the right places.

According to the rules,norms and standards the way of attaining sustainability are of plenty. Some of the ways effective to attain them, its positive impacts and the future are shown in this video.

A brief about the theme of Sustainability

Sustainability literally means to support or to maintain or to prolong, but the term has been commonly understood as to the ability to maintain a certain status or process in the existing systems. The definition of sustainability or sustainable development was given by World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987 as “forms of progress that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” Sustainability connects us to the Earth’s ecosystem, the way we use it to the supportable level of all the Eco-systems around us. Efficient resource consumption, recycling and re-use are the key elements in it.

Human beings being the dominant and largest growing population on the earth’s Eco-system are on top of the resource consumption. Little has been done in the past for sustainability of the planet earth. Energy and resources on earth are not lost forever; they are modified from one form to another. As Newton says energy can “nor be created, nor destroyed”. But the process of transformation from one to another produces various effects and can harm the Eco-system. This in turn may result the extinction of life on earth. The only way to make sure it does not happen; at least not more rapidly is by making sure we live in a very sustainable way.


Sustainability has to go hand in hand with the development of human civilization. The urbanization of human civilization started with the development of cities. I believe when man was in a nomadic life style he used the resources very less and efficiently. So the sustainability has now started to aim for the root cause to find a solution. There are a number of organisations which have a dedicated them self in this process. The main role is played by the Eco-municipalities.

The EPA‘s sustainability strategies have been now made to develop more sustainable communities. Mainly concentrating on use of the resources and energy.  In the next post I will be explaining the role of sustainable architecture in creating sustainability in the world.

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