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News & Events


Principles of Sustainable Buildings

September 21, 2016

Modern sustainable building technology borrows from the technology of the past.

Sustainable building design really isn't that new of a concept. The principles used to create an eco-friendly structure can be traced as far back as the first indigenous shelters-like igloos. "Designing sustainable buildings in the 21st century definitely revisits older building science," says Michael Fries, Senior Architect with Klingner and Associates, Galesburg, who brought his Third Thursday Green Discussion topic, "Principles of Sustainable Buildings" to en season restaurant September 15th. "If you look at the way homes and buildings were designed in the late 19th century to the early 20th century, for example, you'll see that every effort was made to maximize the efficiency of available light and airflow."

Fries specializes in green building design and is a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Accredited Professional though the United States Green Building Council. The United States Green Building Council is the industry leader in green building design. Sustainable building design does not have to be high-tech. Ironically, there is a lot we can "re-learn" from history. "Turn-of-the-century architects created natural air conditioning through the process of convection, and added large windows to take advantage of available daylight. We incorporate similar logic in a sustainable design to help reduce a building's carbon footprint by using less water and energy and by reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

Fries adds there are four easy ways to make your home more sustainable and save money. "The first thing I would suggest is increase the amount of insulation in your attic. Heat rises, and the added insulation will help keep your home warm in the winter. Secondly, insulate your hot water pipes. This will help keep the water flowing from your water heater warmer longer within the pipe. Thirdly, replace old or damaged windows with thermal-efficient ones. And finally, change out your existing plumbing fixtures and faucets with those that are water-efficient to save water."