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Good planning and completely thinking trough all aspects of the construction of a new building within the context of sustainability, energy efficiency and applicability is the essence of sustainable architecture, as shown by the reading that was given last Tuesday in the presentation hall of the National Library on Curaçao. Speaker: expert in the field of sustainable and energy-efficient buildings, architect Luis Huertas, originally from Puerto Rico and who has been living in Aruba for some time. This lecture was the first in a series of three presentations, with an emphasis on sustainable design and construction of residential and office buildings, which are organized by Amigu di Tera in the context of the 25th anniversary of this environmental group.
With the lecture series, the organization wants to offer an information package for the general public, to build awareness and also to apply the knowledge to existing buildings in order to create a comfortable living and working environment and also reduce energy consumption. The aim is to supply tips and tricks that can be applied to any type of building and by anyone.
Planning of development is essential
To a full house of at least 80 people, including students from Colombia and students from the University of, Huertas explained, for nearly an hour, the various aspects that are involved with sustainable building. He did not only focus on the construction of buildings with accompanying issues such as the materials used to construct, but also all aspects surrounding such a project, including landscaping, electronic equipment and furnishings. Everything to live and work as enjoyable and confortable as possible, while reducing the carbon footprint. “It’s very important that development growth is planned on a small island like this. That is a neccessity, which should get all the appropriate attention, also at government level. There is a direct relationship between the living place of people and their workplace. The closer you bring these two together the lower the carbon footprint of citizens will be”, is one of the essential arguments expressed by Huertas. An ever-important topic of discussion on a small island with limited space, where unplanned development of residential and work areas not only create unnecessary bottlenecks, including traffic congestion and the like, but also enormously increase the carbon footprint of the entire island.
Huertas also indicates that in the design of new buildings, whether it be homes or offices, too little attention is paid to sustainable applications and design modifications. “A missed opportunity. Why not already take energy efficiency into account, and especially the reduction of energy consumption by air conditioners for example, in the design, instead of only just considering it when the building has already been put constructed. If you design the building as such that it is well insulated and that you can make use of maximum daylight instead of electric light during daytime, you’ll go a long way in saving energy. Even the positioning of a building can sometimes reduce energy consumption by 30%. ”
Use Native vegetation
The use of native vegetation is frequently discussed in the presentation. The focus herein is not only the fact that much less water is needed to keep irrigate this kind of vegetation, but it is also emphasized that the good positioning of the vegetation, may hold a building cooler (keep the heat out), so that less energy is required to cool it. The collection of rainwater is an absolute non-brainer for Huertas. ,,It would not be smart if you just let this water go away in the drains without optimally using it for garden irrigation or even for flushing the toilet”, is the opinion of the architect showing some examples of water storage options ranging from cheap tons to complex water containers.
Amigu di Tera and Huertas will make the information, which was offered in the presentation, accessible by uploading it on various websites soon. The organization is also working on other means of communication to allow the information to reach a wider audience as quickly as possible.
The dates of the next two presentations will be announced later.