Posted inOpinion

World Environment Day: How regenerative architecture can help us build a better future

Ashish Batra, Founder and Principal Architect at Uniifyy shares how regenerative architecture goes beyond sustainability, promoting resilience and harmony with nature

World Environment Day: How regenerative architecture can help us build a better future

The effects of climate change and rising temperatures have led to drastic changes in the environment. This is also due to the emerging skylines and concrete structures that make up the built environment. Although sustainability has been posed as a solution during the past years, we have reached a point where we need better solutions for the same. Moving beyond the eco-conscious approaches, architects are exploring the concept of ‘Regenerative Architecture’ that goes beyond minimising environmental challenges. Imagine a building that consumes less energy and generates more than it uses! In this article, we delve into the essence of regenerative design and how it will command attention in the future.

Principles of regenerative architecture

Regenerative architecture ensures that every phase of the construction process contributes positively to the environment. It integrates with the natural surroundings, leveraging local resources and enhancing biodiversity. Further, it promotes processes like water filtration, air purification, and soil regeneration, providing a net-zero impact on the environment. For instance, in tropical regions like India, solar energy is abundant and may be used to power microgrids that store daytime energy for usage at night in buildings. This allows for the goals of energy preservation, consumption, and renewal to be met.

Regenerative buildings are designed to be resilient to environmental changes. This includes considerations for climate change, natural disasters, and evolving urban landscapes. The design promotes a sense of interdependence. It originates from the understanding that building sites and people are both a part of ecosystems and should be planned to allow for mutual adaptation between the two.

Innovative approaches in regenerative architecture

One of the strategies is the biophilic design that promotes a connection with nature. By integrating green walls and natural materials, designers can create spaces that benefit occupants. Green roofs and rain gardens help manage stormwater runoff, promoting groundwater recharge. Additionally, regenerative architecture prioritises water conservation effortlessly. Innovative water management systems filter and reuse greywater, reducing dependence on municipal water supplies.

Advanced materials and construction techniques

Construction techniques and materials also enhance the building’s performance. A sustainable alternative is CLT, made from layers of wood bonded together. It provides strength and durability while sequestering carbon. Recycled materials can also be used to conserve natural resources. These methods reduce construction waste and energy consumption and allow for greater precision and quality control.

Challenges of regenerative design

One major hurdle is the high initial costs associated with advanced materials, which can deter investment. Additionally, designing such buildings requires extensive site-specific research and collaboration with ecologists. This further complicates the design process. Regulatory barriers and outdated building codes can further impede the adoption of regenerative practices. Moreover, achieving net positive impacts necessitates the need for energy, water, and waste management, demanding technical expertise.

In essence, regenerative architecture actively contributes to the health and vitality of the environment. The journey towards regenerative architecture is a collective endeavour. Together, we can redefine the role of architecture in shaping a healthier and more sustainable planet!