Uns Baban is a globally respected architect with her main practice based in Jordan http://www.uns-design.com. Uns is also an educator and has projects spanning both sides of the Atlantic. Passionate about clean and elegant design, she believes that the right environment for living also needs to reflect sustainability, protecting natural resources and our environment.
To kick off our season of green technology and environment Uns has created some ideas that are practical and aspirational.
‘Green’ design image for Nina magazine
Tips and Ideas
1. Make proper use of the generous Sun Energy in our region by using Photovoltaic panels to capture the Solar Energy and use it to help cut electric and fuel costs. See (1)
2. Use motion detection sensors to control lighting switches and save on electricity.
3. High efficiency light fixtures and bulbs, such as LED can save on energy consumption while considerably reducing heat generation. The bulbs are more expensive but save you big on the longer run
4. Protection from sunlight by natural or mechanical methods:
- Plant deciduous trees that add shade in the summer and allow sunlight in winter See (2)
- Add canopies designed according to the angle of the sun in order to protect from the summer – but allow in the winter sun See (3)
- Use automated louvered ventilation and shading control on windows to ensure protection from the blazing summer sun while making maximum use of natural sunlight for warmth in winter.
5. Rainwater can be collected in reservoirs and stored for irrigation of plants and other household uses.
6. If possible, use traditional cooling methods like wind catchers to help with ventilation and cooling, especially if used with traditional water cooling procedures.
7. Ensure your roof is well insulated. Both Heat Insulation and Moisture Insulation should be taken very seriously. Use high Insulation value roofing with layers of foam and moisture insulation membrane.See (4)
8. Using advanced energy efficient windows, double or triple glazed, to insure the heat insulation is carried all around the building
9. Higher windows encourage air circulation. They let warmer air escape, and that creates a negative pressure that draws cooler air through lower windows to the building and so on. Higher windows at stair wells are ideal See (5)
10. Walls should also be well insulated. Sandwich or cavity walls with an inner layer at least 15 cm. thick of a highly efficient insulating material, an air gap of 5-10 cm. minimum, in addition to the structural exterior walls, allow for a high insulation value See (6)
Landscapes can also be effectively planned….
- Choose native shrubs, trees, and flowers. These are better adapted to the rainfall in our region. Low spreading plants such as sedum provide living ground cover, which holds moisture in the soil.
- Limit the amount of yard/ garden space given over to a thirsty lawn; instead increase the amount given to native plants which adapt better to the local climate and need less water.
- If your budget allows, concentrate on using micro or drip irrigation – a system of pipes or hoses that delivers water directly to the base of the plant. Drip irrigation is around 90% efficient unlike regular sprinkler systems, where up to 50% of the water is wasted!
- Cover the bare ground areas, such as around trees and in flower beds, with pebbles, small stone chips, grass clippings or any plant material. This can make soil 50% moister and controls those pesky weeds at the same time.
- New plants require more water for their first few growing seasons until root systems become established. After that, water less often and plants will still thrive.
- Soil with high clay content may have trouble using water efficiently. Adding sand or compost to garden beds can keep plants healthy with less water.