Sustainable Living: 3M FuturewiseTown PlanIntroductionGo BackGo Next3M

responsible construction

Reducing energy use in homes and construction

Look at the landscape of the building's location

At the design stage, the landscape of the building site should be studied to make the most of:

  • the terrain (if it's hilly, the earth in the hillside could be used as insulation).
  • the plantation (trees can be used to protect a building from cold winds and/or channel warm breezes. Trees can also be used to create shadows and reduce noise).
  • the aspect (the direction the sun comes from at different times of year and where shadows occur affect how the building can use the sun's heat and light to best effect).

The rooms of a building that are to be used most during the day should have large windows to let in the most light and trap the most heat. In the northern hemisphere, these rooms should be south facing. In the southern hemisphere, they should be north facing. Ideally the rooms should be positioned so that they are not in the shadow of other buildings, which may mean the directions will change slightly.

In hilly locations, building into a hillside can save energy as temperatures underground are almost the same throughout the year and the earth insulates the building. The main problem with this design is keeping the dampness out with suitable waterproofing. Sunscoop light pipes can be used to collect daylight from the surface and direct it into the dark parts of the building.

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