Tulsa Architects Notice 3 Trends Of Sustainability
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Tulsa Architects Notice 3 Trends Of Sustainability

As Tulsa, Oklahoma continues to see a revitalization of architecture, primarily in their downtown area, architects have picked up on some trends that have added an extra level of pleasure to the visual aesthetics and functionality of each building.

Television shows on HGTV, DIY Network and TLC have sparked an awareness and growing popularity of ecological-friendly amenities that have seeped their way into the planning and modernization of landmarks, residential and commercial structures across the country.

Tulsa architects have not been immune to these changes and have been faced with two choices - adjust their designs to reflect these changes or lose job bids due to being “behind the times”. We can blame London for this newfound desire to “go green” because that was the flashpoint for the knowledge about global warming.

Earth Day quickly became the event that socially responsible citizens flocked to, in order to meet like-minded people with a desire to see realistic changes in the way humans consume resources. Going green is a realistic approach that has long lasting effects and betterment of any locale.

Tulsa, Oklahoma residents have always prided themselves on being more forward than surrounding states when it comes to the arts and social awareness about problems with our environment.

It’s only natural that environmentally friendly materials and philosophy have found their way into the floorplans of some of the newest structures in Tulsa. Here are 3 trends that are becoming a reality :

Vertical Farms

The projected population of planet Earth by 2050 has been estimated as high as 9.1 billion people. Farming, in its current state, will never be able to meet those demands, so there has been a high concentration of think tanks mulling on ways to maximize square footage and increase crop yields.

Think about areas that have overpopulation and not enough land to accommodate (ie. Japan, Taiwan). How do they have enough food to feed everyone? Do they rely heavily on importing food from other countries? As a city in Oklahoma, what can Tulsa do to increase their food output?

There are several ways to incorporate vertical farming into sustainable architecture and Tulsa architects have developed techniques to plant crops on rooftops and even have gone so far as to create mixed-use buildings. In its current state, mixed-use farming is problematic because it relies on the needs of a community, so lots of coordination and cooperation need to take place in order for it to work well. The natural progression of this concept lies in the form of commercial buildings that take advantage of every open-air space within the building to cultivate crops on a larger scale. I know that these concepts are a bit outside of the box, but it's gaining steam nationally and Tulsa architects are working on ways to utilize this technology.

PCM

PCM stands for Phase Change Material. A PCM is capable of storing and releasing a rather large amount of heating or cooling energy. Tulsa Architects have incorporated this into ceiling or wall structures, which then absorb excessive amounts of heat in the summer, as well as the converse during harsh winters. This maintains the room temperature at its optimum level and keeps energy bills in check. Maintaining the temperature inside a commercial or residential building eliminates the need for boiler rooms or complicated air conditioning systems.

Plastic Bottles

I’ve heard numerous complaints about how bottled water is actually harmful to our planet. How it doesn’t decompose very well, etc. Did you know that while a plastic bottle is in the process of decomposition, it releases carbon that contributes to the global warming issues we face?

There are two ways that plastic bottles are used in sustainable architecture. The brick wall is just as it sounds - a wall of plastic bottles that have been stuffed with any type of joint compound (ie. adobe, sand, cement, stucco, clay, plaster, mortar). This creates a stained glass effect that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye and fully functional as a recycled/repurposed product.

The other method for plastic bottle use would be the eco-brick. An eco-brick is simply a plastic bottle that has been stuffed with a non-biodegradable material (ie. plastic, wrappers, styrofoam). A bamboo stick or other object is then used to pack the material tightly into the bottle. Sticking to one brand of plastic bottle will ensure symmetry and create a smooth process for putting the eco-bricks together in various combinations.

There are hundreds of new techniques that have been incorporated into sustainable architecture and Tulsa architects are embracing this newfound technology with enthusiasm and a spirit towards making every building energy efficient and a nice addition to the city landscape.


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