Sustainable architecture is the design of sustainable buildings. By implementing the principles of sustainable architecture, the intention is to reduce the overall environmental impact of a building from the construction phase through to the long term running costs of the building (fuel consumption, etc.)
The principles of sustainable architecture include: the appropriate positioning of a building on a site to maximise solar gain; using sustainable building materials; efficiency of heating and cooling systems; alternative energy sources such as solar hot water, ground / air / water source heat pumps, wind power; rainwater harvesting for gardening and washing; on-site power generation such as solar and wind powered collectors; and on-site waste management such as green roofs that filter and control stormwater runoff.
An energy audit is a detailed evaluation of energy consumption within a building. Utility bills are collected in order to evaluate the energy usage and a visual inspection is carried out to record the types of electrical items being used and the energy consumption ratings of those items. Interviews with the building users are then carried out in order to understand energy consumption patterns.
The objective is to identify any appropriate energy conservation measures which can be taken to reduce energy consumption and ultimately reduce the running costs of a building.