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Why 'A little Architecture Studio'...

In a world where identities change easily to align with popular trends, it's important remain authentic. This is just one of many architectural practices that creates designs for private homeowners. However, it is also a bit different to those practices. The studio practices bioclimatic and passive sustainable design. The office is an advocate for design for wellbeing and climate resilience.

Why sustainable homes...

Statistics vary annually but around 20% of annual UK carbon emissions are from energy used in homes. 20% might not sound like much but when converted to the hundreds of metric tons that it actually represents, the importance of making homes energy efficient becomes immediate. It is critical to reduce carbon emissions in order to slow down climate change, especially now that we are in a state of climate emergency.

However, in order to reduce carbon emissions from space heating demand (which is where most of our energy use comes from in homes), we need to insulate houses, make them more air tight and perhaps use sunlight to warm them. The problem here is that a warming climate is going to increase overheating risk which will be exacerbated by these measures. Predicted rising temperatures mean that we need to ensure that homes are climate resilient; that they will be comfortable both now and in 30years time. We can introduce shading, and capitalise on prevailing winds for natural cross and stack ventilation in order to avoid having to use energy to cool houses. Planting deciduous trees at a correct distance can also provide shade in the summer and allow in light and warmth in the winter.

So, it's evident that thermal comfort and energy use (therefore carbon emissions) are interrelated however another aspect of wellbeing that is fast coming to the forefront is mental wellbeing. Mental illness has been a secret pandemic for decades. One in four people have been known to experience it in some form at some point in their lives. Mind, body and soul connections have been discussed in 'alternative' fields for centuries and now we have scientific studies that prove the existence of stress-related physiological illnesses.

Now that we know this, it becomes imperative to design for health and wellbeing. One way of doing this is through Biophilic design. Research has shown that biophilic design can reduce stress, blood pressure levels, and increase productivity and creativity.

"Biophilia is an innate and genetically determined affinity of human beings with the natural world" ~ E. O. Wilson

Biophilic design refers to the incorporation of nature, either directly or indirectly in to homes. Simple things like ensuring you have a view (over planting if possible), access to daylight in each room, good airflow to reduce carbon dioxide levels and increase oxygen supply can help to improve your sense of wellbeing. Beautiful places with access to nature can also reduce crime rates in areas and increase economic value.

Home should be a place for respite and comfort. When we leave home, most of us want to leave feeling better than we did when we got back in. Comfort and wellbeing are inextricably linked to the natural environment which makes sustainability vital to our health as well as the health of the planet.

That's why we don't just 'draw up plans' here, we design little bits of sustainable architecture' within whatever means you have.


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