ECO-DESIGN IN CONTRUCTION AND ARCHITECTURE
Prof. PhD.eng. Petruţa BLAGA, “Petru Maior” University of Tg.Mureş
Prof. PhD.eng. Codruţa BOLOŞ, “Petru Maior” University of Tg.Mureş
Buildings’ design, construction and maintenance have an extraordinary impact
on environment and natural resources. It has become necessary to make the future
constructions ingeniously so as to use a minimum quantity of energy, to produce
minimum pollution, minimum energy cost and at the same time to increase the
comfort, health and safety of the people that live and work there.
This paper approaches the problem of architecture and constructions within
the context of improving life quality and environment protection.
The sustainable development approaches the concept of life quality in its
complexity namely from the economic, social, cultural and environmental point of
view thus promoting the balance between economic development, social equity, the
efficient use of resources and environment conservation both on short and long term.
The key element of sustainable development is represented by the reconciliation
between society development process and environment quality, a reconciliation that
is based on the integrated process for making decisions both on the global and
regional, national or local level.
Sustainable development is a new concept. It is the latest expression of a very
old ethics that involves people’s relations to the environment and the present
generation’s responsibilities for the ones to come .
Sustainable development offers a framework for the communities to:
– use resources efficiently;
– create efficient infrastructures;
– protect and improve life’s quality:
– create new business activities to consolidate economy.
This paper approaches the issue of architecture and constructions within the
context of improving life’s quality and environment protection.
Ecological elements of modern architecture
Modern constructions have radically broken with styles and patterns already
consecrated by advancing something new in the architecture and constructions area.
Here, as in any other domain, the novelties were and are still regarded with
skepticism and are hardly accepted; new materials and technologies come up and
change the construction ways, architecture and constructions ‘plans are changed to
adapt to the present life style and new conceptions are invented for the future
The analysis of the interaction between sustainable development and ecological
quality for the architecture and the design of modern constructions the following
aspects are considered:
The reduction of consume, especially that of energy from the conventional
Thus from an ecological point of view it is recommended to use non-conventional
energy (eolian, solar etc.) the so-called bio-climate constructions (favorable to
environment elements) being known in this respect and which represent the object
of bio-climate architecture.
Use of prefabricates materials. At present the architects and constructors use
modular materials for creating bold shapes with a lot of glass and metal. At the
same time, the architects and designers that are aware of the dangerous influence
of some materials used in constructions (plastic, synthetic materials, additives
etc.), use more and more ecological materials (wood, ecological paints etc.).
Harmony between new and old. The desire to protect the environment and to
preserve the historic architecture inspires the architects to reuse and change the
utility of an old building or of an older structure. Thus there is the tendency to
build houses on the skeleton of older constructions (factories, warehouses etc.)
Bionic architecture. By studying the way the biological and ecological systems
function, the bionic architecture considers the construction as a complex organism
with complex functions that regulate by themselves. Thus the flexibility of
constructions is provided, as well as a “universal design” that allows their use by
people of different ages with different needs an easy movement inside and a
Integration of green places in the construction plan. The increased interest for an
as much natural architecture as possible encourages the builders to include the
spaces around the house in its design.
Increase of storing capacity. It is recommended that even from the planning stage
to include specially arranged rooms for storing.
Integration of different philosophies in the architectural design (examples: Feng
Shui, Vastu Shastra etc.).
Ecological design – Eco-design. At present eco-design is the most interesting
trend in architecture and constructions, as a result of the increased interest in the
All the above-mentioned aspects are actually contained in the ecological
Eco-design in architecture and constructions
From the legal point of view, the eco-design refers to the planning of a product
by taking into consideration its state at the end of the use period, so as any sub-
assemble or component to be easily recycled.
Generally speaking, eco-design refers to the planning of a product by taking
into consideration the direct impact on the environment of all stages of the product’s
life cycle: planning (~ 80% of the product’s impact on the environment can be
determined in the phase of product planning) execution, exploitation, transport,
dissembling, storing and recycling.
The philosophy of the 6 RE  used in the eco-design indicates the way eco-
design influences a product life cycle from pollution reduction point of view. Thus
the 6 RE are the following:
1. RE-think: the product and its functions are RE-thought for the purpose of
making the product efficient by reducing the energies and other natural resources
that are used;
2. RE-duce: the material and energy consume is RE-duced for the entire product life
3. RE-place: the dangerous substances are RE-placed by more ecological ones;
4. RE-cycle: the materials that can be RE-cycled are selected and the product is
designed so as to be easily dissembled for Re-cycling;
5. RE-use: the product is designed so as its parts to be Re-used;
6. RE-pair: a product is designed so as to be easily Re-paired to prolong its life
The mathematical evaluation of a product from ecological point of view can be
made by using the standard ecologic indicator.
The ecologic indicator of a material or process is a number that indicates the
impact on the environment of a material or process, based on data from its estimated
The standard ecologic indicator for each type of material used in design is
indicated in the table . With the help of these indicators (IES) any designer can
analyze the impact of the products on the environment for the life cycle period.
The design, construction and maintenance of buildings have an extraordinary
impact on environment and natural resources. All these constructions consume about
a third of the world-consumed energy and two-thirds from electricity . This is why
it is necessary for the future constructions to be made ingeniously so as to use a
minimum quantity of energy, to produce minimum pollution and a minimum cost for
energy but, at the same time, to increase the comfort, health and safety of the people
that live and work in them.
Traditional constructions rarely take into consideration the interdependence
between their components, the surroundings and their dwellers. They consume more
resources than necessary; have a negative impact on the environment and result into
large quantities of wastes.
The ecological constructions contribute to the resources preservation; they take
into consideration the influences on the environment and assure the decrease of
wastes; they create a comfortable ambience favorable to people’s health; they reduce
exploitation and maintenance costs and take into consideration the existent
infrastructure from that area.
The Biological and Ecological Building Institute from New Zeeland set a series
of principles for ecological construction that are based on thorough researches in this
area. These principles that formed the basic concept of ecological houses are the
1. The energy efficiency – involves:
Designing constructions by using the solar energy facilities;
Creating thermal resistance elements for roofs and walls;
The analysis of the materials’ life cycle that are used in constructions;
The centralization of bathroom equipment etc.
2. Water conservation –involves:
Collecting rain water for internal use;
The use of equipment for conserving water;
Reducing irrigation and water spillages etc.
3. Use of materials for ecological constructions- involves:
Using quality lumber that was not treated with toxic substances;
Selecting organic non-volatile and non-toxic components;
Selecting materials which allow the building to “breathe” etc.
4. Minimum impact on environment
Planting local bushes and making gardens;
Installing waste bins in the house and in the garden etc.
5. Environment protection and maintenance
Reducing CO2 emissions;
Using recyclable materials;
Designing re-usable and recyclable objects;
Reducing wastes and packaging materials;
Reducing resources consume etc.
6. Health and prosperity
Satisfying physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the people who live in the
Taking into consideration lighting, color, sound, temperature, humidity and the
air from the construction for improving interior ambiance;
Reducing emissions etc.
7. Economic performance
Establishing the balance between ecological integrity and economic viability of
8. Using local resources
Using local resources;
Taking into consideration local facilities and utilities etc.
Examples of ecological constructions
The pictures presented bellow represents different ecological constructions.
Integrating construction in the environment
Creating harmony between new and old
Ecological constructions have become more spread representing both a
solution to the special problems related to constructions and a working environment
for a sustainable future.
The European programs for ecological constructions promote the acceptance
by the public of such buildings with their benefits as well as the stimulation of
constructors to adopt ecological methods.
The use of ecological constructions technologies and the use of recyclable
resources for constructions assure a minor impact on environment and create a
healthy and quality ambience
Modern architecture will have to consider the ecological requirements by using
solutions inspired from the survey of the environment where the construction will be
placed, of the local traditions and, consequently, it will have to provide the
construction with a comfortable attractiveness at an acceptable price.
1. Enescu M., Gheorghe I.: Problems of contemporary architecture, Bucharest
Printing Press, 1998;
2. Karsten S., Fraunhofer I.: Introduction to Eco-Design strategies,
3. * * * : Directive 2005/32/ec of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6,
4. * * * : Eco-indicator 99. Manual for designers: A damage oriented method for life
cycle impact assessment, Ministry of Housing, The Netherlands, 2000;
5. * * * : www.protectia-mediului.ro/
6. * * * : www.servicii.incasa.ro/
7. * * * : http://la21.undp.md/localevent.htm
8. * * * : www.magle.dk/music-forums/887-frank-lloyd-wright.html
9. * * * : www.EcoDesignArc.info
10.* * * : www.uneptie.org.