These days, environmentalists aren’t only interested in saving the earth. They’re also consumed with finding ways to make green living affordable, stylish, and fun. From moss bathmats to re-imagined architecture, eco-friendly designs now rival traditional design schools of thought in appearance and functionality. Below, we explore some of today’s best green design trends:
Green Design Trends: Incredible Roofs
Green roofing has been around in some communities for decades, but only recently has it caught on as a worldwide trend. These eco-friendly roofs are visually pleasing, but also incredibly kind to the earth. They can reduce a phenomenon known as the urban heat island, a troubling trend where urban areas measure higher temperatures than surrounding rural areas, and the roofs can also reduce the building’s energy consumption.
Green roofing designs vary greatly. All follow the basic requirement of having a roof at least partially covered by vegetation and a growing medium. Beneath the top layer sits a waterproof membrane, root barrier, and drainage and irrigation systems, all of which make the green roof possible. This construction allows the roof to filter carbon dioxide and other pollutants out of the air and rainwater. Green roofing also provides a habitat for many local animals.
Green roofs are becoming more and more commonplace as design teams all over the world work to create sustainable architecture. Some of the most famous green roofing projects include Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall in Japan, Chicago City Hall, and Singapore’s School of Art and Design (shown below in their respective orders).
Today’s Best Green Design Trends: Cargotecture
Cargotecture refers to buildings made from intermodal containers. Also called ISO shipping containers, these rectangular structures range from 8 to 56 feet wide and make for convenient, eco-friendly living spaces. Though the cargo containers themselves fail to leave much of an impression on the eye, designers have used them to create plenty of architecturally intriguing buildings.
Cargotecture is environmentally friendly for many reasons. The sturdy containers are extremely resistant to natural disasters, and greatly reduce heating and cooling costs. The homes are easily installed (it only takes a few hours to install the simpler types), and because they sit lightly upon the ground, there is little disturbance to the surrounding environment.
Since cargotecture is relatively inexpensive, durable, and easy to maintain, some see it as a solution for the lack of proper housing in poor countries. To see just how versatile these homes can be, check out the two videos below. The first shows how a shipping container can easily be transformed into a cabin, and the second follows a team as they install cargotecture in Maui.