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Sustainable Design
 
Sustainability of underground buildings
How would a building or space built underground such as an art gallery, parking garage, etc., be considered sustainable? How can we justify it, especially in the urban context?
Elin Zul
Responses
 
Sustainability of underground buildings
My personal perception, we have to define the function of the space such as a car park; in the morning time, the space can work as a car park, but the space can also converted for skateboarding at midnight. The research needs to be extremely clear in time frame, when is the car normally in and out, etc...
Yg Hui
Sustainability of underground buildings
Potential benefits of building underground include controlling erosion, sedimentation, and stormwater runoff; reducing the environmental impact from the location of a building on a site; conserving existing natural areas or restoring damaged areas, which provides habitat and promotes biodiversity; connecting indoor and outdoor spaces through the introduction of daylight and views; reducing heat islands; reducing energy use; reducing light pollution; innovations in design that substantially exceed a LEED performance credit, such as energy performance, or that address unlisted issues such as acoustic performance, education of occupants, and community development. For more details, visit:
http://www.subsurfacebuildings.com/DiggingfortheGreen.html
Loretta Hall
Sustainability of underground buildings
It is very difficult to apply blanket statements and say that underground buildings are more sustainable.

One of the advantages of going underground is reduction of temperature variation and hence less reliance on mechanical systems. However, this is possible only if natural ventilation systems are adequately provided.

If you are talking of basement car parks, I don't think they become sustainable just because they are underground. In fact, compared to an on ground space, they entail larger construction and maintenance costs.

Of course, the debate takes a new complexion if you start talking about land value and land preservation. Multistory structures (and hence basements included) reduce the ground sprawl and hence can be considered a viable option when land is really scarce.

I guess there would be many more facets of this and it would require a study of the many different aspects of sustainability.
Vishwanath Kashikar
Sustainability of underground buildings
Using underground areas effectively releases the 'rooftop' to another potential use-so many cities of the world neglect their rooftops,both as potential sources for water collection, and as a chance to contribute to the 'greening' of their city. Looking across many Western cityscapes is like looking at a forest of plant rooms, expanses of metal decking and ugly elements of architecture, aspects of which do not appear in consultant's glossy brochures.
William Kent
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