We are very conscious of getting the best use of any previously developed or brownfield site. We avoid building on a greenfield site but we are interested in site rehabilitation. Whether it's an extension for a house or a high density housing project we engage all the
important elements that contribute to a more ecological and sustainable living. Some of these elements include: Reducing the heat island effect, urban agriculture/permaculture, community connectivity, dominant wind patterns, soil quality and suitability, orientation etc.
To achieve water efficiency the first step is to harvest the rainwater appropriately in each site. We decrease next the use of water through appropriate low flow faucets and fixtures. We reprocess grey water for irrigation and flushing the toilets when applicable.
In the third step we aim to reduce the site stormwater through efficient landscaping/xeriscaping and pervious paving.
At level-ak we are passionate about pushing the boundaries of design. For us, the most important part of the design process is understanding the context and the environment of the site that we are working on. We propose that there are no strict guidelines that dictate our design philosophy; everything must be taken with respect to the existing character of a space or a place.
We capture design elements such as light, ventilation and nature to create lively and liveable spaces. We are passionate about creating spaces and forms that have a seamless connection to the natural world.
Our concern as future architects and builders is to create a more sustainable environment. It is the main pillar that leads to a more sustainable social and economical growth.
Above all, we seek to tread lightly on the environment in all of our projects. Based on the LEED model we tend to apply the following:
Energy and Atmosphere
To reduce green house emissions we will have to rely on more clean renewable energy in the future whether solar, wind or geothermal. We are very careful with the use of this energy as it has to be used in the most efficient way. Applying Passive design principles reduces the reliance of mechanical heating and cooling. Phase change materials, LED, efficient appliances, solar glass, heat pumps and inverter air conditioners are some of the new technologies available to use this energy efficiently.
Materials and resources
Having worked with clients who suffers from asthma and allergies made us even more conscious on the way we specify materials that are free from toxic chemicals as VOC and formaldehyde. Specifying high performance building envelopes and interior surfaces
are an integral part of our practice.
The embodied energy in the specified materials is taken in consideration as well as the disposability or recycling of the existing materials. We use timber whether recycling, from plantation or FSC certified only. We manage our solid waste during demolition and construction. We will be keen to use biodegradable materials in the future.
Indoor environmental quality
According to LEED 90% of our lives are spent indoor. Indoor air can have 2-5 times more pollutants than outdoor air thats why it has a negative effect on our health.
Improving the ventilation, insulation, draught proofing, thermal mass, low emitting materials, natural sun and day lights, screening and shading are essential to improve the indoor air quality.
Furthermore, according to a study published by NASA, "the leaves, roots, soil, and associated microorganisms of plants have been evaluated as a possible means of reducing indoor air pollutants."Being passionate about nature and having experimented with natural elements, water and plants indoor, we can confirm that certain indoor plants can absorb dust and maintain a pleasant atmosphere.
Good Design is the most crucial in achieving long term sustainability. Without an understanding of the context of the site and its micro-climate, the basic principles of passive design and innovation in space design all the other points will be impaired.
Maintenance and management
Designing and specifying is one component towards sustainability, it's the maintenance and management of the projects that will determine sustainable longevity