Sustainable Design - Methods and Impacts

A Case Study of the Design of a Low Energy Winery

Caitlyn O'Malley

O Malley Land

There is not just one way to achieve sustainable design in architecture, as the design process varies individually from architect to architect, but there are some commonalities which stay fairly consistent, regardless of design method. The goal of this case study was to document and examine these commonalities through my design process, and communicate them to a broader audience. The major factors addressed in this case study were site, building layout, structural systems, and thermal comfort systems. Each part of the design requires critical thought and analysis before the design can be realized, and the most sustainable solution can be achieved. While the methods of analysis and design differ from architect to architect – some people draw, some people are more reliant on computers – in this case study, drawing was used as the primary method of analysis and design, with a computer program used as a supplemental tool to focus in on the most sustainable design solutions. There is some basic logic used in initial design decisions based on an understanding of how buildings tend to interact with the environment, which can be learned through proper analysis, and then the decisions can be refined through further iterations and more detailed study.

O Malley Winery

While with more time and a smaller scope, the performance of the building in this case study could be more precisely examined, there were still some conclusions that could be drawn. Through this case study, I determined that the most significant factors of sustainable design can be broken down into basic design decisions made from the initial stages of a project. If a building responds well to and properly utilizes its site, as well as being laid out in such a way internally to require less energy for heating, cooling, lighting, or other building functions, as well as being constructed thoughtfully, it will be high-performing, durable, and ultimately sustainable.