11 Jan 2021
NBS or Nature Based Solutions are increasingly being used in city environments by consulting engineers to reduce social stresses and improve function. When looking at any highly built-up area, the seemingly endless paving, buildings and other artificial structures typically found there only add to the problem of a worsening climate.
This is because when there is a lack of biodiversity in any area, it greatly reduces its flexibility and resilience. Green infrastructure or (GI) actively mitigates the issues faced by grey infrastructure, as well as making them better places to reside. Building design professionals know that traditional infrastructure solutions are simply no longer suitable for a greener future.
Quality of Air, Water & Other Benefits
Innovative NBS strategies can be used by building services design consultants to address problems like poor water quality in urban areas, whilst also being beneficial in other sustainable development aspects. Land that’s usually covered by harsh materials like asphalt and concrete can cause issues not only in their own locale but in areas beyond their own boundaries.
A problem that can exist in areas that are primarily covered in artificial surfaces is water-run offer that occurs when it rains. This water - if not properly channelled - can result in reduced water quality, flooding and in some cases, soil erosion.
With no trees or greenery in place, spaces can suffer with thermal stress during hot weather and actively prevent people from using outdoor areas. This can then force people to rely on air-conditioned indoor spaces - pushing up power consumption. Solar radiation can be a real problem, particularly when harsh surfaces can reflect extreme temperatures back at anyone in the vicinity.
Diminishing Biodiversity Causes Issues
Perhaps the biggest impact of the built environment is the damage it does to wildlife habitats, as roads and buildings replace areas they once called home. Creating natural ‘islands’ in an otherwise harsh environment goes some way to help the matter, although wildlife can suffer from abiotic issues like vehicle pollution, fragmented habitats and noise.
Building services design consultants are helping to create green solutions that minimise all of these issues to create better, healthier and less impacted urban areas for everyone. The more these nature based solutions appear, the more assistance they provide in reducing the impact of asphalted and concreted areas.
Continuing to Fight for a Greener Construction Industry
At Varming, we are proud to say that we are actively participating in the effort to make the construction industry cleaner and more eco-friendly in every way. We’ve been going since the mid-1940s and so we’ve seen big changes during that time, but we’ve still got a long way to go until we reach our goal where buildings and nature exist in perfect harmony.