Architects’ Perceptions about Sustainable Design Practice and the Support Provided for This by Digital Tools: A Study in Australia
2.1. Sustainable Design Practices in Australia
2.2. Digital Design Environments in Supporting Sustainable Design
3. Research Method
3.1. Semi-Structured Interview
3.2. Main Themes for Encoding Data
4.1. Overall Distribution of Factors Affecting the Architects’ Sustainable Design Practices
4.2. Architects’ Perceptions of Sustainable Design Practices in Relation to Individual Themes
5. Discussion and Conclusions
5.1. External Factors Affecting the Sustainable Design Practices of Architects
5.2. Internal Factors Affecting the Sustainable Design Practices of Architects
5.3. How Digital Design Environments Support Design Thinking and Creativity in the Sustainable Practice?
- Firstly, architects consider that external factors such as technologies, regulations, the budget and client, affect their sustainable design practices most significantly. Among the external factors, ‘digital design technologies’ is potentially the most dominant, in light of their current limitations in adequately supporting sustainable design. Other external factors such as ‘budget’ can also significantly affect an architect’s sustainable design practice.
- Secondly, architects referred to the term ‘design thinking’ most frequently when considering sustainable design in the interviews, more than terms related to digital tools. For many participants, digital tools only support architects to make more informed decisions, and do not replace architects’ personal experiences or creativity.
- Thirdly, among internal factors, architects hold negative attitudes towards their own ‘digital skillsets’, which is indicative of current computational design skills not being sufficient to support sustainable design. Architects discussed the significant effort and time required for software training, and expressed the belief that upskilling would not always add value to their practice. Architects also had negative experiences of the implementation of ‘sustainable design principles’, and some do not consider the implementation of sustainable principles to be their responsibility.
- Fourthly, in term of design cognition related factors, architects are relatively satisfied with the capacity of their current digital design environments for supporting ‘building performance analysis’, and the environments’ ability to ‘provide design options and alternatives’.
- Firstly, there is an urgent need for a critical review of the level of digital design skillsets and sustainable design knowledge available to architects. This can be imparted by architectural education innovation and continuing professional development (CPD), to better prepare the future generation of architects and respond to the UN’s SDGs.
- Secondly, the responsibilities of architects for sustainable design during their practices need further clarification and exploration, to better assure that architects would be willing to take responsibilities for sustainable design and to collaborate with ESD consultants more clearly and effectively. In addition, it is also important to facilitate clear and effective communications between architects and clients about the importance and full benefits of implementing sustainable design, to encourage clients to invest in longer-term visions.
- Thirdly, it is evident that digital design environments support BPA effectively, and this is especially the case in recent BIM tools . Such capabilities can assist architects’ decision making in sustainable design; however, the effect and benefits are also largely dependent on how architects use the tools, since digital tools alone are not the problem solvers.
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Conflicts of Interest
- Aye, L.; Ngo, T.; Crawford, R.H.; Gammampila, R.; Mendis, P. Life cycle greenhouse gas emissions and energy analysis of prefabricated reusable building modules. Energy Build. 2012, 47, 159–168. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Abergel, T.; Dean, B.; Dulac, J. UN Environment and International Energy Agency (2017): Towards a Zero-Emission, Efficient, and Resilient Buildings and Construction Sector. Global Status Report. 2017. Available online: https://wedocs.unep.org/20.500.11822/27140 (accessed on 10 October 2022).
- Francesco, A.; Umberto, D. Chapter 3—From Efficient to Sustainable and Zero Energy Consumption Buildings. In Handbook of Energy Efficiency in Buildings; Butterworth-Heinemann: Oxford, UK, 2019; pp. 75–205. [Google Scholar]
- Report, B. World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED): Our Common Future; Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK, 1987. [Google Scholar]
- McLennan, J. The Philosophy of Sustainable Design; Ecotone Publishing Company LLC: Columbia, SC, USA, 2004. [Google Scholar]
- Akadiri, P.O.; Chinyio, E.A.; Olomolaiye, P.O. Design of A Sustainable Building: A Conceptual Framework for Implementing Sustainability in the Building Sector. Buildings 2012, 2, 126–152. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Yu, R.; Ostwald, M.J. Comparing Architects’ Perceptions of the Usefulness of Digital Design Environments with their Aspirations for Sustainable Design in Australia. J. Sustain. Archit. Civ. Eng. 2021, 2021, 5–20. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Naboni, E. Sustainable Design Teams, Methods and Tools in International Practice. DETAIL Green 2014, 14, 68–73. [Google Scholar]
- Weytjens, L.; Verbeeck, G. Towards “architect-friendly” energy evaluation tools. In Proceedings of the 2010 Spring Simulation Multiconference, Orlando, FL, USA, 11–15 April 2010; Society for Computer Simulation International: Orlando, FL, USA. [Google Scholar]
- Rogers, R.; Power, A. Cities for a Small Country; Faber and Farber: London, UK, 2000. [Google Scholar]
- Kongela, S.M. Sustainability potential awareness among built environment stakeholders: Experience from Tanzania. Int. J. Build. Pathol. Adapt. 2021, ahead-of-print. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Netto, S.V.D.F.; Sobral, M.F.F.; Ribeiro, A.R.B.; Soares, G.R.D.L. Concepts and forms of greenwashing: A systematic review. Environ. Sci. Eur. 2020, 32, 19. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Mohammed, A.B. Sustainable design strategy optimizing green architecture path based on sustainability. HBRC J. 2021, 17, 461–490. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Watson, D. Environment and Architecture. In Discipline of Architecture; Piotrowski, A., Robinson, J.W., Eds.; University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis, MN, USA, 2001; pp. 158–172. [Google Scholar]
- WBDG. WBDG Sustainable Committee, Sustainable; Whole Building Design Guide: Washington, DC, USA, 2011. [Google Scholar]
- Guy, S.; Farmer, G. Reinterpreting Sustainable Architecture: The Place of Technology. J. Archit. Educ. 2001, 54, 140–148. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Iqbal, I.; Al-Homoud, M. Parametric analysis of alternative energy conservation measures in an office building in hot and humid climate. Build. Environ. 2007, 42, 2166–2177. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Abanda, F.H.; Byers, L. An investigation of the impact of building orientation on energy consumption in a domestic building using emerging BIM (Building Information Modelling). Energy 2016, 97, 517–527. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Tian, Z.; Zhang, X.; Jin, X.; Zhou, X.; Si, B.; Shi, X. Towards adoption of building energy simulation and optimization for passive building design: A survey and a review. Energy Build. 2018, 158, 1306–1316. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Bragança, L.; Vieira, S.M.; Andrade, J.B. Early Stage Design Decisions: The Way to Achieve Sustainable Buildings at Lower Costs. Sci. World J. 2014, 2014, 365364. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
- Martek, I.; Hosseini, M.R.; Shrestha, A.; Edwards, D.J.; Durdyev, S. Barriers inhibiting the transition to sustainability within the Australian construction industry: An investigation of technical and social interactions. J. Clean. Prod. 2019, 211, 281–292. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Soebarto, V.; Hopfe, C.; Crawley, D.; Rawal, R. Capturing the views of architects about building performance simulation to be used during design processes. In Proceedings of the 14th International Conference of IBPSA: Building Simulation 2015, Hyderabad, India, 7 December 2015–9 December 2015. [Google Scholar]
- Whyte, J.; Levitt, R. Information Management and the Management of Projects. The Oxford Handbook of Project Management; Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK, 2011. [Google Scholar]
- Cory, C.; Bozell, D. 3D Modeling for the Architectural Engineering and Construction Industry. In Proceedings of the International Conference Graphicon, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, 27–30 September 2001. [Google Scholar]
- Azhar, S. Building Information Modeling (BIM): Trends, Benefits, Risks, and Challenges for the AEC Industry. Leadersh. Manag. Eng. 2011, 11, 241–252. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Ramilo, R.; Embi, M.R. Key determinants and barriers in digital innovation among small architectural organizations. J. Inf. Technol. Constr. 2014, 19, 188–209. [Google Scholar]
- Inyim, P.; Rivera, J.; Zhu, Y. Integration of Building Information Modeling and Economic and Environmental Impact Analysis to Support Sustainable Building Design. J. Manag. Eng. 2015, 31, A4014002. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Jalaei, F.; Jrade, A. An Automated BIM Model to Conceptually Design, Analyze, Simulate, and Assess Sustainable Building Projects. J. Constr. Eng. 2014, 2014, 672896. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Stumpf, A.; Kim, H.; Jenicek, E. Early Design Energy Analysis Using BIMs (Building Information Models). In Building a Sustainable Future; American Society of Civil Engineers: Reston, VA, USA, 2009; pp. 426–436. [Google Scholar]
- Yu, R.; Gu, N.; Ostwald, M.J. Computational Design: Technology, Cognition and Environments, 1st ed.; CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, USA; Taylor & Francis Group: Boca Raton, FL, USA, 2021. [Google Scholar]
- Yu, R.; Gu, N.; Ostwald, M. Evaluating creativity in parametric design environments and geometric modelling environments. Archit. Sci. Rev. 2018, 61, 443–453. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Agkathidis, A. Implementing biomorphic design–design methods in undergraduate architectural education. In Proceedings of the 34th eCAADe Conference, Oulu, Finland, 22–26 August 2016. [Google Scholar]
- Agirbas, A. The Use of Simulation for Creating Folding Structures: A Teaching Model. In Proceedings of the 35th eCAADe Conference, Rome, Italy, 20–22 September 2017. [Google Scholar]
- Shi, X.; Fang, X.; Chen, Z.; Phillips, T.K.; Fukuda, H. A Didactic Pedagogical Approach toward Sustainable Architectural Education through Robotic Tectonics. Sustainability 2020, 12, 1757. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- DeJonckheere, M.; Vaughn, L.M. Semistructured interviewing in primary care research: A balance of relationship and rigour. Fam. Med. Community Health 2019, 7, e000057. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Bartholomew, K.; Henderson, A.J.Z.; Marcia, J.E. Coded semistructured Interviews in Social Psychological Research; Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK, 2000. [Google Scholar]
- Nasereddin, M.; Price, A. Addressing the capital cost barrier to sustainable construction. Dev. Built Environ. 2021, 7, 100049. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Kiss, B. Exploring transaction costs in passive house-oriented retrofitting. J. Clean. Prod. 2016, 123, 65–76. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Badea, A.; Baracu, T.; Dinca, C.; Tutica, D.; Grigore, R.; Anastasiu, M. A life-cycle cost analysis of the passive house “POLITEHNICA” from Bucharest. Energy Build. 2014, 80, 542–555. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Pitts, A. Passive House and Low Energy Buildings: Barriers and Opportunities for Future Development within UK Practice. Sustainability 2017, 9, 272. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Bonenberg, W.; Kapliński, O. The Architect and the Paradigms of Sustainable Development: A Review of Dilemmas. Sustainability 2018, 10, 100. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Chang, Y.S.; Chien, Y.H.; Lin, H.C.; Chen, M.Y.; Hsieh, H.H. Effects of 3D CAD applications on the design creativity of students with different representational abilities. Comput. Hum. Behav. 2016, 65, 107–113. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Al-Saggaf, A.; Taha, M.; Hegazy, T.; Ahmed, H. Towards Sustainable Building Design: The Impact of Architectural Design Features on Cooling Energy Consumption and Cost in Saudi Arabia. Procedia Manuf. 2020, 44, 140–147. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Grant, E.J. Mainstreaming environmental education for architects: The need for basic literacies. Build. Cities 2020, 1, 538–549. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Feria, M.; Amado, M. Architectural Design: Sustainability in the Decision-Making Process. Buildings 2019, 9, 135. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Kanters, J.; Horvat, M.; Dubois, M.-C. Tools and methods used by architects for solar design. Energy Build. 2014, 68, 721–731. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Wong, N.H. Grand Challenges in Sustainable Design and Construction. Front. Built Environ. 2015, 1, 22. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Zboinska, M.A. Influence of a hybrid digital toolset on the creative behaviors of designers in early-stage design. J. Comput. Des. Eng. 2019, 6, 675–692. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Shadram, F.; Johansson, T.D.; Lu, W.; Schade, J.; Olofsson, T. An integrated BIM-based framework for minimizing embodied energy during building design. Energy Build. 2016, 128, 592–604. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Nizam, R.S.; Zhang, C.; Tian, L. A BIM based tool for assessing embodied energy for buildings. Energy Build. 2018, 170, 1–14. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Lewis, A.M.; Valdes-Vasquez, R.; Clevenger, C.; Shealy, T. BIM Energy Modeling: Case Study of a Teaching Module for Sustainable Design and Construction Courses. J. Prof. Issues Eng. Educ. Pract. 2015, 141, C5014005. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Wong, J.K.W.; Zhou, J. Enhancing environmental sustainability over building life cycles through green BIM: A review. Autom. Constr. 2015, 57, 156–165. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Mohammadzadeh, A.; Taghavifar, H. A robust fuzzy control approach for path-following control of autonomous vehicles. Soft Comput. 2020, 24, 3223–3235. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
|1||How many years of professional architectural experience do you have?|
|2||What types of buildings are your main focus?|
|3||Where are you currently working, and where have you worked previously?|
|Sustainable design practice||1||What do you feel is the extent, of the application of sustainable design principles in current architectural design practice?|
|2||Is sustainable design currently considered at every scale in your practice, in the projects that your workplace undertakes? If not, then what obstacles are currently preventing it? |
In your experience do clients care about sustainability?
|3||What do you think about the possible future directions of architectural design for sustainability? |
What do you think may be the future directions for sustainable design in general?
|4||How could sustainable design principles be more widely applied?|
|Digital tools||5||What are the main digital tools you are using in your practice?|
|6||What do you think of current digital tools, in terms of their capacity to support or challenge design thinking and creativity?|
|Digital tools in supporting sustainable design||7||What do you think of current digital tools, in terms of their ability to support sustainable design? |
What do you think are the biggest challenges currently in this area?
|8||Do you predict that digital design tools will play an increasingly large part in the future of sustainable design? |
Do you think that advancements in the areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), may eventually change the role of architects?
|9||Do you think that digital design tools will play a more or less important role in promoting sustainable design?|
|Main Themes||Detailed Breakdown of Factors|
|Internal||Digital skillsets; Sustainable design principles|
|External||Budget; Client’s brief; Digital design technologies; Nature of practice; Regulation|
|Design cognition||Building performance analysis; Data-driven design and rule algorithm; Decision making; |
Problem solving; Providing options; Streamlining process;
Visualisation/simulation; Supporting design thinking and creativity
Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Share and Cite
Yu, R.; Gu, N.; Ostwald, M.J. Architects’ Perceptions about Sustainable Design Practice and the Support Provided for This by Digital Tools: A Study in Australia. Sustainability 2022, 14, 13849. https://doi.org/10.3390/su142113849
Yu R, Gu N, Ostwald MJ. Architects’ Perceptions about Sustainable Design Practice and the Support Provided for This by Digital Tools: A Study in Australia. Sustainability. 2022; 14(21):13849. https://doi.org/10.3390/su142113849Chicago/Turabian Style
Yu, Rongrong, Ning Gu, and Michael J. Ostwald. 2022. "Architects’ Perceptions about Sustainable Design Practice and the Support Provided for This by Digital Tools: A Study in Australia" Sustainability 14, no. 21: 13849. https://doi.org/10.3390/su142113849