Six Stylish Architectural Concepts That Can Save You Money

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a modern house with a pool at night

What comes to mind when you think about architecture?

Perhaps the word conjures up images of the Taj Mahal, its scale undeniably impressive, or Bilbao’s striking Guggenheim Museum, as bold and eye-catching as the art. However, the financial implications of undertaking an architectural project might not cross your mind. In an age where sustainability is at the forefront of everything we do, that long-term consideration extends to costs too. This article highlights six stylish architectural concepts that can save you money, including green roofs, glass walls, and passive ventilation towers. Read on to stay stylish and save money.”

When you gaze up, down, or across at marvellous architecture, you will likely be impressed by its grandeur, scale, style, and originality. You might even wonder what was going through the architect’s mind when inspiration struck and how the original concept planned out on paper has translated into the physical form before you.

But have you ever considered the financial aspects of a piece of architecture?

Those aspects might include the cost to circulate water required for an elegant office lobby waterfall, the ability of one material to better insulate a home than another, reducing the occupier’s energy bills, or the need for glazing to automatically regulate internal temperatures without opening a window (thus reducing the running cost of an air conditioning unit).

They are considerations that have always existed in architecture, but their importance has evolved over time. In the past, architectural designs often prioritised aesthetics and grandeur above all else, with cost considerations rarely extending beyond those associated with the initial construction.

Alt text: Stylish, modern architecture.

However, as society has progressed and become more aware of the need for sustainability, efficiency, and responsible resource management, the focus has extended to encompass the long-term financial implications and operational expenses associated with a building.

But does a consideration of cost mean a sacrifice of style?

Not. It can mean an enhancement of it.

To illustrate, here are six modern architectural concepts that can save you money when incorporated into your next design, allowing passersby to marvel at its appearance while being impressed by your ingenuity, resourcefulness and long-term investment.

Let’s start by adding some warmth and colour.

Green roofs

Also known as a living or eco-roof, a green roof is precisely made green by adding moss, plants and even trees. The concept might remind you of the Hobbit homes in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings. Still, it was popularised by Germany throughout the 1970s, and today it is thought that approximately 10% of all Germanic roofs have been ‘greened’.


Alt text: A building with a green roof.

It is a striking concept, especially when confronted in a city where the natural beauty contrasts with a world of steel and concrete, providing a valuable and unexpected habitat for wildlife whilst also boosting our mental well-being.

But adding a green roof can also help regulate building temperature.

According to research conducted by Nottingham Trent University, the temperature beneath the membrane of a conventional roof was 0.2 degrees centigrade in winter and 32 in summer. With a green roof, those temperatures rise and fall to 4.7 degrees and 17.1 degrees, respectively.

In financial parlance, a green roof can save your client up to 10% on their energy bills, a saving that can quickly add up as the years go by.

Glass walls

A glass wall is an undeniably stylish feature. Adding one can provide a pleasing focal point to a room, capture uninterrupted views across the surrounding landscape, and blur the boundary between ‘out there’ and ‘in here’.

On the other hand, however, you might dismiss glass walls for your home as an expensive vanity project that serves only aesthetics rather than having a tangible financial benefit. Doing so could mean you miss an opportunity to maximise both the visual appeal and cost-saving potential of your architectural design.

A glass wall’s primary benefit is a significant increase in natural light that illuminates a room. By transforming a gloomy sitting room into a bright and airy space to relax, you reduce reliance on artificial lighting, reducing your electricity bill substantially.


“Okay,” you might think, “my electricity bill will go down, but my heating costs will surely rise.”

That is an understandable attitude. After all, a wall contains thick insulation and much more material to prevent heat loss. Fifty years ago, you would probably be right – a wall is better for insulation than glazing – but today, with the addition of thermal breaks, low-emissivity coatings, and insulated spacers, glazing can provide better temperature regulation – keeping rooms cool in summer and warmer in winter.

Aside from financial savings, more natural light is also associated with better mental health. By increasing our connection to the natural shifting light levels and changing seasons, we are improving our body’s circadian rhythm, improving quality of sleep and overall happiness.

Passive ventilation towers

We often use air conditioning units to keep us cool when the weather gets hot. These appliances require a lot of energy to move air around our rooms, often making them noisy, inefficient and expensive to run.

Ventilation towers, however, require no energy to fulfil the same purpose. Instead, these thermal chimneys expel hot air from a building, creating a pressure differential. As a result, cold air is drawn in from lower levels or open spaces, ensuring a natural air flow while eliminating costs associated with air conditioning.

In terms of style, you only have to look at the incorporation of ventilation towers in hot countries like Spain, Italy and Greece to appreciate that they look great and have zero operational costs.

Solar shading structures

Another method of reducing your – or your client’s – reliance on air conditioning units is to construct a solar shading structure, such as a pergola. A pergola is simple to construct – often rated as ‘amateur’ on DIY websites – and can be covered in various plants: rambling roses, sweet-smelling wisteria, ivy or anything else that climbs.


Alternatively, you might opt for a mechanical shading device, pulling a piece of material across a window or over the top of a seating area. Whatever you choose as a solar shading structure, its main purpose is to reduce the amount of thermal energy that enters a building and subsequently has to be removed.

Trombe walls

A Trombe wall acts as a solar collector, harnessing the sun’s thermal energy to provide slow-release natural heating to a building. If you’ve never heard of Trombe walls, they’re located on the south side of a structure and consist of a dark stone inner wall with a layer of glass outside. The sun’s rays are enhanced by the glass and stored in the stone. At the end of the day, when the sun goes down, that stored heat is released into the building, reducing the need for gas central heating.

If you’re not convinced of a Trombe wall’s effectiveness, place your hand on a brick wall that has seen the sun all day. It will likely be far warmer than the evening air temperature, remaining the case for a long time.

Smart switchable glass

It might sound like something straight out of a futuristic sci-fi film, but smart switchable glass is an innovative architectural concept available today. Also known as privacy glass, it consists of two sheets of glass which sandwich a microscopic layer of liquid crystals that change their orientation when stimulated by an electric current.

That electric current can be controlled with a remote control in your hands, changing the glass from transparent to translucent and even opaque with the click of a switch.

Much like the passive ventilation structures or the shade provided by a pergola, smart switchable glass reduces your reliance on energy-intensive air-cooling appliances. It does so in the most stylish way possible, combining cutting-edge innovation with simple science to produce a visually captivating spectacle.

By incorporating these innovative solutions into your next project, you can demonstrate that saving money can be stylish. Whether it’s a natural green roof bursting with life above while locking in heat below or a simple shade that reduces incoming thermal energy, there are ways to be financially savvy regarding architecture.

Ref: 3392.29771

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