Because Maui is such a popular place for people to live, the possibility of over-building is always a concern. Big houses, big buildings, and no concern for our unique environment have led to regulations to address these concerns.
Anyone considering new construction needs to be aware of environmental factors during the design phase of either a home or commercial property. Sustainability is a very important consideration and can be implemented throughout a design. Working with your architect can take in such environmental considerations in your design.
Remember designing your new Maui building doesn’t have to be an exercise in what you can’t do. Understanding what you can do in your design can make the process easier as well as help keep Maui one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Construction of any kind generally has a direct effect on the environment. In Maui, that effect is greatly magnified, particularly with the water’s ecosystem.
Events such as:
• Plastic pollution
• Marine debris
• Invasive species
• Air pollution
Are, in part, the result of increased construction on Maui, as well as tourism. The irony is that tourism is a large part of Maui’s economy but has its own environmental effects. From the hotels to the Valley Island infrastructure, tourism’s impact includes energy use, pollution, and waste, habitat loss of flora and fauna, as well as the potential for water shortages. Sea levels around Hawaii have been increasing for many years. One estimate shows that levels rise about one inch every four years. Warming oceans and melting ice could accelerate the process even further.
Additionally, the drains that remove floodwaters from island areas could have an opposite effect when the sea levels rise even farther when high tide hits. Seawater that floods Maui can damage infrastructure, damage wetlands, and erode more sand from beaches. Offshore hurricanes and tropical storms can push water back onto the Island even when there is no rain on the Island itself. Storm surge can make things even worse, even if the storm never makes landfall.
These concerns should be taken under advisement when designing a new building for construction in Maui to both mitigate possible damages as well as reduce the structure’s impact.
Combating Climate Change
Because the entire state is a series of detached islands, Maui is more vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
The Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative seeks to reduce Hawaii’s dependence on imported fossil fuel by 2045. The goal is to bring the entire state to all clean energy to replace expensive imported fuels. Part of this goal is designing homes and buildings that are aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly to reduce the structure’s overall environmental impact both for construction and long-term use.
A recent proposal by the Maui City Council would require residential one- and two-family homes over 5,000 square feet to be “zero net energy homes.” Because these homes take up space that would be otherwise available for more affordable housing, the idea is to offset the impact of both the construction process and the energy use that a home this size will make over its useful life.
Pro Draft Can Help Design Your Sustainable Maui Project
After you’ve decided to build your home or business in Maui, the next step is to make sure that it’s not only sound but fits well into Maui’s environment by including an environmental design that is suitable. When you’re ready to begin building or renovating a house or commercial property, Pro Draft is ready to help with architecture, drawings, blueprints, permits, and to answer all of your questions before the first day of construction. We’re happy to help and will work to ensure your project is exactly the way you envision.