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Would you rather have a balcony or an extra room in your house?

In the times we are living in having a balcony or a terrace is often overlooked, with all the uprising population and the need for extra space in a household. Balconies and terraces are not just buildings’ extensions or a space that was not built intentionally. When an architect adds an open space to a household, he is well aware that the unit’s value will rise by an average of 12% while a balcony is a great form for light to a place.

New modern townhouses seen in Berlin, Germany

Why do we have balconies?

Generally, a balcony is a wonderful choice for oneself to go outside in the morning time and enjoy your coffee or late in the evening when you want to have a date with a book. It is also a great space for someone who wants to have a small garden at home where there is always sun and light. Another use for balconies is the elegance it adds to a social gathering with a touch of fresh air. When it comes to building an outdoor space from the beginning, there are several types of balconies and each serve on its own way.

  1. Cantilevered balconies
    This kind of balconies need to be considered and designed in advance, as it requires weight consideration because it imposes large load on the building itself. The ultimate way to ponder this concept is to use timber joists along with concrete with a maximum 1500-1800mm depth. The smaller the depth the less bouncy the balcony gets.
  2. Stacked on pillars
    By far, it is the most popular balcony design we have seen in the past century. This type of balconies is supported vertically with pillars and posts. In fact, it is the most effective way to implement a balcony as it has no direct weight effect on the balcony without compromising the aesthetic of it.
  3. Hung balconies
    Is the kind you realize you need when it’s too late but in reality, it is not. A hung balcony can be simply created by installing a concrete plate at 45 degrees, that connects to the house from outside and attached with steel cables to the wall. The balcony in this scenario is perpendicular to the building and fully independent from it.

Balconies enhance the quality of life in an undebatable manner. For any pet owner, an outdoor space serves the need for an animal to have fresh air and access the outer world without putting them in danger of getting lost. Another advantage of a balcony is that you make use of it for a great workout space, jumping jacks they are or yoga under the sun.

Difference between balconies and terraces

A few people might confuse a balcony to a terrace but the difference is quite clear. A terrace is located on the top of the building or on the ground floor while a balcony can be located on any floor. A terrace needs to have an authorization from the initial floor plan while the balcony can be created at any stage. If you need a communal space for tenants to share then you must consider a terrace since balconies are meant to be private. One last important difference, a terrace is significantly larger than a balcony. Lastly, they both serve the purpose of having an outdoor area and they both provide a usable living space outside the property.

Green rooftops and its importance

We can all agree that having greenery around enhances the quality of our days. If you have a rooftop that is not in use, consider gardening it and the benefits will emerge immediately. Rooftop gardens are becoming popular by the minute for various reasons. Firstly, it supports the idea of sustainability as it offers the space to grow vegetables and fruits at your own residence. Secondly, having a green rooftop is believed to reduce energy consumption through the daily evaporation cycle and reduced the UHI effect. Moreover, having a green rooftop makes great use of rainwater, rain is free, some may think of it as a planting support system and others can retain up to 80% of the water and save it later for drought days. Another rising benefit for rooftop gardens is how it makes summers less hot by keeping temperatures lower than usual through the insulation systems.

Not only that the insulation is energy efficient and help reduce heat, but also the combination of soil and plants are capable of absorbing, reflecting and deflection sound waves which make your house calmer than its surroundings. Imagine applying this concept in busy cities or next to airports.

Reducing urban heat by greenery investments

A study conducted by the EPA, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, showed that green rooftops save an approximate of $3,600 a year in heating and cooling buildings. Although installing and building a green roof might seem costly at first; however, it remains a sustainable construction practice. The economic argument is still the most important aspect for developers these days, even though doctors have been encouraging young and elder people to get in touch with nature for patients dealing with anxiety, depression or obesity.

When can we see capital cities going green?

The cost of a green rooftop will always vary depending on the size, design and materials used. Although the initial plan may seem expensive, the long-term savings are irreplaceable. There are many steps to be taken into account before making such a decision; waterproofing, drainage and structural support come first. A typical small rooftop garden could cost between $150-$400 per square metre. In return, not only you will be rewarded with a significant reduction in energy consumption and power bills, but an overall increase in quality of life.