For residential, institutional and commercial buildings alike, a certain amount of energy is required to supply their ongoing use and the activities of that take place in them. The amount of energy required depends on many factors, including the location, the climatic conditions, the nature of the materials used, the size of the building, the efficacy of the insulation and ventilation used, and the lifestyles of the people who use them.
To be sure, it is always possible to reduce the energy used by a building by implementing various concrete measures, such as updating the insulation or finding alternative ways of controlling the ambient temperature. Increasingly however, consideration is being given to energy efficiency at the design stage, long before construction begins. In so doing, instead of imposing a building on nature, we can take inspiration from nature in order to better integrate the building into its environment.