The pergola is one aspect of ancient architecture that remains relevant today. Pergolas date back to ancient Egypt, but the concept itself might have come much earlier. The evolution of pergolas has witnessed many changes along the way. Today, it is technically impossible to draw a line between a pergola and a gazebo. However, for clarity, we will stick to the traditional idea of a pergola, one that is relatively merged with the house design.

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The theme of sustainability features heavily in modern home designs, and rightfully so. Gone are the days when all that mattered was aesthetics. In the modern design of pergolas, it is key to make the design as sustainable as possible. Merging your pergola with nature makes it sustainable and livable at the same time.

Related: Unique pergola located in Japan merges with its environment

Building sustainable structures such as pergolas can be attained in several ways. For instance, a pergola can be made to be fully self-sufficient with renewable energy. Some designs eliminate the need for energy use at all. The design you go for will primarily depend on what area of sustainability you are targeting.

Let us look at some pergola designs that can help you attain sustainability.

Energy-efficient solar panel roof

Domestic energy consumption accounts for about 21% of the energy used in America. This value can be brought down by adopting sustainable home designs. In the case of a pergola, it can be as simple as using a solar panel roof.

There are several solar panel roofing options to choose from. You may decide to go for solar shingles or iron sheets. They are both trendy, presentable and, most importantly, sustainable. The beauty of shingles lies in the fact that they have a long lifespan of up to 30 years.

Given that most pergolas are very tiny in size, covering an entire roof with shingles should not be an expensive affair. If you are looking to design a pergola that is not connected to the grid, go for solar. This design will also save you massive electricity bills in the long run.

The downside of using solar on a pergola roof is that you might have to go for a slightly slanting design. As we know, most pergolas work well with cantilever roofs, which may not have a sufficient slope. To attain maximum sunlight exposure, you should consider slanting your solar roof.

DIY pergola with recycled materials

The materials used on a pergola can also help attain some level of sustainability. Developers have been able to build mansions from sustainable recycled materials. If such levels of structural accuracy can be attained with huge structures, it should be a no-brainer for your pergola.

There is a wide range of recycled materials to consider for your pergola. You may feel used shipping containers, leftover lumber, broken glasses and waste tiles, among others. Recycling whatever is available at home will not only help you cut the cost, but save the world from excess waste.

Regarding recycling, using non-sustainable materials such as plastic is encouraged. Using the waste plastic on your pergola will save it from ending up in our ecosystem. To your advantage, using recycled materials always means lower construction costs.

All organic pergola design

Construction waste accounts for a third of solid waste globally and contributes up to 40% of carbon emissions. These figures are indicative of the fact that most constructions use materials that are not degradable. The use of biodegradable materials can help get rid of excessive solid waste and reduce emissions.

For your pergola, aim for organic but trendy materials such as cross laminated timber (CLT), which is not only durable but also appealing. You may also use different types of timber and recyclable metals. For the roof, consider bamboo, grass and asphalt shingles. When choosing the materials to use, go for durability and pay attention to long-term environmental impact.

It is worth noting that the use of organic materials may prove quite challenging if you intend to go 100% organic. Even so, you may attain up to 90% organic material use.

The green pergola merged with the garden

Green does not always mean sustainable, but more often than not it means eco-friendly. In other words, even if you have made your pergola out of non-sustainable materials, you may still make it eco-friendly by going green.

One of the ways to go all out and attain sustainability is to build a naked structure and cover it up with climbing plants. You may also design walls with spaces for planting flowers and other greens. Make sure the outdoors of your pergola is also well decorated with greens to match your structure. You may also want to consider a green roof.

Minimalist pergola design

Minimalism is a concept that can help us save the world from unnecessary clutter. Do you need a pergola? If yes, what size is suitable for your use? These are some of the questions that can help you attain minimalism. If all you need is an outdoor resting place for one person, why not go for an arbor instead of a pergola?

Some ideas for minimalists include going for the smallest size possible and avoiding interior clutter with minimal seats. You may also go for a skeleton design instead of putting up walls to minimize the materials used.

Pergolas are an ideal way of beautifying your home. They offer a good opportunity to express your design ideas and showcase the beauty of your outdoors. In your desire to spice up your outdoor space, consider sustainability. There are many ways you may make your pergola sustainable. The few options above should give you a good starting point. 

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