Why should I be aware of this?
Buildings have a major impact on the environment over their entire life cycle. Responsible for 40% of worldwide energy flow and material use, conventional buildings have been identified as the largest source of green-house gas emissions, even more than that of the transport and industry sector. They affect urban air quality and contribute to climate change. They are also hazardous to health at times. During their life cycle, conventional buildings harm the environment in many ways.
- Resources such as ground cover, forests, water, and energy are depleted to give way to buildings.
- Indiscriminate use of building material without giving a thought to the environment.
- Most of the building material is sourced from great distances adding to their carbon commute.
- Building design and landscaping is such that the building uses water and its landscape need pesticide during its lifetime.
- These buildings have energy-consuming systems for lighting, space conditioning, water heating and hi-tech controls to add to the comfort and convenience of the occupants.
- No system for recycling [water] and [waste management].
- Poor indoor air-quality.
How does this affect me?
- A Green Building consumes 30-40% less water and 40-50% less energy as compared to a conventional building.
- It enhanced productivity of occupants by 10-15%.
- Green image
- Health and safety of occupants
- Enhanced occupant comfort
- Imbibe best operational practices from day one
People shy from going for a green building as the cost of construction is higher than that of a conventional building. But what they do not know is that the incremental cost of constructing a green building gets paid back in 3-5 years.
All about Green Buildings
Green Building is the practice of designing, planning, and constructing buildings with emphasis on the current and future environmental impact of the building. Green buildings place a high priority on health, environment and resource conservation performance over its life-cycle. These new priorities expand and complement the classical building design concerns: economy, utility, durability, and delight. Sustainable architecture and green design is the key to producing a green building. Green buildings are gaining acceptance in all fields of life. They are a part of green workplaces, green schools and green homes.
Criteria for selecting green building material
Certain factors guide the selection of building material. They are --
Resource efficiency – This can be ensured through:
- Using products with identifiable recycled content.
- Using natural materials which are either plentifully available or are harvested from sustainably managed sources.
- Using products manufactured by environment-friendly processes that use less energy, generate less of non-recyclable waste and produce less greenhouse gases.
- Using locally available materials.
- Selecting materials which are reusable and can be recycled.
Indoor air quality—Indoor air quality can be enhanced by:
- Using materials that emit few or no carcinogens, reproductive toxicants, or irritants.
- Using products that maximize energy efficiency while reducing chemical and of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emissions.
- Using products and systems that are moisture resistant and inhibit the growth of biological contaminants in buildings.
- Using materials, components, and systems that require non-toxic, methods of cleaning.
Energy Efficiency — This can be maximized by utilizing materials and systems that help reduce energy consumption.
- Optimize building design so that the dependence on conventional energy is reduced.
- Optimize the energy performance of the building.
- Low-energy material in the interiors.
- Install renewable energy based hot- water system.
Water Conservation -- This can be obtained by
- Using products and systems that help reduce water consumption in buildings and conserve water in landscaped areas.
- Setting up a wastewater treatment facility.
- Installing a system to recycle and reuse water including rainwater.
Green building and the environment
A green building uses environment friendly building material. The selection of material is guided by
- Minimising the use of non renewable resources.
- Reducing carbon miles.
- Reducing the carbon footprint of the occupants.
- Reducing the adverse impact it has during and after construction.
- Resource conservation during its life cycle.
- Minimizing internal and external pollution during the life-cycle of the building.
- Healthy environment within the building.
- Supports green initiatives.
Conventional buildings are accused of using more energy and materials. This can be offset by selecting green building material.
Green Urban Architecture
Introducing today's urban sprawl to greener buildings starts with looking at the ecology - the soil, groundwater levels and biodiversity - of the location. The local climate like the sun and wind paths and shape the building can be used to lend an edge to the design. Even the materials can be reused and integrated back into nature.
Award-winning architect, ecologist, author and professor, Ken Yeang has been associated with many design innovations. Skyscrapers, he believes, cover less land area than horizontal campuses and leave more space for greenery. The National Library building in Singapore, for example, uses just 170 kWh per square metre per annum of power against the 230 kWh usually consumed by office buildings that are open 24 by 7.
Even if a buidling or a home has already been constructed, it can be made greener during remodeling. If a house is being remodeled to suit changing lifestyles or if a house or building is being remodeled as it is outdated, it can be done in a healthy, environment--friendly way. This can be done by switching to environment-friendly options while upgrading furnaces, cabinets and toilets or using locally manufactured products and material that promise less fossil fuel pollution, reduced resource depletion, and fewer health risks in addition to being energy-efficient.
- Hyderabad international airport (India) is the world’s first certified green building.
- Buildings consume 70% of the nation’s electricity and a large part of the materials, water and waste used and generated in our economy.
- Although the US is home to only 4.5 percent of the global population, it is responsible for over 15 percent of the world’s consumption of wood.
- In the United States, buildings account for 36% of total energy use; 65% of electricity consumption; 30% of greenhouse gas emissions; 30% of raw materials use; 30% of waste output/136 million tons annually and 12% of potable water consumption.
- Greenfield Hyderabad airport lands green tag
- California Integrated Waste Management Board
- Green Building Materials
- What is Green Building
- How the Sun's Path Can Inform Design
- US Green Building Council
- Green Habitat
- Green buildings codes and standards