Environment and everything connected to ensuring its sustainability is a growing trend today. people have come to realise that a sustainable environment directly translates into a better Earth to live in; one which is free from pollutants, allergens and other disease causing pathogens. Construction is one industry which has been globally affected by this change and has embraced it with open arms. Today sustainable green building is a trend which is rapidly becoming popular the world over.
What is a green building
A simple definition of the same refers to the use of environmentally responsible processes and resource efficient materials throughout the different stages of a building construction. Hence right from the planning to designing, from construction to operation, from maintenance to renovation and even the demolition of these building is carried out in a way that it leaves the least amount of carbon footprint. While creating a positive impact on the environment is its biggest advantage, it also helps to address other building concerns like that of economy and comfort, utility and durability in a positive manner.
Advantages of green buildings
The USP or the unique selling point of a green building is its annual cost comparison coupled with a positive impact on the occupant’s health. In the process employee productivity also increases since the whole concept ensures effective utilisation of naturally available resources like water, energy etc.
- Operation and maintenance costs are lower: Statistics taken over a period of time have shown that occupants of green buildings help save on the operational and maintenance costs of a building. Given that this accounts for about 80% of the total building lifetime costs incurred, the savings turn out to be quite huge in the long run thereby helping to offset the higher costs of construction.
- Energy efficiency: Dependency for energy from non-renewable sources like coal etc. which are not only expensive but also negatively impact the environment by increasing atmospheric pollution, are greatly reduced. Using means such as the installation of solar panels to trap solar energy and use it for domestic purposes, ensuring a building design wherein the placement of windows and doors enable effective utilisation of daylight etc., help to make a green building energy efficient.
- Water efficiency: Saving water to ensure a continuous and reliable supply of the same for generations to come is the main aim of making these buildings water efficient. Some procedures which are adopted for the same are:
- Use of alternate water sources like rainwater which is generally harvested on rooftops of green buildings for use for domestic purposes,
- Water waste reduction by the installation of efficient and effective plumbing fixtures,
- Enabling water recycling by setting up water purification and recycling plants within the building environs etc.
- Promotes healthy indoors environment: Certain conditions which are prevalent inside the four walls of the building like air quality, lighting, thermal conditions, ergonomics etc., have a direct effect on the occupant’s health. Green building promote good heath by:
- Reducing the usage of materials with dangerous emissions,
- Ensuring the free passage of sunlight into the building,
- Improving the general quality of life and
- Finding ways to reduce stress naturally etc.
- Material efficiency: There are many other materials required for the construction of a building. A green building looks at its efficient utilisation in the various physical processes involved in its construction by ensuring:
- Optimal use of materials without any compromise on its quality,
- Generating as little waste as possible,
- Materials used tend to be durable and recycling and reusing of the same cannot be rules out,
- Using processes which reduce the usage of raw materials, water and energy etc.
The key fundamentals in the construction of green building stress on effective and efficient utilisation of materials, processes and other naturally occurring resources. But its impact on the creation of a better environment and its impact on the promotion of better health too cannot be ignored. This is perhaps the main reason for the rise in popularity of the green building trends in-spite of its enhanced cost.
Author Bio: Both environmentally conscious and a renowned general contractors calgary, the author is one who is an ardent supporter of the “Save my Planet” campaign. His ways and means to ensure the construction of green buildings might seem unconventional but extremely successful.