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All you want to know about Green Building and Green Construction

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In these days, green construction technology is more advanced than ever before, and as the world’s supply of non-renewable resources slowly grows rarer and more expensive, the green tech becomes more important than ever before. Green tech comes in a wide variety of materials, covering everything from energy-efficient appliances to geothermal heating.

What is Green Building (Green Construction)?

Green building (also known as green construction or sustainable building) refers to both a structure and the application of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle: from planning to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.  This requires close cooperation of the contractor, the architects, the engineers, and the client at all project stages. The Green Building practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) defines green construction as, “a holistic concept that starts with the understanding that the built environment can have profound effects, both positive and negative, on the natural environment, as well as the people who inhabit buildings every day.” So, what does this mean? In simple terms, green construction is an attempt to build responsibly, reduce waste, and help preserve the environment. It is an “earth-friendly” alternative to the construction process.

The green construction process involves the “planning, design, construction, and operations of buildings with several central, foremost considerations: energy use, water use, indoor environmental quality, material section and the building’s effect on its site.”

There are a number of features which can make a building ‘green’. These include:

  • Efficient use of energy, water, and other resources
  • Use of renewable energy, such as solar energy
  • Pollution and waste reduction measures, and the enabling of re-use and recycling
  • Good indoor environmental air quality
  • Use of materials that are non-toxic, ethical and sustainable
  • Consideration of the environment in design, construction, and operation
  • Consideration of the quality of life of occupants in design, construction, and operation
  • A design that enables adaptation to a changing environment

Any building can be a green building, whether it’s a home, an office, a business complex, an IT Park, a school, a hospital, a community center, or any other type of structure, provided it includes features listed above.

However, it is worth noting that not all green buildings are – and need to be – the same. Different countries and regions have a variety of characteristics such as distinctive climatic conditions, unique cultures, and traditions, diverse building types and ages, or wide-ranging environmental, economic and social priorities – all of which shape their approach to green building.

This is why WorldGBC supports its member Green Building Councils and their member companies in individual countries and across regions, to pursue green buildings that are best suited to their own markets.

To get involved in your own country’s transformation to green building, please contact or join your local Green Building Council.

Why Green Construction?

There are a number of reasons to build green, including potential environmental, economic and social benefits.

Now, let us take a look at why it is so important to go green. Most people will find when going green that they are able to reduce their carbon footprint and actually lend a helping hand to the environment. You can go green in a variety of different ways, but builders and construction workers must do their part as well. If you haven’t begun going green, then you will find that there are a variety of different things that you can do to help you get started. You don’t have to jump in head first, and you can actually take some baby steps along the way. Green buildings are designed in such a way to reduce the overall impact on the environment and human health by:

  1. Reducing trash, pollution, and degradation of the environment.
  2. Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources.
  3. Protecting occupant health and improving productivity.

Green buildings are designed to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by:

  • Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources
  • Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity
  • Reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation

For example, green buildings may incorporate sustainable materials in their construction (e.g., reused, recycled-content, or made from renewable resources); create healthy indoor environments with minimal pollutants (e.g., reduced product emissions); and/or feature landscaping that reduces water usage (e.g., by using native plants that survive without extra watering).

Green Building Construction presents one big solution to this unsustainable growth. By now we all know, a green building is a structure which is designed, built, renovated, operated, or reused in an environmentally friendly and resource-efficient manner. In addition to that, these buildings are designed to meet certain critical objectives like:

  • Protecting Occupant Health
  • Improving Employee Productivity
  • Conservation Of Energy, Water, And Other Fast Depleting Resources
  • Reduce The Use Of Energy, Water, And Other Fast Depleting Resources
  • Lower Carbon Footprint
  • Reducing The Overall Impact To The Environment
  • Better Indoor Air

Green building technology can really help in achieving these objectives in an efficient manner.

Types Of Green Building Technologies

The Green Building technologies or Types of Green Construction are categorized mainly into the five parts as follows;

1. Exterior Solutions

Bird Friendly Design
Cool Roofs
Green Roofs
Energy Efficient Windows
Landscaping for Parking Lot Runoff

2. Energy Solutions

Solar Power
Wind Power
Geothermal Energy
Thermal Storage

3. Processes

Commissioning
Integrated Design
Energy Audits
Green Leasing
Specialty Waste Disposal
Brownfield Remediation

4. Site Solutions

Stormwater Planters
Permeable Pavement
Rain Barrels
Rain Gardens
Native Plants
Parking Lot Runoff Landscaping

5. Interior Solutions

Building Insulation
Air Sealing and Ventilation
Greywater Systems
Composting Toilets
Flooring Materials
Lighting Strategies
Paints and Coatings
Materials Red List
Green Cleaning

Cost Effectiveness of Green Construction

Some people feel that they just can’t go green because it will cost them more money, but that is really a common misconception.  While it may cost you a bit more to get started when you are going green, because green materials and products can be more costly, you really have to consider the type of savings that you will be able to reap. You will be able to save on energy costs because going green also means conserving energy. You should really look at the green building as more of an investment than anything else. An investment that will be able to save you money, as well as an investment that will be able to help the environment! It is a win-win situation for everyone!

What are the benefits of green buildings?

With new technologies constantly being developed to complement current practices in creating greener structures, the benefits of green building can range from environmental to economic to social. By adopting greener practices, we can take the maximum advantage of environmental and economic performance. Green construction methods when integrated while design and construction provide the most significant benefits. Benefits of green building include:

Environmental Benefits:

  • Reduce wastage of water
  • Conserve natural resources
  • Improve air and water quality
  • Protect biodiversity and ecosystems

Economic Benefits:

  • Reduce operating costs
  • Improve occupant productivity
  • Create a market for green product and services

Social Benefits:

  • Improve the quality of life
  • Minimize strain on local infrastructure
  • Improve occupant health and comfort

The Goals of Green Building

Now, we should consider the goals of green building. Of course, one of the main goals is to make the earth more sustainable, but it really does go deeper than that. When you decide to go green, your goal will be to actually help to sustain the environment without disrupting the natural habitats around it. When you start a building project, and you disrupt the natural habitats around it, you can actually make an impact in the wildlife and environment that will be much like a butterfly effect. Even the smallest changes that you can make will help to promote better planet earth, and a better place for us all to live- not just us humans, but also the plants and wildlife that take up their residence here on earth as well.

As you can see, green building is something that everyone should really jump on to. If you don’t plan to rebuild your home, then you may just want to make a few green changes within your home to ensure that you are able to get the goals that you want out of it. You can cut down on your energy usage, save money, and make a big impact on the environment. You will find that it isn’t as hard as people make it out to be, and you will feel better about yourself when you go green too!

How to make our buildings green?

There are a number of ways to make a building green. These include:

Taking an intelligent approach to energy

  • Minimizing energy use in all stages of a building’s life-cycle, making new and renovated buildings more comfortable and less expensive to run, and helping building users learn to be efficient too.
  • Integrating renewable and low-carbon technologies to supply buildings’ energy needs, once their design has maximised inbuilt and natural efficiencies.

Safeguarding water resources

  • Exploring ways to improve drinking and waste water efficiency and management, harvesting water for safe indoor use in innovative ways, and generally minimising water use in buildings.
  • Considering the impact of buildings and their surroundings on stormwater and drainage infrastructure, ensuring these are not put under undue stress or prevented from doing their job.

Minimising waste and maximising reuse

  • Using fewer, more durable materials and generating less waste, as well as accounting for a building’s end of life stage by designing for demolition waste recovery and reuse.
  • Engaging building users in reuse and recycling.

Promoting health and wellbeing

  • Bringing fresh air inside, delivering good indoor air quality through ventilation, and avoiding materials and chemicals that create harmful or toxic emissions.
  • Incorporating natural light and views to ensure building users’ comfort and enjoyment of their surroundings, and reducing lighting energy needs in the process.
  • Designing for ears as well as eyes. Acoustics and proper sound insulation play important roles in helping concentration, recuperation, and peaceful enjoyment of a building in educational, health and residential buildings.
  • Ensuring people are comfortable in their everyday environments, creating the right indoor temperature through passive design or building management and monitoring systems.

Keeping our environment green

  • Recognizing that our urban environment should preserve nature, and ensuring diverse wildlife and land quality are protected or enhanced, by, for example, remediating and building on polluted land or creating new green spaces.
  • Looking for ways we can make our urban areas more productive, bringing agriculture into our cities.

Creating resilient and flexible structures

  • Adapting to our changing climate, ensuring resilience to events such as flooding, earthquakes or fires so that our buildings stand the test of time and keep people and their belongings safe.
  • Designing flexible and dynamic spaces, anticipating changes in their use over time, and avoiding the need to demolish, rebuild or significantly renovate buildings to prevent them from becoming obsolete.

Connecting communities and people  

  • Creating diverse environments that connect and enhance communities, asking what a building will add to its context in terms of positive economic and social effects, and engaging local communities in planning.
  • Ensuring transport and distance to amenities are considered in the design, reducing the impact of personal transport on the environment, and encouraging environmentally friendly options such as walking or cycling.
  • Exploring the potential of both ‘smart’ and information communications technologies to communicate better with the world around us, for example through smart electricity grids that understand how to transport energy where and when it is needed.

Considering all stages of a building’s life-cycle

  • Seeking to lower environmental impacts and maximize social and economic value over a building’s whole life-cycle (from design, construction, operation, and maintenance, through to renovation and eventual demolition).
  • Ensuring that embodied resources, such as the energy or water used to produce and transport the materials in the building are minimized so that buildings are truly low impact.

Regulation and operation

The increased interest in green building concepts and practices, a number of organizations have developed standards, codes and rating systems that let government regulators, building professionals, and consumers embrace green building with confidence. In some cases, codes are written so local governments can adopt them as bylaws to reduce the local environmental impact of buildings.

Green building rating systems such as BREEAM (United Kingdom), LEED (the United States and Canada), DGNB (Germany), CASBEE (Japan), and VERDE (Spain), GRIHA (India) help consumers determine a structure’s level of environmental performance. The award credits for optional building features that support green design in categories such as location and maintenance of building site, conservation of water, energy, and building materials, and occupant comfort and health. The number of credits generally determines the level of achievement.

Green building codes and standards, such as the International Code Council’s draft International Green Construction Code, are sets of rules created by standards development organizations that establish minimum requirements for elements of green building such as materials or heating and cooling.

Some of the major building environmental assessment tools currently in use include:

Conclusion

Green construction is the way of the future. A ‘green’ building is a building that, in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts, on our climate and natural environment. Green buildings preserve precious natural resources and improve our quality of life.

Many construction and real estate firms have already been started adopting green building technologies and methodologies to build the infrastructures which are environment-friendly. The technology of today’s construction industry has made the process quicker and cheaper than ever before. In the fast-paced construction culture, it helps to be ahead of the game, so it is time

References:

Coursera: Build New Skills Anytime, Anywhere with 100% online courses. Start Now!

https://www.greenbuildingsolutions.org/what-is-green-building/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_building

https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/green-building.php

https://esub.com/green-construction-the-future/

https://www.go-gba.org/resources/green-building-methods/

https://www.worldgbc.org/how-can-we-make-our-buildings-green

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