Today’s green buildings are based on practices which build on the use of processes and designs covering the whole of the building’s life cycle.
This means that the building is sensitive to and responsible in its use of and impact on the environment, from the choice of site, through its design and construction, its operation, occupation, recycling for other uses, to eventual decommissioning.
Green building thus refers to buildings which are designed and constructed, as well as operated, so as to create the minimum possible adverse effect on the natural environment, and in addition, to actually conserve or benefit nature. The focus in this effort is to preserve the environment and enable a higher quality of life.
Green buildings may be private residences or public buildings like schools or hospitals, or commercial buildings like offices and community centers. The structure of each may vary widely from the others based on the difference in the setting, the climate, the style of building, the budget, the culture and social needs. The good thing is that all these can be different and yet the building itself can be built to be environmentally sensitive.
Many different things may be considered to be part of the green building concept. In all these aspects, the emphasis is on prioritizing the establishment of a balance between occupant needs and environmental impact throughout the life cycle of the building.
What are the Aspects of Green Building?
- Using renewable energy resources as much as possible in a cost-effective and efficient manner, instead of non-sustainable energy, making them more easy to heat, for instance, or better insulated from the extremes of temperature outside, to reduce the energy bill
- Maximizing the efficient use of non-renewable natural resources, including fossil fuels
- Using less energy while designing and putting up the building
- Using smart technology to reduce the use of electricity
- Training the building occupants to reduce their carbon footprint once the building is up
- Efficiently harvesting any water that is currently going waste to use in the building
- Using less water in the routine running of the building
- Minimizing excessive strain on the surrounding environment, such as the impact of the inflow of excessive amounts of water on the drains and storm sewer systems, or their clogging
- Optimizing water utilization
Waste and Pollution
- Using materials that last longer so that replacement is minimized
- Using recycled industrial materials where appropriate
- Planning for less waste at the end of the building’s life by designing it for easy recovery and re-use of demolition waste
- Reducing the generation and toxic disposal of waste and other pollutants, while emphasizing re-use and recycling at all stages of design, construction and occupancy
Quality of Life
- Good ventilation to ensure clean indoor air and avoiding the use of products that emit toxic gases inside or near the building
- Better sunlight utilization for comfort and energy optimization
- Providing good views to enhance occupants’ enjoyment of their time in the building
- Maintaining proper temperatures within the building
- Shielding from excessive noise by acoustic management and sound insulation, and thus improving concentration and efficiency in all buildings, but in particular designed for residential, education and health purposes in particular
- Avoiding toxic chemical emissions inside the building
Conserving the Environment
- Selecting materials that are non-toxic, ethical and sustainable
- Designing a building for easy re-use, without the need for expensive renovation, demolition or rebuilding
- Improving the space around the building
- Responsible siting, by using and remediating polluted land for building, or making a wasteland into a new green reserve
- Introduce gardens and vegetable cultivation, wherever possible, to make agriculture a part of urban life
Building Community Life
- Adding in interactive features to include the surrounding community economically and socially
- Gaining local input from the planning stage onwards
- Planning for minimal adverse impact of vehicular commutes to and from other amenities and places of work