Introduction to Green Buildings

Green building refers to a structure and using process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle: from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.

Major Benefits

Green buildings offer widespread benefits to a number of building industry stakeholders, including building occupants and society as a whole.

Green buildings typically incorporate superior air quality, abundant natural light, access to views and noise control which benefits building occupants, making these building better places to work or live.

The key process difference between green and conventional buildings is the concept of integration, whereby a multi-disciplinary team of building professionals work together from the pre-design phase through post-occupancy to optimize the building for environmental sustainability, performance, and cost saving.

Characteristics of Green Building

Environmental considerations are taken into account in every stage of the building construction – design, construction, operation and maintenance phases. The major considerations are the lot design and development efficiency, energy and water efficiency, resource efficiency, indoor environmental quality and the building’s overall impact on the environment.

An integral characteristic of a green building is its stress on protecting existing ecologies, and improving ecologies that may have been damaged in the past. Green buildings are usually constructed on environmentally sensitive lands or previously developed property, with measures taken to restore plant life. Green buildings also utilize fewer materials, through efficient design and elimination of unnecessary finish materials. In addition, green building operations promote material as well as water recycling in their operation.

Factors to Consider

Energy efficiency is one of the most important factors in almost all green building programs. Careful window selection, building envelope air sealing, duct sealing, proper placement of air and vapour barriers, use of clean energy-powered heating/cooling systems contribute towards an energy efficient building. Use of renewable energy, such as solar, wind or biomass energy, to meet energy requirements can significantly reduce carbon footprints of such buildings.

Green homes lay stress on water conservation by implementing more efficient water delivery and recycling system. Minimization of water use is another characteristic feature of a green building which helps in reducing the detrimental effects of water use and its effects on local ecologies, such as aquatic life.

An increase in respiratory ailments and allergies and the use of chemicals that can give off gas from materials have greatly contributed to sensitive awareness of the air we breathe inside our homes. The green building also focuses on reducing respiratory ailments and allergies by improving the quality of in-house air by controlling the contamination source, diluting the source, and capturing the source through filtration.

Conclusion

To sum up, green buildings not only contribute towards a sustainable construction and environment but it also brings lots of benefits and advantages to building owners and users. Lower development costs, lower operating costs, increased comforts, healthier indoor environment quality, and enhanced durability and less maintenance costs are hallmarks of a typical green building.

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About the Author 

Salman Zafar is a renowned expert in waste management, biomass energy, waste-to-energy and sustainable development. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environment.
Salman is the CEO of BioEnergy Consult, apart from being the Founder of Cleantech Solutions and EcoMENA.
Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biogas technology, biomass energy, waste-to-energy and solid waste management. He has participated in numerous national and international conferences and has authored many articles in reputed journals and magazines.
Salman can be reached at salman@bioenergyconsult.com or salman@cleantechloops.com.

One thought on “Introduction to Green Buildings

  1. I cannot agree with your definition of “green buildings” – which I quote as “not only contribute towards a sustainable construction and environment but it also brings lots of benefits and advantages to building owners and users. Lower development costs, lower operating costs, increased comforts, healthier indoor environment quality, and enhanced durability and less maintenance costs are hallmarks of a typical green building.” Afterall Green should mean sustainable, low to zero GHG, and above all that building will not reduce future generations’ ability to meet their own NEEDS.

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