Green Building Practices
Green building, also known as green construction or sustainable building, is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle: from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. This practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort.
Although new technologies are constantly being developed to complement current practices in creating greener structures, the common objective is that green buildings are designed to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by:
- Energy Efficiency - Ensuring that energy is conserved in the building by means of insulation and use of building material(s) that have excellent insulation capabilities, along with machines and appliances that have a very high energy efficiency rating.
- Water Efficiency - Ensuring that the building does not have a dynamic impact on the water supply. This may be accomplished by using rainwater collection techniques, waste composting and in some cases waste water recycling. Also know as greywater recycling, this a accomplished by separating toilet wastewater from the cleaner wastewater used in baths and sinks which can be treated and subsequently used for irrigation, car washing or numerous other uses.
- Conserving Natural Resources - The involves the use of recycled building materials such as brick, stone and wood, and supplementing these with plastic, engineered or recovered wood products such as MDF. The use fiber cement products for exterior finishes which are long lasting and provide excellent insulation, as well as the use of solar energy to power the building.
- Indoor Air Quality - This is achieved and maintained by using non-toxic building and decorative materials such as paints, and using natural fiber flooring such as wool or sisal carpeting together with greater use of natural ventilation systems.
- Waste Reduction - Green architecture also seeks to reduce waste of energy, water and materials used during construction. For example, in California nearly 60% of the state's waste comes from commercial buildings during the construction phase. One goal should be to reduce the amount of material going to landfills. Well-designed buildings also help reduce the amount of waste generated by the occupants as well, by providing on-site solutions such as compost bins to reduce matter going to landfills.
Designers of green buildings can create amazing, unique and low-impact structures through ingenuity and careful architecture, along with the use of recycled building materials.
This a just a very brief introduction to the world of green building. Read this article to learn more about the history of green building.