Green Building - The History of Green Construction and Sustainable Living
The history of green building can be traced as far back as ancient times. Even cavemen used eco-friendly materials and lived in their dwellings in tune with the landscape, a philosophy which Bill Gates (the retired co-founder of Microsoft) also used when he had his house built into the side of a hill in Seattle, Washington. The idea of building a house into the hill is similar to a cave dwelling concept, in that you can save energy by having a pile of dirt above your ceiling serving as natural insulation, while your home blends nicely into the local landscape. But Bill Gates certainly doesn't have any shortage of money, thus his passion for green building most likely centers around doing something generous for the health and longevity of the planet.
Origins of Green Building
The green building industry sprung to life in the mid to late 1980's as oil prices started to rise and more and more oil producers got fatter and richer by applying the logic - "What's another few dollars per barrel?" Then as the price of oil dropped as demand reduced because people just couldn't afford to buy the stuff, the green building industry sort of went a little brown, shriveled up a little, withered a bit and almost disappeared. But fortunately in the current decade, the focus on green building and sustainable living has made a comeback, and "green is in".
Considerations for Building Green Homes
Aside from harnessing sunlight, green builders and designers need to examine a number of issues when making a building eco-friendly. Building materials are a huge concern. Even today, the building industry in the United States uses up forty percent of all raw materials. Reduction through the use of sustainable, recycled materials will have a huge impact on resource preservation.
Durability is another issue; if environmentally-friendly materials need to be replaced frequently, then they become less and less efficient.
And lastly, a good location is a central component of eco construction. Homes should be close to the community or public transportation to reduce the need for driving and they should be in a place that will not harm the environment around them. Green homes should also be designed to encourage recycling, manage water use, and minimize energy use.
Future of Green Building
The governments of many developed countries could do a lot more to help green building flourish and grow. There needs to be more tax breaks and incentives available for developers and private individuals, so if you want to build a green building there are rewards available to encourage your endeavours. In the United States of America, there is a grant system in place to retrofit green building products such as ultra efficient windows and of course insulation to multifamily housing. This funding comes with expert advice and a time limit of two years to spent the grant funds.
Is green building just a fad that will fade out over time? No, of course it isn't and although it is a reasonably new name for a concept, 'green building' is not a temporary craze or something that is likely to fade away in fact it is almost as old as mankind itself. Green building is here for the long term.