Green building ideology has been steadily increasing since the 1970s. This architectural philosophy aims to create an environmentally friendly structure. It’s an ecological standard that should be maintained throughout its entire existence. Green building is designed to minimize negative environmental impact, preserve raw materials and provide a healthy indoor atmosphere. Green homes are often referred to as sustainable or eco-homes.
What to Gain From Green Building Designs
There are many benefits to be gained from these ethical buildings.
Reduced Carbon Footprint
Global warming caused by carbon emissions is now a serious issue. Major initiatives are underway in almost every country to reduce the world’s carbon footprint. The construction industry can make an enormous impact on reducing carbon emissions. It has been estimated that green building schemes can significantly reduce carbon emissions by at least 50% before the middle of the twenty-first century. Simply by choosing sustainable materials and installing ecological systems, an American home awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification can reduce its carbon footprint by at least 25%.
Recycled and Upcycled Materials
Making the best use of natural resources is even more effective in a green building scheme. Architects and interior designers are being creative with their choice of materials. Recycling and upcycling components from existing structures save raw materials from being taken from the environment. It also reduces energy levels by reducing the burden on manufacturing building supplies such as roof tiles and bricks. Design trends such as minimalism help to keep buildings stylishly sleek. Upcycling can be as simple as using driftwood for shelving. Recycling materials prevents valuable commodities from being sent to landfill sites.
Water is one of the most valuable commodities on earth. In a green building, it is used sparingly. Using ecological plumbing systems is a crucial element. Installations such as rainwater and gray water catchment systems can effectively recycle wastewater for flushing toilets. Innovative composting toilets don’t even use water. Other fittings might include showerheads with low flow output. Hot water systems that are based on point-of-use heating contribute significantly to reducing energy and water resources. Buildings only need to reach an 11% reduction in water usage to qualify for LEED accreditation, but a green building can save up to 30%.
Green buildings focus on using natural energy sources for electricity. The use of solar power in the US increased by 23.1% in 2020. However, it still only represents around 3.3% of the entire national output. Using solar energy in a green building helps to increase independence from grid-generated electricity. Solar photovoltaic panels absorb natural energy from the sun and convert it to usable electricity. It can even be stored in batteries for use during hours of darkness. Solar power is a sustainable commodity that is freely available. Installing a solar energy system in a green building reduces household expenditure and carbon emissions.
Green buildings prioritize the use of SMART technology. It makes them more energy-efficient and easier to maintain. Entire systems within the building can be integrated and often include voice control. Low-energy appliances and timers for heating and air conditioning systems contribute to greater energy efficiency. Integrating a building’s systems with remote capability enables homeowners to switch appliances on and off even when they are not home. A SMART green building helps to save money and prevent wasting energy.
SMART lighting systems are instrumental in conserving energy within a green building. LED lighting uses up to 90% less energy than traditional incandescent lights. Depending on how many hours a single LED light is used for, it can last up to twenty-five years. LED lights are versatile and compatible with dimmers and timers. Interior designers use LED lighting to highlight specific features without increasing energy usage. Integration with SMART technology provides flexible, programmable lighting.
Indoor Air Quality
A green building aims to improve indoor air quality. Greater attention is paid to natural ventilation systems. The simplest way to provide fresh air in a green building is through its windows. They can be oriented to maximize the air currents in the local surroundings. SMART ventilation systems ensure window apertures are always set at an optimal level. Convection cooling systems draw fresh air in and release it once it has absorbed excess heat.
Green buildings are designed to be healthy. The use of natural materials is a priority, but they have to be compatible with a healthy lifestyle. Timber products won’t have been treated with sealants containing formaldehyde. Paints and solvents are only chosen if they are free of Volatile Organic Compounds. VOCs are harmful to health and the environment. Some plastic is biodegradable, but other forms can be recycled for use in the construction industry. It benefits the health of a green building by inhibiting the growth of harmful allergens such as mold, fungi, and bacteria. Combined with efficient ventilation systems, the green building should achieve a superior, healthy indoor environment.
Many designers use biophilic principles to create buildings that are stress-free. Biophilia emphasizes the use of plants within the building. Thriving plants add a soothing, relaxing atmosphere. Living walls consisting of rows of evergreen plants provide oxygen while absorbing carbon dioxide. Biophilia works in conjunction with natural materials to provide a sense of being amongst nature.
Green buildings can sometimes be more expensive to construct. This is due to the additional, innovative features. Advanced SMART plumbing and heating systems contribute to the cost. But the maintenance of a green building is generally much less than a conventional building. On average, a green building realizes an increase of 7% in real estate valuations.
Green buildings provide many benefits. They help reduce carbon emissions by using sustainable materials. Recycling and upcycling unwanted building supplies contribute to a reduction in the initial expenditure. Installing facilities such as water-efficient plumbing makes excellent use of nature’s resources. Solar power provides highly economical energy. LED lighting and SMART technology are essential in making further economies in household energy bills. Green buildings have a healthier environment. Advanced ventilation systems and suitable materials improve the air quality and reduce allergens. Biophilia and plants create a soothing environment. A green building is environmentally friendly and energy-efficient. Green buildings are also healthy and relaxing.
About the Guest Author
Aaron Donovan is the founder of AD Services. Aaron has over two decades of experience in the construction industry. He also understands the huge benefits of green building within the industry and looks forward to seeing its growth in the future.