What is a Green Building ?
A green building can be defined as any building that is sited, designed, constructed, operated and maintained for the health and well-being of the occupants, while minimizing impact on the environment.
A green building is a structure whose environmental responsibility and resource-efficiency spans its entire
life-cycle. It enables the efficient use of resources, protection of occupant health & improvement of productivity and reduction of waste, pollution & environment degradation.
The aim of a green building design is to
- Minimize the demand on non-renewable resources
- Maximize utilization efficiency of these resources when in use
- Maximize the reuse, recycling and utilization of renewable resources
Why Green Building ?
An extensive amount of energy is consumed to heat and power our buildings. This energy is mainly generated from burning fossil fuels like oil, coal and natural gas that let out huge amounts of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), the most widespread greenhouse gas. There are also other ways in which buildings emit Greenhouse Gases (GHG), like construction debris in landfills generating methane and manufacturing of building materials causing GHG emissions.
In India, the construction sector is growing at a rate of 9%, causing a rapid rise in energy demand in urban areas where buildings alone contribute about 40% of the total GHG emissions. Hence it becomes imperative to reduce the energy use and GHG emissions produced by buildings so that the pace of global climate change has a slowdown.
Energy efficient buildings or green buildings, address the above concerns and save energy by about 40%.
- Enhance and protect biodiversity and ecosystems
- Improve air and water quality
- Reduce waste streams
- Conserve and restore natural resources
- Reduce operating costs
- Create, expand, and shape markets for green product and services
- Improve occupant productivity
- Optimize life-cycle economic performance
- Enhance occupant comfort and health
- Heighten aesthetic qualities
- Minimize strain on local infrastructure
- Improve overall quality of life
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choose Green Products for green buildings
Green buildings too are constructed using a variety of materials. The only difference being that – The materials come packed with a great deal of energy-efficiency. Therefore, green buildings not only minimize the use of non-renewable resources, but also maximize the reuse, recycling and utilization of renewable resources.
The opportunities to reduce the environmental and health impacts of our homes span from big decisions, like location, to seemingly small decisions, like paint and light bulbs. The products we use to clean, light, furnish, renovate, and build our homes must be a part of the greening process. Reducing our environmental impacts requires thinking and learning about not just how we use products, but where they came from and where they’re going. Consider factors like:
- Energy used to make, ship, and use a product;
- The product’s contents and the sources of its raw materials;
- Emissions during manufacturing the product and the level and type of toxins in the final product; and
- The product’s durability (lifespan) and recyclability.
These are just some of the impacts a product has on the environment from “cradle to grave” during its “lifecycle.” The five main stages in the lifecycle of a material or product are: raw material acquisition, manufacturing, distribution, use, and end-of-life management. Attributes of a product at different stages of its lifecycle to consider may include:
Waste and materials:
- Reduced waste
- Biobased content
- Recyclable or reusable components
- Energy efficient
- Low embodied energy
- Uses renewable energy
- Water efficient
- Water reuse and recycling
- Responsible stormwater management
Other environmental & health impacts:
- Enhanced indoor environmental quality
- Reduced environmental impact over the lifecycle
- Reduced or eliminated toxic substances
- Sustainable development, smart growth
Recycled-Content Building Materials
Buying recycled-content materials helps ensure that the materials collected in recycling programs will be used again in the manufacture of new products. Examples of construction materials that can be readily found with recycled content include:
- Drywall (many utilize recycled paper and post-industrial gypsum)
- Insulation (including cellulose, mineral wool, fiberglass, and recycled cotton insulation)
- Plastic lumber
- Kitchen countertops
- Glass tiles
- Landscaping materials
- Carpet and carpet padding