A green building is an environmentally sustainable building, designed, constructed and operated to minimize the total environmental impacts.
The concept of Green Building concentrates mainly on two points:
- Increasing the efficiency with which buildings use energy, water and materials
- Reducing building impacts of human health and the environment, through better site selection, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal throughout the complete life cycle.
The increase of fuel costs in 1970’s along with the concern for environment kindled the awareness and encouragement towards Green Buildings. Architects and ecologists started looking for solutions like reflective roofing materials, triple-glazed windows to achieve energy savings. But with the decrease of fuel prices, the Green movement was slowed down and did not receive much encouragement. It was later in early 90’s that the movement got kick start and awareness began to spread about need for sustainable buildings. An official Green home building program started in Austin, Texas in 1991. The movement has gradually gained momentum since then and we can now find significant changes in the newer buildings.
Material and Resources
Sustainable construction material are chosen keeping in mind various characteristics like zero or low toxicity, high recyclability, zero or low off gassing of harmful air emissions, durability, reused and recycled content, sustainably harvested material.
Dimensional planning and other material efficiency strategies are used to reduce the construction costs. Construction and demolition material can be reused and recycled for e.g. inert demolition material can be used as base course for landfills.
Proper planning for managing materials through deconstruction, demolition and construction is done. Efficient planning of utilities to minimize
Utilization of rapidly renewable materials, such as bamboo flooring, wool carpets, strawboard, cotton ball insulation (made from denim scrap), genuine linoleum flooring, or poplar oriented-strand board (OSB). Using rapid renewable helps reduce the use and depletion of finite raw material.
Use of materials that are available locally is preferred over materials that need to be brought from distant places. It saves transportation costs. Also, alternative materials that can be generated from waste with lesser energy is used over conventional building materials.