When we talk of green building, many people most noteworthy aren’t really sure what the whole thing is. It is a complex notion with so many factors involved. So if you are a fan of living green then you should definitely read through this article.

So are you struggling with the term ‘green building’? Because chances are you may have heard of it under another name. Maybe the terms sustainable building or green construction?

Of course there are concerns about the state of our environment. That’s namely climate change and resource scarcity. They are significant reasons for the increased focus on sustainability in construction.

More importantly, buildings use significant amounts of energy. Also they generate climate change-causing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. According to the World Economic Forum, around 30 percent of GHG emissions come from facilities. All built by the infrastructure and urban development industry. Constructing buildings also uses about 3 billion tons of raw materials every year.

So climate change and other environmental problems become more clear and well-understood. Now the construction industry is taking steps cutting its environmental impact and helping address them.

However, this kind of building is resource-efficient.  Also, it’s absolutely environmentally responsible all throughout a building’s life-cycle.

Obviously, this is a pretty demanding task (to stay green with such complex constructions). So all members of the team need to collaborate together. I mean the architects, the engineers, the design team and naturally the client. All who should be informed of all next steps throughout the project stages.

Green building isn’t only a matter of eco-friendly behavior. That’s because it expands to concerns of utility, comfort, durability and economy of building design. Actually, the whole idea behind this green construction is reducing waste.  As well as dealing with environmental degradation and pollution. Finally, it’s supposed to increase the efficiency of water and energy use.

Heating and cooling constitute a significant part of the cost of operating a building.  They also require large amounts of energy. Green building techniques aim to make heating and cooling more efficient. One way green builders do this is by improving the insulation in a building.  They call it to tighten the thermal envelope.  Another way of looking at it is cutting the amount of air that escapes.

Green buildings also cut the cost of lighting which can make up 10 to 30 percent of a building’s energy use. All by incorporating more efficient technologies such as LED bulbs. As well as allowing in more natural light.

Similar to green building is a natural building. It’s pretty much the same concept. Yet it’s just executed on a smaller scale. It also focuses on natural materials that also can be found locally.

Living Building Challenge goes LEED

So in the Living Building Challenge, you can create buildings that are the following:
1. Regenerative spaces that also connect occupants to light, air, food, nature, and community.
2. Self-sufficient and remaining within the resource limits of their site. Living Buildings consequently produce more energy than they use. As well as they collect and treat all water on site.
3. Most importantly, they will be Healthy and beautiful. Living buildings give more than they take. Thereby creating a positive impact on the human and natural systems that interact with them.

Consequently the USGBC doesn’t provide a checklist of best practices. Because the Living Building Challenge encourages teams to think holistically. Thereby to find solutions that tackle multiple issues at once.
For example:
1. A water system’s power needs must factor into the energy budget.
2. Materials must be non-toxic and low impact to satisfy the demands of the Materials Petal.
3. Projects must integrate local culture, biophilic elements and beauty in order to foster community and natural connections. In addition, the program outlines a design framework that promotes the highest standard of sustainability for the built environment. Rather than a checklist of current best practices, the LBC includes a series of performance goals empowering project teams to find creative design solutions.
Truth is, some green building programs (maybe even most of them) don’t really address the issue of the retrofitting existing homes. Yet others that do, do it through public plans for energy efficient refurbishment.

Good thing is that green construction principles are applied to retrofit work. That’s as well as new construction.

Reducing environmental impact of building is the aim of green building. There are some rules (not official ones, though) that most apply to green building.

Here they are:

1. buildings should be as small as possible
2. if there is no need for building, don’t build
3. Do not contribute to sprawling

How do buildings affect climate change?

All the energy that’s used on daily basis to power and heat our buildings. It all leads to the consumption of large amounts of energy.

This is mainly from burning fossil fuels – natural gas, coal, and oil. Because these generate significant amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2). Carbon dioxide is known to be the most widespread greenhouse gas. So, what’s fundamental to green building is reducing the energy use. Then greenhouse gas emissions aren’t produced with constructing buildings.

Also, an effort is also constantly made to slow the pace of global climate change. With green buildings we collectively maximize both the economic and environmental performance of buildings.

Some specific economic, environmental and social benefits of green building are:

Economic benefits
Reducing operating costs
Improving occupant productivity
Optimizing life-cycle economic performance
Creating, shaping and expanding markets for green product and services

Environmental benefits
Enhancing and protecting biodiversity and ecosystems
Reducing waste streams
Conserving and restoring natural resources
Improving air and water quality

Social benefits
Enhancing occupant comfort and health
Minimizing strain on local infrastructure
Improving overall quality of life
Heightening aesthetic qualities

So if you are wondering whether only certain types of buildings can go green? Well the answer is no!

Because and most importantly: All buildings and of any type have the potential to become a sustainable building.

That’s obviously every building type has different efficiency needs. Their needs depend on the particular function.

In conclusion, if you are thinking of turning the existing buildings green, you can. Because it’s done through improved operations, remodeling and retrofitting.

Finally, additional Useful information for this article has been kindly provided by New home builders.

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