Green Buildings – A chance to make living sustainable

Now the trend all over world is to optimize the use of all natural resources and to reduce emission of global warming gases.

Today we use the equivalent of 1.4 planets to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste.” – Global Footprint Network

If current population and consumption trends continue, by the middle of the next decade we will need the equivalent of two Earths to support us” – Global Footprint Network

It is the time to recognize ecological limit of the planet and start living eco-friendly

What is the impact of buildings on environment?

While the buildings and development provides countless benefits to society they also have significant effect on environmental and health impacts.

Buildings have major environmental impacts over their entire life cycle. Resources such as ground cover, forests, water, and energy are depleted to construct and operate buildings

Domestic consumption of electricity in India is increased from mere 8.78% in 1970-71 to 24.89% in 2005-06. It is surprise to many people that domestic consumption is second largest consumption of electricity. Energy use in domestic sector contributes 3.8% of total GHG emission in India.

Building Industry is producing second largest amount of Demolition Waste and is a major source of pollution, responsible for around 4% of particulate emissions, more water pollution incidents than any other industry.

Construction activities like land clearing, demolition, burning, and working with toxic materials contribute to air pollution and obstruction to natural drainage system, soil erosion, added chemicals and dust to storm water contribute to water pollution.

The total waste water generated in India from domestic sources in class I towns is 16.27 billion liters and of this a mere 25% is treated and remaining gray water which is untreated and disposed into surface water bodies.

What is Green?

In ancient Egypt, color was an integral part of the substance and being of everything in life and they treated color green (wadj) was the color of vegetation and new life. To do “green things” was symbol for beneficial, life-producing behavior.

Similarly green building stands for beneficial, energy efficient and eco-friendly construction of buildings which reduces impact on environment and human beings.

How Green Buildings reduces impact on environment and humans?

Green building concept was emerged as the need to optimize use of natural resources, to reduce the energy consumption and water usage and improving better indoor and outdoor air quality. Green building brings together different eco-friendly and sustainable construction practices and techniques to reduce the impacts of buildings on the environment and human health.

The effect of buildings on environment and humans is eliminated by following practices and techniques in Green Buildings.

Selection of sustainable sites: Selecting a sustainable site will reduce the impact of construction of a project on surrounding environment.

  • Construct project in developed community or in a brownfield area to protect green field.
  • Design site sedimentation and erosion control plans in construction phase to reduce impacts on water and air quality.
  • Check for road and rail connectivity to site, to reduce the pollution from the individual vehicles.
  • Encourage the use of alternative fuel vehicles like electrical cars/CNG cars by providing parking areas and refueling stations.
  • Limit site disturbances to conserve existing natural areas and restore damaged areas to provide habitat and promote biodiversity.
  • Preserve natural water bodies by Limiting disturbances to natural water drainage system and reduce impervious are.
  • Reduce the effect of heat island with the use of shaded, vegetated and reflective surfaces for roofs, parking, walkways and other hardscape.
  • Reduce night light pollution with efficient Indoor and outdoor lighting.

Efficient water control:

  • Reduce the use of water with the help of efficient landscaping, Air conditioning system and by using efficient fixtures.
  • Treat waste water generated in a building and reuse treated water in irrigation, HVAC and flushing requirements.
  • Design rain water harvesting system to collect rain water for reuse or to fill ground water aquifer.

Efficient Energy use:

  • Use energy efficient light fixtures and lighting controls to reduce lighting power density.
  • Increase Day lighting  and sky lighting view to reduce need for artificial lighting.
  • Reduce energy consumption with proper design and selection efficient equipment for HVAC.
  • Use BEE energy star rated appliances to optimize energy performance.
  • Install renewable energy sources like solar and wind power to reduce demand on power grid.

Selection of Local and recycled materials.

  • Reduce pollution by collecting all recyclable and reusable items generated during construction phase and post occupancy.
  • Use recycled, locally produced and extracted materials to reduce associated extraction of new materials and transport pollution.

Indoor Environment  Quality.

  • Improve connectivity to out door view and day light view
  • Improve outdoor ventilation to reduce indoor pollutions

Green Buildings have tremendous potential to save natural resources and reduce water and energy consumption.  Looking forward every individual and corporates practicing it in the near future.

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