Fundamentals of Green Construction
Green construction, an upcoming concept to the global construction sector itself, is an area that is booming by the day. Green construction essentially refers to both a structure and the using of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life cycle: from designing, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.
With economic development agendas of nations across the world incorporating sustainability as a factor, green construction is just about the next big thing. While the concept of building a structure to complement its surrounding environment is not entirely new, there has been a sharp increase in the demand for green buildings in recent years.
The construction sector accounts for a large percentage of the world's total energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. An effective and intelligent method of ensuring sustainable development is through the green building concept. "Green Building" concept is a practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient through the building life cycle.
A green building is a structure that is designed, built, renovated, operated or reused in ecological and resource-efficient manner. Green buildings are designed to meet certain objectives such as protecting occupant health; improving employee productivity; using energy, water and other resources more efficiently; or reducing the overall impact to the environment.
Implementing the green building concept can result in reduction of carbon emissions by 35%, water usage by 40%, energy usage by 50% and solid waste by 70%.
The benefits of green building are the reduction in energy consumption, reduction in the destruction of natural resources, reduction in water consumption, limited waste generation, increased user productivity and corporate image enhancement.
When planning to construct any type of building, the site should be selected after taking into consideration the conservation of local vegetation, wildlife, natural water resources etc while the landscaping and exterior design should be done to ensure more shaded areas, the light trespassing can be eliminated and local plants can be grown.
The green building design should not disrupt natural water flow. Waste water from sources such as dish washing or washing machines can be used for subsurface irrigation or treated or non-potable purposes e.g flush toilets and wash cars.
Green architecture also seeks to reduce waste of energy, water and material used during construction. A well-designed building will help reduce the amount of waste generated by the occupants as well, by providing them with on-site solutions such as composite bins to reduce matter going to landfills.
Natural light harvested in intermediate floors to minimize electricity usage. In addition, via an effective window placement (day lighting) is used to provide more natural light and lessen the need of electric lighting during the day.
In a green building, occupants shall feel as if they are in a natural environment. Interior and exterior designs shall go hand in hand by blending natural and artificial lighting.
A comfortable atmosphere at workstations improves staff attendance and increases productivity. In an air-conditioned environment, a green building shall be specially equipped to ensure indoor air quality necessary for a healthy atmosphere. Green building use products that are non-toxic, reusable, and recyclable whenever possible. Materials with higher recycled content should be selected in order to reduce the embodied energy of the buildings, thereby decreasing the environmental impact of the extraction and processing of energy extensive materials. Statistics have also shown that green building reduce 30%-40% in operational costs.