Green or sustainable buildings may be the next big thing in building construction, from skyscrapers to single family homes. The need for a transition to sustainable construction is obvious, since buildings contribute significantly to the consumption of non-renewable resources and to the production of harmful greenhouse gases. Builders, architects, and designers are discovering that eco friendly buildings are also healthier for the people who live in them. A case in point is the use of ecofriendly materials like environmentally friendly wood flooring and solvent free adhesives, which reduce indoor air pollution.
Is there a need for green design?
Conventional building design, from skyscrapers to domestic architecture, has many spectacular achievements but these have come at a high cost. The building industry is both a consumer of non-renewable resources and a major contributor to harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Up to 41% of the world’s energy consumption is due to the building sector. This includes heating and cooling systems, electrical usage, hot water, etc.
As a result, the building sector is high on the list of polluters, contributing as much as 38% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Conventional buildings are wasteful of resources like electricity and water. The cost is paid by the environment and by the people who live or work in these buildings. Indoor air pollution can be 2 to 5 times higher than outdoors. Since people spend about 90% of their time indoors, this creates unhealthy living conditions.
Principles of green design
Green design focuses on building energy-efficient, well-ventilated homes that use sustainable and non-toxic materials. These could be building materials produced from recycled materials, eco friendly wood floors, low-VOC paints, and solvent free adhesives. Materials and systems are designed for reuse and recycling.
Designers also use biomimicry to create systems that copy biological processes that reuse materials continuously. As far as possible, materials made from reused or recycled products are used, and all materials must be recyclable. Green design is effective in reducing consumption of non-renewable resources. Green buildings have been shown to use 25% less electricity and 11% less water than conventional buildings.
Green buildings are healthier
One result of the focus on using non-toxic materials has been a more comfortable and healthier indoor environment. Green design benefits people as well as the planet. For instance, conventional buildings have very high levels of indoor air pollution due to the increasing use of synthetic building materials, furnishings, personal care products, paints and varnishes, pesticides, and household cleaners.
Using eco friendly paint primers and low VOC polyurethane and paints, solvent free adhesives, and other green building products can improve indoor air quality, by reducing the quantity of chemical pollutants. This makes green buildings better for humans as well as for the environment.
Green or sustainable building design focuses on energy-efficient buildings which are constructed using sustainable and recyclable materials. Non-toxic paints, solvent free adhesives, and other low-impact building materials make the buildings safer for the people who live in them. They’re also better for the environment.