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Green Building 101 – Sustainable Techniques for the Modern Builder

Architecture, Building Design, Construction, Eco-Friendly, Energy Efficiency, Environment, Green Building, Innovation, Modern Techniques, Sustainability

Green Building 101 – Sustainable Techniques for the Modern Builder

Buildings consume significant quantities of energy, water and materials which have serious environmental, social and economic ramifications.

Green buildings are part of responsible urban development that helps combat climate change.

Green construction is an integrated approach to designing, building and operating a building, from its conception through design, construction and operation. It considers all factors related to designing the space: design aesthetic, health and wellness of its occupants, energy performance evaluation, sustainable materials use as well as waste disposal among many others.

1. Energy Efficiency

Building green involves designing homes or offices that consume less energy and emit fewer emissions, using sustainable building techniques to minimise any negative impacts the project may have on people, the environment or future generations.

Traditional construction adds additional strain on electricity grids, increases fossil fuel use and releases greenhouse gases into the environment – these factors illustrate why green building has become increasingly popular with builders and consumers alike.

Boss Controls, a smart building control company, estimates that buildings use over 68% of total electricity used nationwide and account for 33% of landfill waste and carbon dioxide emissions. When developing commercial or residential structures it’s possible to make them green from day one by making key architectural modifications that reduce energy usage and greenhouse emissions.

Energy efficiency improvements provide more than just reduced electricity demands – they also bring multiple other advantages, from economic, community, and environmental perspectives, including reduced heating/cooling costs and enhanced indoor comfort.

Energy efficient upgrades for buildings typically involve improved insulation and lighting upgrades. Insulation reduces energy usage for thermal comfort while LED and fluorescent bulbs use significantly less electricity than their incandescent counterparts. Energy efficiency upgrades also enhance the performance of appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines.

ENERGY STAR certification is one of the best-known green building standards in the US, setting and enacting national standards designed to help homes and businesses conserve energy, save money, protect the climate, and save both energy and money while being more eco-friendly. These ENERGY STAR standards are reviewed every three years to make sure they continue meeting energy saving technologies and requirements that arise.

Other green building initiatives include the Living Building Challenge, which is considered the world’s most rigorous green initiative. It emphasizes regenerative design with features like closed-loop water systems, integration of renewables to reach net zero carbon annually and regular indoor air quality testing – among many others.

2. Water Efficiency

As 70% of Earth is covered by water, yet only 3% is fresh, water efficiency is an integral component of green building practices. With limited freshwater reserves at our fingertips, conserving this limited resource requires efficiency measures be implemented throughout every structure, such as cutting water usage or installing alternative sources of supply. Utilizing these strategies can help builders earn LEED-H certification while cutting operating costs and reaching LEED certification more easily.

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Conducting a water audit is one of the best ways for builders to increase water efficiency, giving them a thorough understanding of their building’s water consumption and helping to develop energy-saving policies and procedures. This can be completed either in-house or with assistance from utility or plumbing specialists.

Utilizing a smart water management system can make identifying and fixing leaks much simpler. This software monitors a building’s water usage and detects any problems as well as suggest ways to save money and reduce waste. Another effective strategy to increase building’s water efficiency is installing low-flow fixtures and appliances which use less energy, helping reduce consumption by up to 40%.

Alternative irrigation strategies involve harnessing rainwater or greywater for irrigation purposes. This can be accomplished by collecting roof runoff into tanks for later use; such systems can even help save on water usage by flushing toilets! Ultimately, such methods could significantly decrease usage.

Selecting appropriate landscaping and gardening materials can also help increase a building’s water efficiency. Drought-resistant plants can help cut back on water consumption while mulch and bark can reduce evaporation by as much as 75%. Furthermore, installing a water butt can collect rainwater to reuse for gardens rather than depend on mains supply for garden watering needs.

Green construction is more than a trend; it’s essential for our planet’s health. Thanks to new technology and techniques, sustainable buildings are now within reach for today’s construction industry. By taking advantage of these game-changing innovations, builders can save money, reduce environmental impact and promote healthy living for residents.

3. Materials

Sustainable construction refers to using materials that are environmentally responsible, renewable, non-toxic, or recyclable during the building process. By using green materials in this way, sustainable construction also supports local economies while helping reduce energy consumption, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, buildings constructed this way are safer for both their occupants and the environment while needing minimal maintenance costs.

Sustainable materials should ideally come from regional and/or national suppliers when possible; this ensures they are readily available in the area where construction takes place while also contributing to supporting local economies. Green builders may also seek more eco-friendly options like using self-healing concrete mixes instead of traditional mixes when choosing materials for green builds.

Green construction techniques also involve reducing waste by recycling or reusing materials from previous projects in new ones, or installing waste reduction measures like compost bins to divert material away from landfills.

Utilizing materials with low embodied energy consumption is another essential aspect of green construction, and replacing traditional wood products with options that have lower carbon/harmful impacts is particularly critical. Examples include lumber that is certified sustainable; rapidly renewable plant materials like bamboo and straw; as well as non-toxic recycled materials like concrete, hempcrete and recycled metals.

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Education and awareness can be an effective way of encouraging customers to use sustainable materials. This may involve explaining their environmental and social benefits while outlining any negative repercussions from non-sustainable alternatives; offering discounts or loyalty points when purchasing green materials; or even creating policies which support using sustainable materials within the building industry.

Reusing and recycling construction materials is another great way to use sustainable building materials sustainably. At Georgia Tech, for instance, the Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design was assembled using salvaged heart pine joists taken from old Tech Tower and slate shingles from Alumni Association building roof. Furthermore, bamboo was employed both structurally and decoratively throughout this building; while cob is an effective natural material solution that offers thermal regulation with lower electricity costs.

4. Indoor Air Quality

Green building offers many health and wellbeing advantages beyond reducing energy and materials use, including saving energy and materials costs and decreasing waste generation. One key aspect is ensuring high air quality by clearing away contaminants like materials or fumes as soon as they appear – an issue often faced in multifamily buildings, commercial spaces and office environments where poor indoor air can contribute to stress, illness and even premature death.

Though the causes of poor air quality vary, several methods exist to combat contaminants and keep indoor environments healthy for occupants. These include implementing housekeeping and maintenance programs using low-emitting cleaning products; installing exhaust ventilation for all major local sources; instituting smoking policies; creating educational materials about air quality issues for occupants; as well as using pressure control ventilation systems in storage areas to eliminate mold spores and other pollutants.

One way to promote occupant health is by providing them with ample natural light and fresh air in their home or office space. This can be accomplished by installing large windows or skylights with opening shutters when temperatures heat up, or opening windows when opening them for natural ventilation when opening them allows. Incorporating daylighting with natural ventilation also works in synergy – windows opened for fresh air intake may capture solar heat while simultaneously lowering utility bills!

Other ways to boost occupant well-being include providing access to outdoor green space and encouraging walking, exercise and socialization. This can be accomplished by choosing a building location with plenty of greenery or by including green roofs, walkways and balconies within your design. Cohousing is an emerging trend in sustainable building industry that provides families with close-knit communities in urban settings. These homes are designed to be self-sufficient, connecting humans with nature while encouraging sustainable practices such as gardening, ride sharing and solar energy production. Some even feature advanced features like closed-loop water systems for closed loop water systems for net-positive carbon each year, renewables that reach net positive carbon each year as well as indoor air quality testing at regular intervals.

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