As the harmful effects of global warming grow increasingly apparent in recent years, many large organizations from both private and public sectors resort to various sustainable methods to reduce their impact on the environment. These organizations incorporate green initiatives into their work processes, material, product consumption, and the buildings or facilities where they conduct operations.
Sustainability in construction has also significantly grown as more people turn their eyes towards efficiency and environmental responsibility. The construction industry is known to have a massive impact on the environment mainly due to their enormous resource consumption, including pollution and waste they produce.
The industry must lend a helping hand by embracing green project management technology, eco-friendly building materials, and efficient manufacturing methods to ensure that construction firms are heading toward creating environmental and economic sustainability.
One of the most efficient ways construction can achieve this goal is by creating more green buildings. The growing trend benefits the environment by offering significant advantages to new structures and existing facilities.
Green Building Benefits
In this modern age, buildings have become an integral part of society as people work, study, rest, and learn inside these mega structures. Due to the number of people inhabiting these spaces, studies suggest that they directly impact our health and well-being.
However, the U.S. Energy Administration (EIA) indicates that the energy consumption from both residential and commercial establishments consumes almost 40% of the total U.S. energy consumption and generates 30% of greenhouse gas emissions.
To combat the enormous drain on our finite resources, several architectural and construction firms incorporate sustainability in most of their designs, building materials, and strategies as building owners and tenants realize the importance of preserving our planet.
Aside from the sustainability factor, here are the three primary benefits of green technology:
1. Environmental - One of the essential benefits of green buildings to our climate and natural environment is effectively reducing carbon emissions and eliminating the direct negative impact on the ecological system. Builders have incredibly reduced consumption in green buildings by using less water and energy by recycling and sustainable design - such as large window installations, solar panels, skylights, airtight and watertight exterior access doors, acoustic walls, and proper insulation.
2. Economic - Green buildings offer substantial economic and financial benefits, highly relevant to many business and building owners. Living in sustainable dwellings effectively reduces cost savings on utility bills for households through water and energy efficiency, lower construction expenses and higher property value for the building developers, and increased employee productivity for business owners.
3. Social - Aside from its environmental impact, green structures also positively impact people's health and mentality. Studies show that green buildings play a crucial role in boosting productivity, higher occupant satisfaction, enhanced well-being, and lower absenteeism rates.
Having additional benefits from green buildings helps promote its importance to everyone. These psychological benefits generally improve everyone's livelihoods, leading to happier and more profitable businesses.
Green Building Technology
The primary way to achieve the benefits of green is through greater energy efficiency. Green building construction plays a vital role in every development and design phase. Every detail of the structure, design, materials, and systems used to run and maintain the building project must be as sustainable and efficient as possible.
Harnessing the sun's infinite solar power has been the oldest and most utilized form of sustainable technology. Residential communities mostly use solar panels to reduce power consumption, but it is used in two ways: active and passive solar energy for green construction.
- Active solar power - It involves using functional solar systems that absorb the sun's energy to accommodate heating and electricity provisions. It also reduces the need for artificial electricity or gas.
- Passive solar power - It is a system that harnesses the sun's radiation to enlighten and warm homes through the calculated arrangement of windows and the use of heat-absorbing surfaces. The windows let in energy, and the heat absorbed reduces the need for warming the house during cold periods such as winter.
While the upfront installation cost for solar technology is higher than traditional systems, it will provide you with significant long-term benefits. It can successfully lessen your energy costs by simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions from non-renewable energy sources like fossil fuels.
Implementing material efficiency through biodegradable materials is among the core concepts of sustainable construction. Traditional building methods lead to the accumulation of toxic waste and chemicals, many of which would take hundreds of years to degrade. Even if it eventually leads to degradation, the debris would have already contaminated its immediate surroundings.
Organic paint is a highly efficient biodegradable material as it quickly breaks down without releasing harmful toxins. Biodegradable materials for building foundations, walls, and insulators are also part of sustainable construction technologies.
Insulation is one of the major components for the construction of buildings and residential homes. Many people are unaware that they are simply wall filters that don't require expensive and highly finished materials.
That said, the utilization of green insulation has proven to be an excellent sustainable method as it disqualifies the demand for high-end finishes made from non-renewable materials. Green insulation offers a solution by using old materials such as denim and newspaper. In other words, it utilizes recycled material to line the walls.
It is hard to think about a time without appliances in this modern age. Our world's natural energy is primarily spent on homes and commercial buildings that necessitated the use of smart appliances as part of the green initiative. Innovative technology emphasizes the installation of energy-saving and self-sufficient devices.
Intelligent household appliances such as refrigerators, microwaves, dishwashers, and lighting kits are examples of such efficient technology. The technology focuses on establishing zero-energy homes as well as commercial buildings.
Cool Roofing System
Sustainable roofs are emerging green design technology to reflect heat and sunlight. It helps maintain the standard room temperatures in homes and office spaces by lowering heat absorption and thermal emittance.
The technology uses reflective paints and unique tiles that absorb less heat and reflect away most solar radiation. They can effectively lessen the dependence on the air-conditioning system and, in return, mitigate energy use and decrease greenhouse emissions.
Water Efficiency Technologies
Several water-efficient technologies are a reliable part of sustainable construction technologies. Essentially, the technologies encompass the reuse and application of efficient water systems. Examples include dual plumbing, greywater reuse, rainwater harvesting, and conservation fixtures. The technology sufficiently manages water supply, recycled and used for non-potable purposes like washing cars and flushing toilets.
The advancement of self-powered buildings is an art of sustainable construction technology since self-powered buildings achieve zero-energy construction. It can generate sufficient power to support their energy needs and even direct surplus energy into the facility grid.
In most cases, wind generation technology is prevalent in skyscrapers, with wind turbines mounted at the rooftops. The constant and heavy air currents at higher altitudes propel the turbine blades, which generates the energy requirements for the building.
We have a responsibility to understand that what we build today must endure and improve the lives of our future generations. Green buildings and the technology that comes along with them lean towards reducing and eventually eliminating the universal effect of the built environment on our natural environment