Green building constructions are quickly increasing in demand and popularity, with brands and global companies becoming more socially conscious and aware of their impact on the environment and an increased pressure from groups has placed higher expectancies of global businesses to positively contribute to the world and take accountability for their carbon footprint.
Changes have occurred on both large and small scales, with businesses making small changes such as implementing energy reducing techniques and water saving systems whereas others have built entirely new structures that run almost entirely on renewable energy, perform efficiently, reduce pollution and water usage, are made from recycled or sustainable materials and ensure a good quality of air inside of the building for employees or inhabitants.
What is a green building?
A green building is a structure that considers the impact on the environment in every element of its design, construction and operation. The building should be built around the idea of eliminating negative impacts on the environment and implementing positive systems that benefit the outside world.
Construction materials should have little to no impact on their surroundings, and should, ideally, be made from recycled and sustainability sourced resources where possible. Preservation of natural materials is crucial; therefore construction should omit the use of scarce or non-renewable materials whilst also creating less waste and using fewer resources where possible. Overspecifying can cause waste, so employing a quantity surveyor will allow for a company to efficiently calculate the number of materials that are needed for the build. Reclaimed materials, from construction to interiors, are another great way to complete a build that does not take any further materials away from the planet.
The impact on the environment can be reduced by using materials that have a low or decreased embodied energy as well as identifying opportunities to use locally sourced materials in order to reduce the number of emissions and road congestion caused by the transportation of resource.
Finally, green buildings can be designed with future deconstruction in mine. By creating a building that has the capability to be easily deconstructed and reused at the end of its lifecycle can provide resources for future generations to utilise to create new structures.
What are the benefits?
The evidence of the benefits of green buildings is being recognised around the world, contributing to global goals to address climate change, deforestation, sustainability, economic growth and supporting communities. The benefits of green building initiatives are grouped into three core categories: environmental, economic and social.
The environment is one of the most important global conversations happening right now and every industry needs to find ways to support it through sustainability. Within the construction of buildings, there are now an array of methods which reduce and eliminate negative impacts that they have on the environment. This can be achieved through a number of systems that ensure less waste is created from resource and power and reducing or amending the amount and type of materials used during the construction process. Increasing efficiency of a building can reduce their contribution to greenhouse gases, save energy, generate renewable sources of energy, support in limiting the global temperature rise and cut carbon emissions.
There are a significant number of financial benefits to green buildings, applicable to a number of different groups of people. A few examples of this is tenants or inhabitants of the building subject to savings on utilities, lower costs associated with construction whilst maintaining a higher property valuation benefitting developers and job creation in the local area.
Finally, green building benefits both local and global communities, through offering healthier work and habitation environments. The majority of social benefits ensure that communities are exposed to less pollution and see an overall improvement in their general health.