What Is Green Building?
Green Building is a modern building practice of increasing the efficiency with which buildings use energy and resources, while reducing the building’s impact on the natural environment and human health. Specifically, this concept focuses on promoting energy conservation such as renewable energy and energy efficiency. Meanwhile, it calls attention to minimizing detrimental impacts on the environment by reducing waste, using eco-friendly materials, etc. Generally, three factors or aspects need be considered when constructing a green building:
Site Development: It is vital to consider the geographical conditions of the building. One of the key points of the site development is to minimize the impact on the original environment. For example, eradicating an area of wildwood to start a building is not consistent with the concept of green building. Additionally, to reduce the human impact on the natural environment, designers should consider taking advantage of natural resources such as solar energy and thermal heat.
Material selection. Green building requires the use of durable and recyclable materials. In addition, the materials should have minimum effects on the environment over the life cycle of the building. Green building materials are becoming more popular and easily accessible. The Green Building trend has brought a lot of attention and focus to materials and many more companies are producing recycled materials.
Energy Efficiency. It is still important to ensure the comfort of the building while increasing the buildings productivity and reducing the long-term operation costs. A comfortable environment can be achieves using feasible options, including taking advantage of natural resources and using advanced technologies to conserve energy.
Why Is Green Building Important?
It is undeniable that the whole building process has an extensive impact on the natural environment, including resource consumption and the amount of pollution. Hence, an idea of Green Building is proposed to facilitate energy efficiency and to minimize pollution without sacrificing the comfort and the health of the people who live in those buildings. Environmentally, green building can protect the ecosystem and reduce waste streams. Economically, it can lower operation costs, life-cycle costs and increase occupant productivity. It can also benefit peoples health and safety. Overall, the green building will enhance human welfare in the future.
Is Green Building costly and risky?
Technically, green building can increase the initial building costs. However, it is important to understand the cost long-term, it will reduce operation costs from several aspects. For example, by using natural resources such as solar energy, it allows the occupants to save energy costs. Additionally, geothermal wells can supply both heating and cooling to a building, ultimately reducing the heating and cooling a building needs to produce.
Is it risky? Yes, sometimes it can be risky. Since green building is a relatively new industry compared to traditional construction, there could be many types of risks in the construction process, such as product-related risk. For instance, in a ductwork system, a type of water-based mastic can prevent the release of undesirable VOCs (Volatile Organic Compound), which comes from the solvent-based mastic. However, since the water-based mastic stays wet for several weeks, it can cause mold growth, which would ruin all previous work. The major problem in this case is the coordination between design and construction sectors. A better communication should be kept between these parts. One of the strategies to solve this problem is to have an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) approach. It integrates design and construction thereby eliminating possible communication barriers. Arctecon, a Pittsburgh-based company, is an integrated architecture+ technology+ construction team. We believe, to optimize project results and increase values to the owner, it is significant to create a collaborative alliance of people, systems and business practices. One of our partners is Moshier Studio, an architecture firm specializing in green building design. For more information, please Contact us and sign up for our Newsletter.
The LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a nationally accepted rating system for the design, construction and operation of commercial green buildings. The program has systematic measurements of the performance of green buildings. Moshier Studio, an Arctecon partner, as a member of the US Green Building Council, and pioneers in the LEED process, has successfully developed several projects around the Pittsburgh area. The firm provides a variety of architectural services and possesses a number of LEED certificates.