We may expect that a green building means full of greenery such as lawn, shrubs, landscaping etc. But it has a greater meaning. A green building is one which uses less water, optimises energy efficiency, conserves natural resources, generates less waste and provides healthier spaces for occupants, as compared to a conventional building

What makes a building “green”?

A green building is a structure that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout its life-cycle. These objectives expand and complement the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort.

Green buildings are designed to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by:

  • Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources
  • Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity
  • Reducing waste, pollution and environment degradation

For example, green buildings may incorporate sustainable materials in their construction (e.g., reused, recycled-content, or made from renewable resources); create healthy indoor environments with minimal pollutants (e.g., reduced product emissions); and/or feature landscaping that reduces water usage (e.g., by using native plants that survive without extra watering).

What are the benefits of green building?

Buildings have an enormous impact on the environment, human health, and the economy. The successful adoption of green building strategies can maximize both the economic and environmental performance of buildings. Specific environmental, economic and social benefits are listed in Why Build Green?

Research continues to identify and clarify all of these benefits and costs of green building, and of how to achieve the greatest benefits at the lowest costs.

How is green building related to smart growth and sustainable development?

Smart growth is development that serves the economy, the community, and the environment by supporting healthy communities while creating economic development and jobs. Sustainability, or sustainable development, is the ability to achieve continuing economic prosperity while protecting the natural systems of the planet and providing a high quality of life for its people.

Green building fits nicely with these concepts, as it promotes building practices that conserve energy and water resources, preserve open spaces through brownfield development, and are accessible to public transportation. EPA has more information on smart growthand sustainability.

What are green building materials and products?

The Green Building Resource Guide defines green building materials and products as having at least one of the following characteristics: nontoxic; recycled content; resource efficient; long life cycle; or, environmentally conscious. Some materials and products have more of these chara*cteristics than others and are, therefore, considered “greener”.

What are the consequences of building a residence with conventional materials and methods, and why should I consider a green alternative?

The well insulated buildings of today are not as leaky as they used to be. Toxic out-gassing of many synthetic materials used in construction can be trapped within a house much longer now because air infiltration has been greatly reduced in today’s residences over the houses of even 20 years ago. Many of these toxic gases, such as, formaldehyde, are known to be carcinogens. Green products can not only create a healthier indoor air quality for people, but many products have recycled content that reduces waste and environmental pollution.

What is the first step to take towards building a green residence?

Green building is “state of the art” construction, and I would recommend first hiring an architect familiar with green building practices, details, and builders, if you really want to get it right. If you insist on proceeding on your own, begin with fundamental decisions, such as, what structural system to use in the foundation and framing.

I’m just starting a small addition and remodeling project. What simple measures can I take to make it green?

The Department of Health and Human Services has placed fiberglass insulation on its list of suspected carcinogens. Cellulose insulation is one attractive green alternative to the fiberglass batt insulation that typically is installed in most addition and remodeling projects today.

We’re expecting a baby in a few months, and we’d like to redecorate an existing room to create a nursery. What simple measures can we take to make the indoor air quality as healthy as possible without tearing out walls?

Focus on the selection of carpeting and paints that will not off-gas toxins. Doctors claim that children’s’ lungs can be especially sensitive to airborne toxins and tend to absorb them more readily.

Does it cost more to build with green products and materials?

There are many green products and materials that cost the same or even less than conventional ones. The Green Building Resource Guide includes a unique feature that compares the cost of green products to conventional products that they are most likely to replace. It is significant to note that many of the products listed in the Guide are the same cost or less than conventional products.

Where can I purchase green building materials and products?

Many of the major suppliers have some green building materials, however, many of the materials and products must be purchased either directly from the manufacturer or special ordered. The Green Building Resource Guide has “800” numbers and order fax numbers for green building material and product manufacturers organized by Product Index, Manufacturer Index, and Construction Specification Institute Format for quick and easy reference.

Read more about green buildings…………


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