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Going Green: Its Definition, Benefits and Goals

Going green is the new trend in this generation where natural resources aren’t sustainable anymore. There will come a time when people will no longer have natural resources to use. This is alarming that’s why certain trends and innovations such as green building have been made to help in delaying the drastic effects of man-made changes in the environment.

What is a green building? Green building is a way of building resource-efficient structures and implementing environment-friendly processes all throughout the building period – from planning to designing, constructing, operating, maintaining, renovating and deconstructing. This type of process covers four aspects: economy, durability, utility, and comfort.

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Why go for green building? Apart from helping the environment, most people find the green building as a way to reduce carbon footprints. There are a lot of ways to go green. From building establishments up to manufacturing materials, the green movement is evidently seen. Are you thinking of ways to get started in going green? There are various ways on how to start. What’s important is that little steps are taken to do something big for the environment. How does green building help the environment?

•    It reduces trash, all types of pollution and environment degradation.
•    It efficiently uses water, energy, and other natural resources.
•    It protects the health of occupants and improves their productivity at work.

Is it more expensive to go green? Some people think that going green costs more money, but what they don’t know is that it’s just a misconception. Yes, going green may cost more money during the start because of using green products and materials. However, think of it as an investment. Consider its benefits in the long run. Over time, you can save energy costs because Green building promotes energy efficiency. Going green is like hitting two birds with one stone: money is saved because of green construction environmental benefits.

What are these green construction environmental benefits? With green building’s constant technology developments, it can really help the environment through the following:

•    Reduces water wastage
•    Conserves the natural resources
•    Improves the quality of water and air
•    Protects the earth’s ecosystems and biodiversity.

Apart from green construction environmental benefits, going green also has economic and social impacts. By adopting greener methods and practices to integrate with the design and building construction, going green provides the following:

•    Reduces the cost of operations
•    Brings in more profits due to the improved productivity of occupant workers
•    Creates a market and network for introducing green products as well as services
•    Improves people’s quality of life
•    Minimizes strain on the side of local infrastructures
•    Provides comfort to occupants

While the main goal is to address earth’s sustainability and its resources, the deeper goal is to ensure sustainability without interrupting natural habitats around. It’s important to consider different natural habitats around the environment when building a project because its construction can significantly affect wildlife including species of plants. Keep in mind that a simple change like green building can make a big difference. It helps in promoting planet Earth as a better place for all living things to live in.

SAVING ENERGY THROUGH GREEN CONSTRUCTION

In the past decades, development has been tantamount to environmental destruction. The construction of buildings, factories, and houses required the cutting of trees, and most businesses consumed a great deal of energy. This led to the aggravation of environmental problems.
With people becoming more and more aware about the adverse effects of development, they found ways on how they can contribute to sustainable development without compromising the environment. Hence, green construction became a common concept among developers, architects, and engineers alike.

Energy saving through green construction is the efficient use of resources while constructing healthy and energy-efficient buildings and homes. It provides balance between development and sustaining the environment. Energy saving through green has also become a common term among recent companies. It involves designing buildings that will help reduce consumption of energy like the utilization of natural lights.

Detailed vector of a modern eco, earth friendly house

Detailed vector of a modern eco, earth friendly house

Here are other examples of green construction concepts that help save energy. People can use these concepts for their home or for their offices.

1.)     Consider the location of your house when buying or building a property. As much as possible, avoid houses that face west as this has minimal exposure to the sun. This will also contribute to the cooling of your house. If you live in a place with a cool climate, this kind of location will not let you utilize natural lighting and may require you to use a heater. Hence, buy or build a property where you can maximize the utilization of the sun.

2.)     Consider the size of your house. The smaller your house is, the less energy you can consume. That is because large houses require the use of too many lights and air-conditioning system.  Having a smaller house will also help you save money as your electricity bill will be smaller.

3.)     Maximize insulation and ventilation. Having several windows and letting the air circulate around your house will help you reduce the use cooling systems in your house. Similarly, using good insulation systems in your house can help you reduce the use of heating systems. Talk with your engineer on how you can maximize the insulation and ventilation in your house so that you can reduce the use of energy.

4.)     Use solar panels. Although solar panels are expensive, one can save a great deal from it in the long term. That is because it only requires initial financial investment. It means that once you have bought yourself a solar panel, you no longer have to pay for electricity for a lifetime. Solar panels will not only help you reduce energy cost, but you can also help save the environment.

5.)     Collect rainwater to water your plants in your garden. If you have a garden, using tap water will cost you a lot. For you to save on resources, collecting rainwater in a container and using them for domestic purposes like watering the plants will help a lot.

These are just some ideas, which you can do energy saving through green construction in your home. If you want to build or buy a property, consider how much you can save by following these tips.

The History of Green Construction

The concept of Green Revolution is not new. The history of Green Revolution started way back 500 BC in Scotland upon the construction of Ardestie Earth House. In Coober, Australia, there were Underground Homes built thousand years ago. The most impressive evidence of Green Revolution is the entire village of Anasazi Indian tribe of Southwest in 1100 AD where all houses and buildings used solar heat during winter season. Around 1797, the Peralta Adobe in San Jose California proved that adobe is an excellent material to build energy-efficient buildings because of its ability to sustain heat and slow release over time. In 1800’s, the Kasubi Tombs in Uganda used overlapping layers of vegetation such as reeds and grass to build green structures.

During industrial revolution, solar energy was successfully turned into electrical energy or photovoltaic power. In 1800’s to 1900’s, solar plants were built to utilize the energy from the sun for steam power. In 1950, the use of solar energy remained unpopular and used in small scale volume due to high initial cost.

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Twenty years later, solar panel solution brought another dimension to the history of Green Revolution. The energy crisis of 1970’s brought researches to find alternative sources of energy. One of these renewable sources is solar energy to combat the escalating prices of oil in international market. This development brought inspiration to environmental business advocates to build environment-friendly and energy-efficient houses.

The popularity of green buildings and homes rose significantly around late 20th Century. In 1989, the green movement in United States was given recognition and credibility when the Committee on the Environment was formed by American Association of Architects. The Green Organization released the Environment Resource Guide in 1992. The book was funded by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It brought serious message to people to “go green”.

The Green Revolution brought green buildings when EPA in collaboration with the Department of Energy launched Energy Star Program during the same year and continues its popularity until today. Also in 1992, Austin Texas was the first city to release a green housing project for its residents.

 In 1993, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) was organized. During this year, the administration of President Bill Clinton implemented numerous green renovation projects. Energy Star Program became more popular and more people used home appliances under the program. In year 1998, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Program was launched which brought innovations to the program. Different changes were made that contribute to the future of Green Revolution.

Green Revolution also utilizes sustainable materials like recycled wastes to complement the raw materials used during construction. Healthy indoor environments are also created to reduce unhealthy emissions such as use of native plants that thrive without extra watering. Green revolution brings a lot of benefits such as reduction of pollution, waste and environmental destruction aside from efficient use of energy.

Today, harnessing the power of the richest energy source continues to bring positive impacts on economy, environment and health. More and more people embrace the idea of living and working on green structures which brings high-performance functionality, comfort and durability.

Green Construction: Why Live in an Environment-friendly Home?

Many steps have been taken when it comes to improving the state of our environment. Since the dawn of the new millennium, the focus changed from industrial improvement to ecological improvement. The previous century’s boost in the field of industry and technology has proven to be degrading to the state of our planet’s health, and so the matter at the focus in this generation is to reverse the destructive effects of humanity’s efforts to improve our state of living.

From efforts in planting trees to exterminating the old fashioned and majorly dangerous fume-producing technologies of the past, inventors, scientists and politicians raised awareness and strived to put the emphasis on saving the planet.

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This green effort has spread from the industrial world and even up to the architectural world. Engineers, architects and interior designers focused on creating green construction home plans that would increase the awareness of people in saving the planet even more. Currently, the creation of green construction home plans has proven to be a hit from those involved in the building process to those who are in the middle of choosing homes.

When talking about green construction, the environmental effects of the design of buildings and homes are taken into serious consideration. No home is built without thinking about how it will affect Mother Nature, regardless if the projected effect is significant or not.

The factors involved in making green construction home plans include the following:

• Use of sustainable and renewable materials. Designers of environmentally-friendly homes take into consideration the materials that were used in the creation of the houses or buildings. The materials should be natural, such as stone or wood, and should be comfortable enough for the people who will be using the building or home.

• Site-specific positioning. Homes that are considered friendly to the environment should be constructed in areas that will not harm Mother Nature. For instance, instead of constructing a house in an area where trees need to be cut down to make space, designers should opt for already vacant spots that are, instead, near to trees, if that is the specification of the people who will live in the building.

• Design. Nature-friendly abodes let in natural air and sunlight, so as to reduce the need for ventilation and electricity. In considering this, location is also taken into account. Designers will search for areas where the natural light is abundant, and the airflow is free and consistent throughout the day. Design-wise, nature-friendly homes have wider windows, more open spaces for natural light, and a proper system for the treatment of water such as gutters for rainwater.

Choosing green homes will benefit not only the environment but also the people who will live in them. Green construction benefits those who reside in the homes since there would be less need for electricity (for light, specifically) and for ventilation since both will already be provided by Mother Nature. This will help cut costs, and who does not want that?