What is a green building?
Sustainable building means using more ecological and recyclable materials in construction, it also includes reducing energy consumption and waste. The main goal of sustainable construction is to reduce the industry’s impact on the environment.
Sustainable construction does not end when the building is completed, as the building itself should have a lower environmental impact throughout its life. This means that the building design must include elements that have a permanent positive impact on the building’s environmental impact. These can include proper insulation to prevent heat loss, solar panels to reduce energy consumption, and long-lasting building materials.
Why is sustainable building important?
The construction industry has a huge impact on the environment, from energy use to emissions.
Heavy machinery used in construction continues to rely heavily on fossil fuels, and even inefficient use of electricity can lead to unnecessary burning of fossil fuels downstream. According to Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction – the construction industry accounts for 36% of global energy consumption and 39% of CO2 emissions.
Also, the production and transportation of materials can have a large impact on carbon emissions. And the extraction of minerals to create materials leads to local groundwater pollution. The production of concrete already resulted in the emission of more than 2.2 billion tons of CO2 in 2017, and this figure will only increase since more than 4 billion tons of concrete are used annually in construction.
- Construction can also generate hazardous waste, and improper disposal of such waste can lead to pollution that affects the environment and human health.
How to make construction sustainable?
- Construction for life
Lower costs and a longer lifespan seem to be sufficient reasons to convince a consumer to build an eco-friendly home. But what materials should be used for making the house a sustainable yet cost-effective project?
Here are a few examples of sustainable materials used in construction: bamboo and cork floors, virgin wool carpets, concrete floors and walls, reclaimed timber, metal roofing, and siding. In addition, there are various alternative materials for creating bricks that are not inferior in strength to ordinary bricks and do not require firing. Also, for example, in Australia, it was proposed to process cigarette butts into bricks. The resulting material was lighter and less conducive to heat than conventional bricks, and it took less energy to produce.
Some technologies allow you to save resources: low-consumption plumbing, solar panels, energy-saving batteries, and materials that allow you to keep heat longer, which helps to use less energy for heating.
- Reuse or recycling
Choose materials that can be easily disassembled and reused or recycled at the end of their useful life.
Recycled building materials come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and sometimes come from unexpected sources. Today, there are many different recycled materials on the market: cinder blocks made from plastic bags, tiles made from wine corks, and even walls grown from mushrooms.
- Advanced cropping techniques
Conscientious builders who build sustainable homes usually use advanced techniques to frame their homes. Such frames allow saving materials during construction, as well as reducing labor costs. In the future, the energy and strength characteristics of the house are also improving.
- Saving energy leads to saving money
Using environmentally friendly building materials in your home saves energy and money in the long run. The energy savings come from two factors: First, you save energy by using environmentally friendly materials, the production of which leads to decrease in world’s landfills waste. Second, there are savings at the personal home level by using more efficient materials such as low-flow toilets, environmentally friendly insulation materials that improve the insulation of the home, environmentally friendly heating systems, and water heaters.
- Sustainability for health
Health and comfort are important factors in choosing sustainable construction. Eco-friendly building materials emit fewer hazardous toxins, which can include carcinogens, VOCs, and mold spores.
Using sustainable materials improves the air quality in customers’ home. Examples of things that can help improve air quality include natural wool carpets, insulation that prevents mold growth, and laminates that do not use toxic adhesives.
- Why is it important to choose a local manufacturer?
Using locally sourced building materials reduces transportation especially that the construction materials can be very bulky. This, as a result, will decrease the environmental impact associated with purchasing and transporting the materials.
- Increased resale value
There is another big incentive to use more ecological building materials, besides the money we can save and reduce our carbon footprint, and this is the house resale value. While the trend for sustainable homes will keep growing, the resale value of your improved sustainable house will also increase.
A study by The Washington Post shows that homes that have used third-party sustainability certifications sell, on average, 8% more expensive than similar non-certified homes.
Thus, sustainable building materials and greener building processes are very promising, as it not only helps to protect our environment, but also helps to reduce the costs during construction and increase the house attractiveness over time. The most important aspect of sustainable construction is the responsible approach to the choice of materials and technologies used in the process.
- Which certificates can show that building materials or the factory are more sustainable?
Product certifications are intended to indicate and certify that a product meets a specific standard and environmental benefits. Many product labels and certification programs certify products based on life cycle parameters. Many product certifications are also recognized in comprehensive building sustainability assessment systems such as LEED, Green Globes and the National Green Building Standard. Among the most popular certifications that are suitable for building materials are:
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