Green building was developed in the 1970s, during the energy crisis, when people finally realised that they needed to save energy and alleviate environmental problems.
The idea originated on the United States, as they were one of the largest contributors of pollution in the world.
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Due to the fact that Buildings account for a large amount of land, energy and water consumption, and also contribute hugely to air pollution, green building aims to reduce the environmental impact buildings have on the environment.
Practices and technologies used in green building are constantly improving. Many are different from region to region, however there are fundamental principles that must be followed.
Green building is an outcome of a design philosophy, which focuses on increasing the efficiency of 4 main resources:
Along with increasing efficiency, green buildings also aim to reduce the impact buildings have on human health and the environment during the building’s lifecycle.
This is achieved by improved design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal of waste materials.
It is generally agreed that green buildings are structures that are sited, designed, built, renovated and operated to energy-efficient guidelines, and that they will have a positive environmental, economic and social impact over their life cycle. Green specifications provide a good set of guidelines for the building industry, but these are still in the process of being formalised into UK regulation and many are open to interpretation.”
Green building requires a holistic approach that looks at each component of a building and how it relates in context with the whole building. This allows us to look at the impact the building will have on the wider environment and community around it.
Green Building is a difficult approach, which needs builders, architects and engineers to think creatively, and increase the level of integration throughout the project.
There are several resources and published guides that can help builders with the green building process, such as BREEAM (Building and Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), the Code for Sustainable Homes, and EcoHomes.
“Green Building is not simply about protecting the biosphere and natural resources from over-exploitation or over-consumption, nor is it simply about saving energy to reduce our heating bills. It considers the impact of buildings and materials on occupants and the impact of our lives on the future environment.”
(Source – Tom Woolley, Sam Kimmins, Paul Harrison and Rob Harrison 1997. Green Building Handbook. Oxford: Spon Press . 5.)
Green Building Essentials
There are four main criteria that need to be considered in green building.
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