This article was updated on the 11th September 2019.
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A green building, also referred to as a sustainable building, is designed, constructed, operated, renovated or reused with a focus on maximizing resource efficiency and minimizing ecological impact. Green buildings are designed to meet various criteria including using energy, water and other resources more efficiently, and reducing the building’s overall impact on the environment.
Green Buildings - The Economic Benefits
The initial costs for green buildings may be higher than conventional buildings, but substantial savings can be made through lower operating costs over the lifespan of a green building.
There are also other economic benefits such as improving the health of the occupants, which in turn increases their economic productivity. A green building also reduces pollution and landfill waste.
Green Buildings - The Key Benefits
The key benefits of green buildings include:
- Reduction in water and electric utility costs
- Enhanced health and productivity for occupants
- Long-term economic return
- Environmentally effective use of building materials
- Reduced environmental impact
Selecting Suitable Sites for a Green Building
The first step in the design of a green building is selecting a site to take advantage of the existing infrastructure like mass transit and public transport networks.
When selecting a suitable site for a green building, protecting local ecological systems and maintaining the existing landscape and natural features should be taken into consideration.
The Energy Efficiency of Green Buildings
Design factors such as the shape and orientation of a green building can significantly affect its energy performance.
Using natural lighting, installing energy-efficiency lighting systems and using alternative energies such as solar and wind energy all help to minimize the electricity demand and improve the energy efficiency of the green building.
Materials and Water Efficiency
Selecting sustainable or green construction materials, for example by using recycled paving materials or furnishings, and minimizing the amount of wastewater increases the efficiency of the green building while at the same time reducing waste and the total environmental impact. This increase in efficiency leads to long-term economic returns.