The World Green Building Council defines a ‘green’ building as a building that, in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts, on our climate and natural environment. Green buildings preserve precious natural resources and improve our quality of life.
Increasing awareness of environmental issues and the concern about the limits of available resources have led to a movement that has come to be known as "Green Building".
What is Green Building?
About Green Building
What are the benefits of Green Buildings?
There are many benefits to green sustainable buildings on an environmental, economic and social level.
With buildings contributing 40 % of global CO2 emissions, the possible savings are immense. A savings potential of 50 % until 2050 is projected.
A report of the WGBC makes a clear business case for green buildings with building owners reporting that green buildings - whether new or renovated - command a noticeable increase in asset value over traditional buildings. This does not yet take into consideration the savings in operational costs.
Furthermore a Harvard study shows that occupants of green certified buildings are significantly more productive and happier.
How to make buildings green?
There are many factors to making a building green.
Ensuring buildings are energy efficient by constructing tight and insulated building envelopes and choosing energy efficient appliances and systems. This will also make the building more comfortable and cost effective to operate, especially if the energy used is obtained from renewable sources.
Conserving water by exploring ways to improve drinking and waste water efficiency and management, harvesting water for safe indoor use in innovative ways, and generally minimising water use in buildings as well as considering the impact of buildings on stormwater and drainage infrastructure.
Minimizing waste in construction and maximising re-use by using less, more durable materials, engaging building users in recycling and taking the building’s end of life stage into consideration from the beginning by designing for demolition waste recovery and reuse.
Using building materials that have minimal environmental impact through their entire life cycle, promote energy efficiency, are from sustainable sources and can be recycled or repurposed.
Promote health and wellbeing of occupants and communities by ensuring people are comfortable in their everyday environments. This includes delivering good indoor air quality through ventilation, avoiding materials and chemicals that create harmful or toxic emissions, incorporating natural light and views, proper sound insulation to help concentration and creating the right indoor temperature.
Creating resilient and long lasting structures that are adaptable to future changes, might they come from our changing climate or changes in their use over time, and avoiding the need to demolish, rebuild or significantly renovate buildings.
Considering all stages of a building's life cycle to seek lower environmental impacts and maximise social and economic value over a building's whole life-cycle. For these we need to ensure that embodied resources, such as the energy or water used to produce and transport the materials in the building are minimised so that buildings are truly low impact.