Friday, February 8, 2013


"A green building is one which uses less water, optimizes energy efficiency, conserves natural resources, generates less waste and provides healthier spaces for occupants, as compared to a conventional building."

Green building (also known as green construction or sustainable building) refers to a structure and using process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle: from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. This requires close cooperation of the design team, the architects, the engineers, and the client at all project stages. The Green Building practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort.

Although new technologies are constantly being developed to complement current practices in creating greener structures, the common objective is that green buildings are designed to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by:

* Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources
* Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity
* Reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation

A similar concept is natural building, which is usually on a smaller scale and tends to focus on the use of natural materials that are available locally. Other related topics include sustainable design and green architecture. Sustainability may be defined as meeting the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Although some green building programs don't address the issue of the retrofitting existing homes, others do. Green construction principles can easily be applied to retrofit work as well as new construction.

A 2009 report by the U.S. General Services Administration found 12 sustainably designed buildings cost less to operate and have excellent energy performance. In addition, occupants were more satisfied with the overall building than those in typical commercial buildings.

Green building practices aim to reduce the environmental impact of buildings, so the very first rule is: the greenest building is the building that doesn't get built. New construction almost always degrades a building site, so not building is preferable to building. The second rule is: every building should be as small as possible. The third rule is: do not contribute to sprawl (the tendency for cities to spread out in a disordered fashion). No matter how much grass you put on your roof, no matter how many energy-efficient windows, etc., you use, if you contribute to sprawl, you've just defeated your purpose. Urban infill sites are preferable to suburban "greenfield" sites.

Buildings account for a large amount of land. According to the National Resources Inventory, approximately 107 million acres (430,000 km2) of land in the United States are developed. The International Energy Agency released a publication that estimated that existing buildings are responsible for more than 40% of the world’s total primary energy consumption and for 24% of global carbon dioxide emissions.

In thinking of a green home, you must think of how it not only needs to be energy efficient, but also Eco-friendly. There are five key components that make up a green home.

 * Conserve natural resources
 * Use energy efficiently
 * Have improved indoor air quality relative to normal building standards
 * Create less waste to build and live relative to normal building standards
 * Be part of a livable community

In getting started on a green home, you must keep the three “R”s in mind; reduce, reuse, and recycle. You will want to reduce the amount of items you will be putting into your home.  Also, think of all the used materials that can be used to build the home. Reusing something, will prolong its life and keep it out of a landfill.

With recycling you can reduce the need to grow or extract raw materials. Start developing ideas as to what you would want your home to look like. It is best if you find a contractor you like, and a builder that specifically knows green.  Once you have a blue print, you can get to work.
Sources: Wikipedia, India Green Building Council, green solar cafe


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