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Green Building Elements and Design

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Green building (also known as sustainable building or green construction) refers to a structure that uses various resource-efficient and environmentally friendly elements. In other words, this green construction makes balance between the sustainable environment and homebuilding. Therefore, sustainable buildings are designed, constructed, operated, renovated, reused or demolished in an ecological manner.

To build such a structure is not an easy job. It requires close cooperation of the architects, the engineers, the design team, and the building users at all project stages. In comparison with the classical building, green building complements all design concerns of utility, durability, economy and comfort. Building “green” is a great opportunity to use our natural resources efficiently while making healthier buildings that improve our health, create a better environment, and provide significant cost savings.

Green Building

Green building (also known as sustainable building or green construction) refers to a structure that uses various resource-efficient and environmentally friendly elements. Image credit: www.misplon.co.za

The elements of green building

There are numerous elements of green buildings, but they all can be divided into four major groups: Siting (building location), Energy Efficiency, Materials Efficiency and Water Efficiency.

Siting (the most convenient location for building):

  • The building location needs to be suitable for mass transit.
  • It should retain and protect existing natural features and landscape.
  • To use recycled content materials.

Energy Efficiency (to reach high energy efficiency level):

  • Passive design strategies – include building orientation and shape, passive solar design and high use of natural lighting.
  • Develop strategies – provide natural lighting, installation of high efficiency lighting systems and advanced lighting controls.
  • Properly sized and energy-efficient heating / cooling systems.
  • Thermally efficient building shell with light colors for wall finish materials.
  • Minimum of electric loads from equipment, lighting and appliances.
  • Application of alternative (renewable) energy sources such as fuel cells and photovoltaics.

Materials Efficiency:

  • Sustainable construction materials / They have several characteristics: reused or recycled content, low or zero toxicity and emissions, high recyclability, durability, and so on.
  • Material efficiency strategies and dimensional planning.
  • Reuse or recycle of construction materials, with adequate space for recycling collection.
  • Management of materials through construction, deconstruction and demolition of green building.

Water Efficiency:

  • Dual plumbing for use of recycled water – gray water systems that recover rainwater or recycled water for toilet flushing.
  • Low-flush toilets and ultra low-flow shower heads in order to minimize wastewater.
  • Recirculating systems for centralized distribution of hot water; Point-of-use water heating systems for distant locations.
  • Micro-irrigation (which excludes high-pressure sprayers and sprinklers) for lawn areas.
  • State-of-the-art water efficiency irrigation controllers with self-closing nozzles.

Design of green building

Properly designed sustainable buildings must have the above mentioned elements to be “green”. By using new technologies (which are constantly being developed), buildings should be designed to meet certain “green objectives” such as:

  • Protecting health of tenants and building users;
  • Using water, energy and other resources more efficiently;
  • Improving employee productivity;
  • Reduce the overall impact to the natural environment (reducing pollution, waste and environmental degradation).

In addition to green building, there is also so-called natural building. It has a similar concept, which focuses on of natural construction materials that are available locally. Other related subjects include green architecture and sustainable design. In any case, all these structures contribute to a healthier and greener environment in cities.

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