An increased focus on man’s impact on nature helped to stimulate and promote the growth of “green building”. A great focus is centred on minimizing our impact as the world’s population continues to fill out. This is clearly an area where attention is warranted. Structure has been an integral part of the human experience since the first Neanderthals hunkered down in a cave to wait out a storm. It only makes sense that we strive to create buildings that will function with greater efficiency in tune with the environment as opposed to in stark contrast.
A number of considerations go into what constitutes a green building. The most important point is that the building is built with efficiency in mind. If it meets the definition of sprawling, as in organized in a disorderly fashion, then it already fails as a green building. Sprawling buildings take up more space than they should and create an inefficient interior for heating and cooling.
– Consideration begins during the design process. Location of the building will play an inherent role in how it is planned out. A building is a complex combination of a variety of materials that will all perform differently as time passes and they break down. These projections will be drawn up before ground is ever broke.
– Efficiency of the green building will be vital to its contribution to the environment. Energy and water efficiency are both obvious points. We tend to consider those things when shopping for upgrades to a home or appliance. Material efficiency is a concept growing in popularity. That sees due consideration given to building materials that are easy to replenish like bamboo, natural materials, and recycled industrial materials.
– Government institutions also require that buildings be functionally useful to the occupants for their intended purposes. Some natural materials or design specifics are changed to accommodate the human presence. Natural materials can release different types of gases or dusts into the air that would cause health issues for a person with a weak immune system.
– Maintenance and operational capacity must function at a normal level while still being in compliance with green requirements. Those requirements include a functionality to perform to the fullest capacity required of the building space.
– The final consideration is overall waste reduction. The building and use process of a building often account for a great deal of physical waste that ends up in landfills. The idea is to reduce the amount of materials that end up as waste during construction and operational activities for the building.
A great issue that arises for requirements of this style of building is the overall cost. Recently developed products, materials, and efficient equipment cost more than more traditional equivalents. That puts a business owner in a much tougher spot if they decide they want to put up a green building. Regulations do require some compliance though it is still more lax than what government agencies would like to see it promoted to. Hopefully, as more of these ideas and technology catch on, prices will come down to a level that make it affordable even to a start up small business owner.
There are a number of different organizations that have tried to set up standards to help guide builders in the right direction. It is not likely that there will ever be a truly universal set of guidelines to follow to make a green building. The problem is the unique nature of buildings. Each building differs in the goals of the owner, materials used in construction, overall efficiency, and overall use. Trying to put them all into one distinct category of requirements would more likely cause greater efficiencies to arise in attempts to meet compliance.