What are Green Buildings?

Green Buildings or Sustainable Buildings are steps towards sustainable environment. The Green Building Design is developed for efficiently using the resources for construction of buildings which are environment friendly as compared to the conventional building design.

A Green Building may be defined as a building which uses less water, optimises energy efficiency, conserves natural resources, generates less waste and provides healthier space for occupants. The main objective of Green Building is to trigger investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in the buildings with focus on existing premises on a voluntary basis.

As the built environment has a vast impact on the natural environment, human health and the economy, green building strategies are adopted for maximising economic and environmental performance. The conventional building are the biggest energy consumers in the world and emits huge amount of greenhouse gases specifically carbon dioxide causing environmental damage.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings account for:

  1. 36% of the total energy use and 65% of electricity consumption
  2. 30% of greenhouse gas emissions
  3. 30% of raw materials use
  4. 30% of waste output
  5. 12% of potable water consumption

The main principles of Green buildings are: Energy efficiency, Durability, Design, Waste reduction, Water conservation, Indoor air quality and Green products (bamboo flooring, reflective roof shingles, lumber and low-VOC paints).

The most widely accepted standards in the United States are the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED system and the National Association of Home Builders National Green Building Program. These standards provide a green ranking based on the materials and methods used in planning and building the structure.

Green Building Advantages

The green building are gaining importance nowadays, increase in the adoption of the green building practices can reduce the energy consumption significantly. The occupants of green buildings enjoy healthier indoor environments and higher productivity levels. In simple language, the green building concept helps to build better homes that use fewer resources, are more comfortable and last longer. The green building concept is beneficial environmenatlly, economically and socially.

Environmental Benefits

  • Green buildings enhance and protect biodiversity
  • Improves air and water quality
  • Reduce waste streams
  • Conserve and restore natural resources

Economic Benefits

  • Reduce operating costs
  • Improve occupant productivity
  • Enhance asset value and profits
  • Optimize life-cycle economic performance

Social Benefits

Green buildings improve overall quality of life by: 

  • Enhancing occupant health and comfort
  • Improving indoor air quality
  • Minimizing strain on local utility infrastructure

Key Green Building Technologies

The key technologies involved in green business design are Displacement Ventilation, Green House, Radiant/ Passive heating, Day Lighting/ Passive Lighting, Computerized Windows, Smart Lighting/ Power Saving electronics, Photo Voltaic and solar panel system, Wind Turbine, Green Roof, Water Use Reduction, Rainwater collection system, Low or no-VOC paints, Cement substitutes, Plumbing manifolds and Bamboo Flooring.

Key Green Building Trends

The green building trends range from energy scores for homes to web-based displays that track energy usage in real time. The smart grid and connected home is expected to grow as utilities continue to make upgrades to the grid for more effective generation, storage and distribution of power. The Earth Advantage Institute predicted that it will be easier to perform a building-to-building or home-to-home comparison, but publicaly available score on the multiple listing service could push building owners to make needed energy improvements. Building Information Modeling (BIM) software was expected to continue the expansion with new add-on tools with increasingly accurate algorithms for energy modeling and embedded energy properties for many materials and features. The Earth Advantage Institute expects BIM developers to offer more affordable packages aimed at smaller firms and individual builders.

According to Green Building expert, Mr. Jerrry Yudelson, key Green Building Trends for 2011 include:

  1. The worldwide green building movement will continue to accelerate as more countries begin to create their own green building incentives and developing their own councils.
  2. Green building in the U.S. will continue to benefit form the Obama presidency with a continued focus on greening on the executive branch.
  3. Leading building designers and managers will take further steps to reduce water consumption to increase sustainability.
  4. Zero-net-energy designs for new buildings become increasingly commonplace in both residential as well as commercial sectors.
  5. Solar power use in buildings will continue to grow and the local and state governments will take steps to mandate green buildings for public and private sector.
  6. There will be continuous growth in the usage of software and the internet "cloud" in green building design, construction and operations.

Green Building market players

Few of the green building companies are:

  1. Dow Building Solutions
  2. Ravenbrick
  3. Serious Materials
  4. BuildingIQ
  5. Sage Electrochromics
  6. Bloom Energy
  7. Ice Energy
  8. Lutron
  9. Cree, etc,.