It is Easy Being Green
Green buildings are becoming more common, both in new construction and in renovations. The US EPA defines a green building as one that is environmentally responsible and resource efficient throughout its lifecycle, from siting and design through construction, maintenance and operations, to renovation and demolition.
Green design: A green design makes efficient use of energy, water and other resources; it protects the health of the occupants, can improve employee productivity, and decreases waste and pollution.
Siting: To begin with, you don’t want to add to urban sprawl. You want to be where you can make best use of renewable resources, especially passive and active solar. Being close to alternative transportation and local sources of materials is also important.
Energy Efficiency: Use high efficieny windows and insulation; design the building to use passive solar heating (roof-lines allow the sun to shin in in winter, but provide shade in summer)m as well as to provide natural lighting. Make sure any appliances have an Energy Star or better rating. Choose efficient heating and cooling systems.
|Energy Efficiency: Use high efficieny windows and insulation; design the building to use passive solar heating (roof-lines allow the sun to shin in in winter, but provide shade in summer)m as well as to provide natural lighting. Make sure any appliances have an Energy Star or better rating. Choose efficient heating and cooling systems.|
Water Efficiency: It is important to have water collection, use, purification and reuse on-site as often as possible. Use dual- or low-flush toilets and low-flow showerheads. Grey water usage can also help reduce water consumption.
Materials: Use wood from environmentally certified forests (such as FSC), and fast-renewable materials such as bamboo and straw. Use reclaimed materials like stone. And always think non-toxic, local, reusable, and recyclable.
Indoor environmental quality: Use low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints and carpets. Wood is considered hypoallergenic, and can help moderate humidity. Make sure the building is properly ventilated, and that moisture is controlled to prevent mould. Use proper lighting (natural light as much as possible).
Waste: Use the design phase to reduce waste during construction (and deconstruction). Provide recycling and composting to the building tenants. Use recycled and reused products as much as possible, and if buying new, buy products that can later be reused or recycled.
Cool roofs: A cool roof is one that uses lighter colours than normal, that has high reflectance and emissivity (the ability of a surface to emit radiant energy). Lighter colours can stay up to 39°C cooler during peak summer, and help reduce air conditioner use.
|Green roofs: A green roof has a layer of vegetation growing right on the roof, which serves a variety of functions: it can provide shade, and remove heat from the air through evapotranspiration. It reduces the temperature of the roof surface, keeping the inside of the building cooler. It acts as insulation. And it can slow the runoff of storm water in urban environments, and filter pollutants from rainfall.|
|The U of S Law Building "Living" Roof|
One of the big myths of building green is that it costs much more than traditional building, but the truth is that the cost premium is at the most 2% (if even that), and can yield savings of 20% or more over the life of the building in energy bills and improved worker productivity. And green buildings can also command higher rental rates/sales prices than traditional buildings, as consumers like the idea of being environmentally friendly (or recouping the costs themselves).