Green building refers to an environment friendly structure which is built in such a manner that it continues to be environmentally responsible and resource efficient throughout its life.
When we say throughout its life, it includes everything right from an eco-friendly design to the use of material which will make sure that the environment is not harmed even when the structure in question is demolished.
The concept of green architecture has come a long way, with modern green buildings being built by taking into consideration all the needs of people who would use them - right from expenditure incurred to comfort and durability.
While the benefits of green building for environment and human health may make the concept seem quite interesting, one has to go deeper and see how these buildings are constructed to get a better idea about it.
According to the definition put forth by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the term 'green building' refers to the practice of creating healthier and more resource-efficient models of construction, renovation, operation, maintenance and demolition.
The main objective of green buildings is to reduce the impact of construction of new structures on the environment and human health, and the construction of these building revolves around this very fact.
How are Green Buildings Built?
One of the basic attributes of green building construction is the use of eco-friendly material so as to make sure that the construction of this building is not a threat for the environment at any point in the future - not even when it is renovated or demolished.
The material which can be used for construction of such buildings includes recycled wood, metal and concrete. Not many people must be aware of this, but even the rubble of a demolished building has several useful things which can be recycled and used for the construction of eco-friendly homes.
Other than recyclable and reusable products, the use of products which are manufactured in resource-efficient processes is also promoted by organization which promote the idea of going green.
Other than making sure that minimal damage is caused to the environment, the use of eco-friendly building material also makes sure that the indoor air quality is not deteriorated to an extent wherein it causes harm to humans. The use of products like paints and protective coatings which release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) is best avoided.
Due importance has to be given to waste management in course of green building construction as inappropriate disposal of waste can affect the environment directly and human health indirectly.
At the same time you will also notice that, these buildings are designed in such a way that there is minimum heat loss, which, in turn, makes sure that you don't use much of energy on heaters and other such applications.
Efficient use of resources, such as electricity, water, etc., is yet another important aspect of green buildings. Resorting to some alternative energy sources for generation of electricity and obtaining water from ground water sources can help you reduce the load on the environment.
While people who live off the grid are entirely dependent on such alternatives, those who live in green homes in a city may find such dependence a tough task. A much more convenient option is to use them as alternatives to power supply from the grid and domestic water supply.
Most of the modern green building designs feature solar panel roof tops which harness solar energy, and use it to power the building. Similarly, structures meant for harvesting rainwater and recycling used water are also added to green home design - depending on feasibility.
That being said, one also needs to understand that building a green home without resorting to green living is not of much use. It makes a little sense if you live in a green home, but don't make any efforts to conserve energy or treat waste properly. Such minor things do come into play when it comes to environmental safety.
The rate at which organizations (which promote green living) and agencies (which build green buildings) are mushrooming, it's but obvious that this trend is going to make it big in near future. If you want to contribute your bit to save the environment, 'going green' is the path to opt for.