An approach towards sustainable living: green building

 Developing infrastructure has always been a dominant part in driving an economy towards the positive side. It can include developing residential areas, schools, public places and tourist spots. But developing such infrastructure should be decided based on economic parameters only?

An approach towards sustainable living: green building
Worm eye view of high rise building

We know that each and every development activity has greater or lesser impact on the surrounding environment. So how can infrastructural development be left behind? Infrastructure development has several negative impacts on the environment. For example clearance of the agricultural or forest land causes reduction in the number of trees which has several impacts on the environment. Green buildings be thought as a solution for these impacts?

Green building is an approach to eliminate or reduce to some extent the negative impacts of infrastructural development on the human health of the occupants as well as those residing within the buildings and the natural environment. It can be a part of sustainable development which emphasizes the intelligent usage of natural resources which are available to us.

An approach towards sustainable living: green building
Green building with vertical gardening

It is also known as “sustainable building” or “green construction”. The term itself gives us the idea about the concept. Green building is an environmentally friendly or eco friendly building. The design and construction of such buildings may vary depending upon the local climatic conditions. 

Several components can be incorporated within the building design. First and the foremost thing that needs to be installed is the solar panels. However, there are several applications of solar energy but utilizing solar panels is the most effective application. Such solar energy can be stored and can be utilized as per the convenience for electricity purposes.

An approach towards sustainable living: green building
Solar panels on the roof top

The second component that needs to be installed are the components for rainwater harvesting. Keeping in mind the reduction in the fresh water amount, rainwater harvesting becomes an essential component of the Green buildings. There are several ways for storing and utilizing the rainwater. But the easiest technique that we can adopt is rooftop harvesting. In this method simply the water collected from the rooftop is stored, filtered and utilized as per our needs.Underground tanks and reservoirs can be made for accumulating the rain water. Rain saucer system can be adopted.

An approach towards sustainable living: green building
Roof top harvesting

The third thing that needs to be taken care of are the construction materials. Such materials should never pose a harm to the environment at the times of construction and also during the demolition. Usage of glasses should be avoided. As glass is completely composed of silica, which has a high resistance to degradation activity. 

The material to be selected for constructing a green building should possess the following characters:

  1. The material should be biodegradable in nature.

  2. Materials from recycled and salvaged agro industrial waste.

  3. Materials with low emissions of volatile organic chemicals.

  4. Materials that avoid the toxic additions in the environment.

  5. Materials that need to be used in small quantities but should be durable at the same time.

  6.  Materials that save energy and water.

  7. Recyclable and reusable materials should be used.

  8. Materials which do not create large quantities of waste should be used.

The fourth component that is to be added are the plantations. Trees should be grown in the surrounding areas to reduce the CO2 which is emitted by certain appliances. As we know CO2 is a major greenhouse gas and also a matter of worry for scientists. Trees utilized the CO2 for their nutrition purposes (photosynthesis process). And in favour of what the trees give us is the pure oxygen (essential for survival of the human and buildings too). Sometimes vertical gardening can also be done. There are two advantages of vertical gardening. The look of the building becomes good and also the CO2 emissions get controlled.

An approach towards sustainable living: green building
Go green with green building

There are a number of goals that needs to be achieved by construction a costlier building than the conventional building:

  1. The foremost motto is the efficient use of natural resources available to us.

  2. Renewable resources such as solar energy needs to be used in an intelligent manner.

  3. Along with the efficient utilization of the natural resources, conservation of such resources also needs to be taken care of.

  4. The materials that are to be used, should emit low or negligible quantities of volatile organic chemicals. Thus, refinement in the quality of air is a goal.

  5.  Improving the employee productivity by preserving the health of the workers.

  6. Minimal waste, pollution and other kinds of environmental degradations are aimed. 

The ultimate goal is to eliminate the harmful effects on the natural environment and also to enhance the positive sides.

Besides the 4 components described above, there other things can also be incorporate looking at the local environment:

  1. For water recycling purposes, septic tanks can be established at the home level.

  2. Solid waste generated at the home level has to be segregated into three components: biodegradable waste, non biodegradable waste and household hazardous waste. The biodegradable waste has to be incorporated into a process known as composting. Composting can be done within the backyard or open space. Nowadays composting bins are also available within the markets. Thus, we are getting an additional asset i.e. manure. 

  3. Certain small things need to be taken care of. The direction of the kitchen should be in the east so that during the morning time it receives the fresh sunlight and the kitchen area gets automatically sanitized.

  4. Another component of concern which we use to make our house look cool is paints. But paints (not all) have several negative effects on the natural environment as well as on human health too. Paints emit volatile organic chemicals which can be harmful for human health. It can cause eye, nose and throat infection as well as can cause liver and kidney cancers. The other problem with certain paints is the high emission rate of CO2. The other big issue is the consumption of oil or petrochemical materials for the paint production. Oils and petrochemicals being nonrenewable sources needs to be consumed in a sustainable way. Also the degradation of petrochemical compounds is another issue. Acrylic paint having less quantities of hydrocarbons can be used as an alternative. Also powder coating methods can be utilized. 

Also read: wind energy

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