Green Building Practices
WHAT IS GREEN BUILDING?
Green Building is the concept of creating a building which incorporates sustainability and low impact on the environment. The concept should be applied to all process parts of the building, from design to build and all the way through to use and maintenance.
Green building focuses heavily on environmental impact and protecting or conserving the local area. By using less energy through clever building, intelligent systems and thoughtful design, almost any building can be green.
It is a myth that green building always and only increases costs. It helps to reduce lifetime costs of a building and, when cleverly designed, can actually be lower cost to build in some areas.
WHAT ARE THE PRINCIPLES OF GREEN BUILDING?
Aiming for a net-zero impact is the ultimate aim of green building – and any building can be a green building!
- Reducing waste (reduce, reuse, recycle)
- Reducing water use
- Using renewable energy technology
- Use of ethical and safe materials
- Pollution reduction
- Improving quality for users (e.g. air quality)
- Constructing and maintaining using sustainable, environmentally friendly methods and processes
WHAT GREEN BUILDING FEATURES ARE THERE?
Some common green building features include (but are not limited to):
Electricity / Energy
- Solar panels
- Peak electricity load shifting
Heating & Ventilation
- Ground source heat pumps
- Passivhaus concepts (reducing HVAC requirements)
- Energy recovery ventilation
- Economic air conditioning
- Improved insulation
- LED lighting
- Presence sensors (lighting)
- 3G windows
Waste & Environment
- Rainwater harvesting
- Grey & black water recycling
- Reduction of building material waste
- Green roof, wall or balconies
GREEN BUILDING SYSTEMS AND RATINGS
There are a few bodies in the UK which can help with Green Building principles:
The UKGBC (UK Green Building Council) is a charity organisation who are working toward sustainable building being standard in the UK. They have a 10 year plan and aim to promote, educate and support green building practice in the UK.
BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is a structured rating system linked to the building design and build process. A score is calculated by an assessor based on things like energy use, pollution and waste, and a star rating is provided for the building.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a system developed in the USA that helps many designers work toward a green building, interior, neighbourhood or operation. The main aim is to achieve a higher score through buildings which reduce energy and water useage, and provide a healthy environment for users. It is a competitor of UK-based BREEAM.