Just what is green architecture, and why are we listening so much about it? Green architecture projects represent an approach to building that's been growing in popularity for nearly three decades. It concentrates on minimizing the environmental impact of creating a building.
While green architecture was once viewed as highly unconventional, it's getting a lot more acceptable and popular. Many of the regulatory agencies are learning to recognize the advantages of the methods of green construction.
Today's green revolution can probably be tracked back to 1960s social awareness and the adoption of different methods of design. Green construction has made great strides since then. New techniques have been developed, new, innovative concepts and materials invented, and buildings have gotten greener.
A successful green project will reduce waste, use non-toxic materials, and pay close attention to the location and function of the building, as well as the climate that surrounds it. That's a long way from the old idea of ”one size fits all” construction methods of the past.
What makes a building green? There are a number of concepts that make up a green building. The main ones are energy efficiency, use of land, reduction of waste, materials used and the sustainability of the project. Green projects should use energy efficient electrical systems whenever possible, especially in the areas of heating and cooling. Gray water recycling, passive solar design, and the use of renewable power are all elements of this.
Building should be constructed to match the environment, rather than forcing changes to the site. Buildings should be located and directed to take maximum advantages of their surroundings. Improved energy efficiency is the desired income and it makes for a building more pleasant to use. Use of land planning in the form of parking and transportation concerns become viable, too.
In a perfect setting the materials used should allow the building to be reused for other construction possibilities in the future producing minimal waste. Green architecture should reduce the dependency on wasteful and toxic materials and products, which is becoming much easier as the industry grows. Some buildings even reuse parts of other buildings, or waste materials such as old shipping containers.
Of course, not all projects labeled green are really green. Some are “greenwashed” – ordinary projects given a green veneer for respectability purposes. Others are built with good intentions but poor planning. That's why it's highly important and effective to know that all green projects be inspected carefully to ensure that they are as safe for the environment as claimed. Helping the environment is complex, but it's worth it in the long run, with buildings being more usable and more sustainable years down the line.