Theincreased danger to the environment due to the amount of carbon beingemitted has resulted in the idea of green buildings. These structuresare considered friendly to the environment because they utilizeenergy and land efficiently, improve indoor and outdoor air quality,conserve water and other resources, as well as increase the use ofrenewable and recycled materials (EPA,2015).Green building describes the exercise of developing constructions andapplying procedures that are environmentally accountable as well asresource-effectual throughout the lifecycle of a structure fromsiting to design, operation, assembly, maintenance, revamp, anddeconstruction. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is an importantconsideration in green building, and it involves the investigationand assessment of the social, environmental, and economic impacts ofa commodity or service (Howe, n.d). When applied to green buildings,LCA assesses the materials used for construction over the course oftheir entire lives and considers their environmental influences.Buildings may incorporate different green attributes, but if theyfail to use energy efficiently, it is hard to show that they aretruly green (Howe, n.d). The main problems that green buildings tryto resolve that conventional buildings do not include the use of vastamounts of land, energy, water, and other resources, as well asemission of harmful air pollutants (Kats,n.d).Therefore, the concept of green building has been deemed an importantconception in the current world as people try to achievesustainability.
Accordingto Wang et al. (2014), green building is an emerging research topic,and some studies have directly associated wood materials with theidea of green building. The environmental performance of wood acts asthe major driving force to using it in the green building concept.Experts who possess sound knowledge concerning wood as a buildingmaterial have agreed on its superior environmental qualifications.According to their study, there is a greater potential forincorporating green building and corporate social responsibility inthe construction segment. Therefore, affordable housing is deemed aspart of the green building and comes in as an economic aspect.
Reportfrom EPA (2016) indicates that green buildings showcase constructionand design practices that mitigate water and energy use, and utilizematerials which are environmental friendly. Green buildings andsustainable landscapes enhance healthier living through increasingaccess to healthy food and safe biking/walking routes, involving andeducating communities through initiatives such as communitygardening, as well as enhancing recreational access and facilities.By mitigating the use of materials that impact animals and plants,green buildings support biological diversity (EPA, 2016). Also, thereport argues that the concept of green building has helped in betterutilization of resources, which emerges as a critical matter insustainable development.
Thegreen buildings concept has been considered critical in theelimination of greenhouse gasses. According to Giesekam et al.(2015), the construction sector emerges as the largest globalconsumer of materials, and constructions section has the singlebiggest energy use globally. Buildings are deemed to be responsiblefor approximately 19% of global greenhouse gas emissions. There is asuggestion that buildings provide the greatest abatement chances formitigating greenhouse gasses in the short-term. According to theauthors, policy-makers have responded to the claim throughregulations requiring improvements in the performance of buildings(Giesekam et al., 2015). The regulations have focused on activitiessuch as heating, lighting, and cooling, which contribute to thegeneration of greenhouse gasses. However, the best thing is thatgreen building has the ability to reduce greenhouse gasses.
Tsaiet al. (2014) argue that carbon emissions are important growingconcerns in the attainment of sustainable environmental development.They claim that, in the green construction sector, green buildingexpenditure controls and low-carbon structure approaches are deemedas the primary hindrances that are met. On the foundations of CSRpolicy, control of carbon generations from green structure projectsadds to the attainment of accurate construction cost information andmitigation of environmental impacts (Tsai et al., 2014). According tothe authors, green buildings need to undergo through the Life-CycleAssessment phases, which include green design, construction,operation, and de-commissioning phase (Tsai et al., 2014).
Birkenfeldet al. (2011) posit that there are different benefits that originatefrom green building. Some of the tangible merits that are apparent tobusinesses include lower operating costs, energy savings, as well asreduced taxes (Kats,n.d).Alternatively, there are intangible benefits that emanate from greenbuildings, which may entail enhanced health of the occupants,decreased environmental impact, increased productivity of occupants,and improved business brand equity and goodwill (Birkenfeld et al.,2011). From the authors, although some of these gains may not be seendirectly, they come indirectly. Beatley (2011) has also presentedvarious advantages that may be associated with green building.According to the author, green building initiatives has been in aposition to minimize the amount of solid waste as well asconstruction debris and has lowered water and energy consumptions.Kats(n.d) has also stressed on the benefit of enhancing productivity.There is strong proof supporting the merit of green buildings interms of efficiency in energy and environmental impacts. Just likeBirkenfeld et al. (2011), the author points that green buildings havebeen associated with health benefits.
Inan attempt to explain why green buildings have been considered, Yu &Tu (2011) argue that developers have been motivated to put up greenbuildings in case they are linked with any economic benefits or ifthey are in line with the corporate social responsibility promoted bygovernments. According to the authors, literature has indicated thatthere is contradictory evidence about the economic returns of greenbuildings due to the conflicting results because of the methodology,sampling, as well as measurements used. However, they argue that theprice differentials amid green and traditional buildings arecost-driven. Therefore, the authors suggest that socialresponsibility tends to act as a motivating force towards greenbuilding (Yu & Tu, 2011).
Astudy done by Ahn et al. (2012) has the idea that green buildingmovement is continuing to change the construction sector in anattempt to reduce the environmental issues linked to constructionactivities, as well as optimizing potential social and economicbenefits in the built environment. Similar sentiments have beenindicated by Kilbert(2016) according to the author, green building has gained a lot ofsignificance emanating from the concept of sustainability. Theparadigm shift in the construction segment is helping the sector gainexperience with the new way of putting up structures (Ahn et al.,2012). The study found out that there is growing support for thegreen building and the prospects are high for growth in thetechnology. As the importance of the green building movement expands,the future will have an increase in the use of the green buildingconcept.
Accordingto Cheng & Venkataraman (2013), the number of green buildings hasexperienced a steady growth in recent years, a time when greenbuilding assessment standards are emerging to complement theconstruction of green buildings. Studies on green building design andmaterials have already been well established, and variousorganizations and groups have helped in the development of greenbuilding assessment standards that evaluate the environmentalfriendliness of structures (Cheng & Venkataraman, 2013). Thebuilding standards have evolved progressively so as to address theexact needs that emerge. The development of standards for greenbuilding, in the future, will depend on the growing demands thatexist now as well as those of the future.
Greenbuilding describes the exercise of developing constructions andapplying procedures that are environmentally accountable as well asresource-effectual throughout the lifecycle of a structure. LifeCycle Assessment (LCA) is an important consideration in greenbuilding, and it involves the investigation and assessment of thesocial, environmental, and economic impacts of a commodity orservice. When applied to green buildings, LCA assesses the materialsused for construction over the course of their entire lives andconsiders their environmental influences. Some of the tangible meritsthat are apparent to businesses include lower operating costs, energysavings, as well as reduced taxes. Alternatively, intangible benefitsmay entail enhanced health of the occupants, decreased environmentalimpact, increased productivity of occupants, and improved businessbrand equity. The idea of the green building is currently beingapplied in different societies where social concerns have been givenpriority. The technology is expanding as people get to learn aboutit. Furthermore, the future of the green building technology is goingto be big given the increasing trends over which it is currentlygrowing.
Ahn,H.Y., Pearce, R.A. & Ku, K. (2012). ParadigmShift of Green buildings in the Construction Industry. InternationalJournal of Sustainable Building Technology and Urban Development,2(1).
Beatley,N. (2011). Green Housing=Improved Health: A Winning combination.NationalCenter for National Housing.
Birkenfeld,B., Brown, P., Kresse, N., Sullivan, J. & Thiam, P. (2011). Quantifying the Hidden Benefits of High-Performance Building. ISSPInsight.
Cheng,P.C.J. & Venkataraman, V. (2013). Analysis of the Scope andTrends of Worldwide Assessment Standards.InternationalJournal of Engineering and Technology,Vol. 5 (5).
EPA(2015). U.S.Environmental protection agency science and technology center (KansasCity, KS).Retrieved from http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/101729
EPA(2016). GreenBuildings and Sustainable Landscapes: Building Economies, ConservingResources. Retrieved fromhttps://www.epa.gov/superfund-redevelopment-initiative/green-buildings-and-sustainable-landscapes-building-economies
Giesekam,J., Barrett, R.J. & Taylor, P. (2015): Construction sector viewson low carbon building materials, Building Research &Information, DOI: 10.1080/09613218.2016.1086872.
Howe,C.J. (n.d). Overview ofs.Retrieved from http://sallan.org/pdf-docs/CHOWE_GreenBuildLaw.pdf
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