Rise of Green Buildings

The use and priority of the green building has been on an upswing in the country. What is most remarkable about a green building is its energy-efficiency. Experts reckon that a green building consumes up to 50% less energy than a comparable conventional office building. The green architecture movement is rampantly and steadily changing the way buildings are designed, built and run.

Proponents of green architecture contend that the approach has many benefits. In the case of a large office, for instance, the combination of green design techniques and clever technology can not only reduce energy consumption and environmental impact, but also reduce running costs, create a more pleasant working environment, improve employees' health and productivity, reduce legal liability, and boost property values ​​and rental returns. Today's enthusiasm for green architecture has its origins in the energy crisis of the 1970s, when architects began to question the wisdom of building enclosed glass-and-steel boxes that required massive heating and cooling systems.

The green revolution began to explore designs that focused on the long-term environmental impact of maintaining and operating a building, looking beyond the so-called "first costs" of getting it built in the first place. The LEED standards are intended to produce the greenest and best buildings by giving developers a straightforward checklist of criteria by which the greenness of a building can be judged. Points are awarded in various categories, from energy use (up to 17 points) to water-efficiency (up to five points) to indoor environment quality (up to 15 points); the total then determines the building's LEED rating. Extra points can be earned by installing particular features, such as renewable-energy generators or carbon-dioxide monitoring systems. A building that achieves a score of 39 points earns a "gold" rating; 52 points earns a "platinum" rating. A gold-rated building is estimated to have reduced its environmental impact by 50% compared with an equivalent conventional building, and a platinum-rated building by over 70%.

Rating buildings in this way reveals how inefficient conventional buildings and building processes are. It is not just the consumption of energy; it is the use of materials, the waste of water, the incredibly inefficient strategies we use for choosing the subsystems of our buildings. Designers, architects, engineers, developers and builders each make decisions that serve their own interests, but create huge inefficiencies overall. There are many ways to reduce a building's environmental impact. There are excellent examples in India wherein green-architecture principals were applied to large urban office buildings, and informed the drawing up of the LEED points system, since they used almost every energy-saving technique conceivable.

Source by Rama Krishna

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