Green buildings are a smart investment for individuals and businesses and are becoming popular amid the climate change crisis; and are often valued higher than conventional buildings.
Smirati Bhatnagar - Head - Design and Strategy Design Forum International
Buildings consume about 30% of the world’s energy, accounting for almost 40% of annual carbon dioxide emissions. The building and construction sector typically relies on non-renewable energy sources that negatively impact the environment. Therefore, it is important that we invest in infrastructure to operationalise natural energy resources such as solar and wind energy. To mitigate climate change impact—at least within the peripheries of urban microclimate—green buildings with a smaller carbon footprint and energy-efficient are the way forward.
With a higher initial cost of inception, sustainable projects would eventually result in reduced energy bills across the HVAC systems. Apart from this, a sustainable project would result in multiple associated savings: water savings through low flow plumbing fixtures, dual plumbing and rainwater harvesting; waste reduction through use of recycled building materials and waste management systems; reduced operating costs due to the reduced need for heating, cooling, and lighting and reduced maintenance costs. These savings can lead to a lower carbon footprint and reduced operating costs over the life of the building.
Eco-friendly elements include renewable energy sources- solar panels, wind turbines and geothermal systems, use of recycled or rapidly renewable materials and materials with low embodied energy. Green roofs and walls reduce the urban heat island effect, improve insulation, and provide additional green space. Natural ventilation and daylighting reduce energy use and improve indoor air quality and comfort. Smart technologies such as building automation systems, can optimise energy use, control lighting and HVAC systems, and improve building performance.