The construction industry has a big impact on the environment, but the recent trend towards green construction is turning that into a good thing. Many of the green construction techniques can help the planet in the long run, and it is vital for everyone to understand how green buildings can help to solve the problems that threaten the natural world.
Reduced Energy Consumption
There are a lot of ways to adjust an existing building to use less energy, but none of them can compete with building new structures to use as little as possible. That is one of the core techniques of green building, and architects make progress both by reducing the amount of energy that the building needs and allowing it to generate its own power.
Conserving energy is fairly easy. The combination of good insulation, the right site, and thermal mass can massively cut down on the need to heat and cool a home. Combining that with natural lighting and efficient appliances will eliminate most of the home’s energy use without reducing comfort.
Solar panels and wind turbines can be good for generating power, but passive solar energy is one of the best choices for a new home. It works by collecting the heat from sunlight in the home or even in a tank of water and using it to replace a heater. It works remarkably well, but homes do need to be built to take advantage of it, which is why green building design is so important.
Water conservation is also vital, and green buildings can help. Many of them can collect rainwater, either for use in the building or in a garden. Others include xeriscaping for the lawn or other outdoor area, which replaces traditional grass with plants that do not need much water or special care. Some even include water reuse systems, which can greatly reduce water consumption by collecting greywater and using it for plants, washing, or other roles where it can be safe and effective.
Every new structure changes the shape of the environment. Large buildings take up a lot of space that could otherwise be used for animal habitats or sustaining plant life, but even smaller buildings can interfere with the natural world. Some of the best green builders can optimize their buildings to make sure those changes are as small as possible. That can involve examining a site to find the right place to build, using compact designs to save space, or even avoiding structures that cause risks to animals. That is one of the most complex parts of the process, but it builders are getting better and better at it every day.