According to data from the United Nations (UN), about 68% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050.
Cities represent 3% of the world’s land surface and consume about 78% of energy while producing about 60% of greenhouse gas emissions.
It is for this reason that the UN advised countries to make cities more sustainable, habitable, healthy, inclusive, and resilient. How can cities achieve this? The answer is simple: green building!
A green building or sustainable building (according to some) puts into consideration energy use, water use, indoor environmental quality, building material, and effects on its site during the planning, designing, construction, and operations of buildings.
Beyond ensuring a building’s efficiency as regards sustainable material usage and energy and water consumption, contractors and builders prioritize proper design, operation, construction, and maintenance techniques to ensure that the natural environment is preserved and that pollution and its impact on human health and wildlife are reduced.
Green buildings may cost a leg and an arm upfront but they have proven to save money due to their lower operating costs over the lifespan of a building.
In addition to its operating cost-benefit, the sustainable building also provides comfort and increased productivity while improving the health of occupants by reducing pollution and landfill waste.
This is especially important because sustainable buildings have the potential to reduce the rate of respiratory disease, allergy, and asthma.
Because a great number of building materials and cleaning/maintenance products emit toxic gases, they have a detrimental impact on the health of occupants thereby affecting their productivity.
This is why sustainable buildings are a better option as a result of the improved air quality in them due to the construction materials and interior finish products which have zero or low emissions.
By their design also, they have adequate ventilation and filtration system which also adds to air quality.
Builders and contractors need to incorporate sustainable principles and an integrated design approach in their building plans while also developing a clear statement of the project’s vision, goals, design criteria, and priorities.
They need to select design and construction teams committed to the project vision while also ensuring that they have appropriate qualifications to implement an integrated system of sustainable building measures.
They also need to develop a project budget that covers green building measures, while seeking advice from a design professional with sustainable building experience.
It is important to note that sustainable building measures won’t achieve their aim unless they work as intended. That is why continuous testing and adjusting the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems to ensure that all equipment meets design criteria as well as monitoring operation and maintenance of equipment is crucial.
This will ensure building performance.