Green construction is a relatively new phrase in terms of actual workability. Modern building materials, construction techniques and our understanding of what it takes to make a building green are relatively recent developments that are beginning to catch on quick with eco-conscious individuals.

What makes a building green? Is it the materials? The use of recycled and recyclable components, or the construction process itself? All and more, and it doesn’t have to cost the sky. More than anything, the builders are the people who’re responsible for picking and choosing materials in consultation with the clients as well as coming up with design approaches that perfectly complement climate conditions, terrain and sustainability. Relevant certification and licensing of building contractors is, therefore, vital since green construction significantly differs from conventional building techniques.

Certain features stand out in green buildings which are glaringly noticeable if you take a closer look. These come together to form a structure that’s sustainable and presents its dwellers with numerous benefits. Take a look.

Efficient water use

Water, even if not scarce in some areas, must still be used prudently because there’s just too little of it overall. A green building will allow for collection, purification, usage and reuse on-site. No need for off-site facilities or intricate pipe work that’s difficult to lay down. Such a complete system allows inhabitants to utilize water wisely since a percentage of it is not sourced from outside and is, therefore, finite to an extent.

Energy efficiency

A much-touted phrase, energy efficiency is simply the utilization of energy (power) in a manner that it reduces the burden on fossil fuels and the environment. Renewable energy may or may not be harnessed in a green building and if it isn’t, the structure itself aims to make the most out of natural elements such as daylight, natural ventilation and heat from sunlight.

Air leakage is reduced in a green building and passive solar heat gain is achieved. The latter involves having the walls, floors, windows and roof of a house collect, store and distribute the sun’s energy. This energy is in the form of heat during winter which is rejected during summer to keep the structure cool.

The use of solar panels is common in a green building as living off the grid becomes a priority. Designers will attempt to find the best orientation for them as well as how to install them so that they don’t mar the appearance of the building.

Energy-efficient components like LEDs, Energy Star-rated appliances and other certified products are frequently used. These, together with the rest of the power-friendly elements and a house can be certified 100 or near 100 percent environmentally friendly.

Waste management

Waste management on a micro scale where waste from a building and no other sources is treated on-site, is a common aspect of green buildings. This waste includes waste generated during construction, post-construction and the rest of the building’s life cycle. An example is the generation of greywater which is treated on-site and reused for non-potable uses such as flushing the toilet. Composting and even reusing building materials once structures outlive their usefulness are examples of how waste is reduced and dealt with sustainably.

Green buildings may not be the cheapest but they’re not much more expensive than conventional structures either. The key is realizing what works for specific environments and how costs can be cut without compromising efficiency.

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