Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Goals of Green Architecture

The concept of Green Architecture can be traced to the energy crisis and the pollution concern in the 1970s. It may be assumed that the green building movement originated in the U.S. because of the need and desire for more energy efficient and environmentally friendly construction practices. Apart from the environmental reason, there are other motives to construct green buildings including economic and social benefits. The recent sustainability initiatives call for an integrated and synergistic design to both new construction and in the modification of an existing structure. This modern approach is called as sustainable design and integrates the building life-cycle with each green practice employed with a design-purpose to create a synergy amongst the practices used. On the other hand, the the aesthetic motive of green architecture is to design a building that is in harmony with the natural features and resources surrounding the site.

The practices and techniques in creating (or retrofitting of an existing structure) green building reduces and ultimately eliminate the impacts of new buildings on the health of human beings and the environment. The methods employed are using sunlight through passive solar, active solar, and photovoltaic techniques and creating green roofs using plants and trees. The provision of rain-harvesting in green building minimizes rainwater run-off.

The practice and technolgy may differ from location to location but there are certain fundamental principles that persist from which the method is derived. These are Siting and Structure Design Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Water Efficiency, Materials Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality Enhancement, Operations and Maintenance Optimization, and Waste and Toxics Reduction. Similarly there are few universal steps in designing sustainable buildings: specify 'green' building materials from local sources, reduce loads, optimize systems, and generate on-site renewable energy.

Green building or sustainable building is the practice of creating structures and using methods that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle. The common goal of green buildings is to design a structure that reduces the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the environment by efficiently using energy, water, and other resources; protecting health of the occupants and improving employee productivity; and reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation.

Many countries have already developed their own standards for green building or energy efficiency for buildings and others are busy evolving for themselves.

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