3B – Sustainable buildings

Supporting article B: Making buildings in our cities more sustainable and in line with the environment

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GREEN BUILDING CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUE

Construction of Green Building is a technology  to use all resources efficiently for the creation of human habitats which improve human health, build a better environment, increase working efficiency of human beings and minimize the cost of buildings. Green buildings are also known as a sustainable buildings, which are designed, built, renovated, operated and used  in an ecological and resource-efficient manner. In fact, Green buildings are designed to meet certain objectives such as protecting occupant health; improving employee productivity; using energy, water, and other resources more efficiently; and reducing the overall impact to the environment. These  buildings with good overall environmental quality can reduce the rate of respiratory diseases, allergy, asthma, sick building symptoms, and enhance worker performance. The green building construction technique include following elements :-

Elements of Green Building Construction Technique

(1)   Proper Ventilation :- Green Buildings provide adequate ventilation to all habitable rooms including bath rooms, kitchens with  high-efficiency in-duct filtration system to allow proper drainage of air-conditioning coils to control humidity including heating and cooling systems which ensure indoor air quality.

(2)   Prevention of indoor microbial contamination:- Under this technology, construction and finishing materials are selected with zero or low emissions to improve indoor air quality.  Many building materials and cleaning / maintenance products emit toxic gases, such as volatile organic compounds (VOC) and formaldehyde  gases which result in  a detrimental impact on occupants’ health and productivity. Such products are not to be used in building construction and their finishing.

(3)   Utilization of recycled material for minimizing the cost of building:- All RCC structures including bridges, culverts, dams, tunnels and  buildings etc. generally have age of 100 years. On completion of full age, such structures / buildings are demolished and are reconstructed. Due to occurrence of changes in construction technology and also due to changing life style of inhabitants, most of the houses are demolished and reconstructed even before attaining full age by the public itself resulting in generation of waste building material in huge quantity. Demolition and reconstruction of old buildings is a continuous phenomena. Population and demand for buildings are increasing day by day whereas our resources are depleting in the same proportion. Building construction activities consume one-sixth of the world’s fresh water withdrawals, one-fourth of its wood harvest, and two-fifths of its material and energy flow. About 22 percent waste material ( i.e. bricks, concrete, wood, steel, metals, steel pipes, plastic pipes, electric wires, sanitary material etc. ) of demolished  buildings can be reused or recycled thus prolonging our supply of natural resources and minimizing construction cost. In green buildings, about 25 % recycled material is used.

(4)   Installation of glass panels :- Instead of wood window glass panels are installed in green buildings to allow flow of natural light inside the building during day time.

(5)   Installation of Rainwater Harvesting System :- The green buildings are well equipped with rainwater harvesting system to preserve depleting water resource.

(6)   Maximising the use of renewable natural resources :- In order to maximize the use of renewable natural resources in green buildings, the energy efficient equipments such as Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) and Solar Water Heating Systems etc. based on non conventional energy resources are installed.

(7)    Minimising The Use of depleting resources :- Since, forest cover is depleting day by day in the world, therefore, use of fresh wood  is minimized in green buildings. Wherever, use of wood is considered necessary, in such buildings, the wood of fast growing trees is only used so that utilization of such material may not effect the ecological balance of the earth.

(8)   Minimizing energy use in green buildings. The green buildings are fixed with energy censors to minimize the use of power within the building. When there is no person within a room, the lights would automatically go off.

(9)   Water conservation and efficiency measures in green buildings :- In green buildings, water is used in most efficient way. The gray water from bath rooms is again recycled to flush toilets.

(10)    Proper disposal of garbage :- The garbage of green buildings is properly handled, placed and disposed off as per Building Bye Laws of respective Civic Bodies by Segregating it into biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes.

(11)    Maintenance of  greenery :- In green buildings, the open areas are well landscaped with maintenance of maximum greenery for building healthy environment.

Recommendations:

Since, green buildings, reduces operational energy, water requirement, volume of waste water, minimizing building cost, maintenance costs and increases the longevity of inhabitants, therefore, for the promotion of green building construction concept, the respective Governments should amend the Building Bye Laws relating thereto.
By
B.N. sharma
Retd. Senior Town Planner of
Haryana Government