How are green buildings responding to the needs of today?

Buildings have direct and indirect effect on the environment through their occupancy, during their construction, demolishing or renovation. Concern towards climate change has taken its speed from decades but still our planet is suffering from natural disasters and global warming. Green building development is a great initiative to heal our environment. “As the world population expands, architects and planners are mapping out ways to make cities more sustainable. Cities produce a vast amount of emissions and waste, putting a strain on both human and ecological health. But our buildings themselves may hold a solution. High-density urban areas especially those built using green methods of construction can be more energy efficient and pollute less. New research is also revealing that green buildings can actually be good for our health too.” – Kelsey Nowakowski

The UN’s sustainable development goals set forth a challenge to deplete the poverty, inequality and climate change problem and these can be solved by green buildings. This is an opportunity to solve not only energy, water and carbon emissions but to educate, create jobs, strengthen communities, improve health and well-being. According to USGBC, a green building is projected to account for more than 3.3 million jobs by 2018 in U.S. Workers/employees in green, well-ventilated offices record a 101% increase in brain function. Employees in offices with windows slept an average of 46 min. more in night. Green buildings always offer a high comfort level and healthy indoor climate. While green buildings have usually high initiative cost but they have several benefits in addition to savings and environmental. Green buildings are as aesthetically pleasing as conventional buildings with minimal effect on environment.

It generates lesser amount of waste by implementing waste management strategies on site. They may also imply organic waste like manure or compost to minimize the landfills. Municipal solid waste comprises of 30%- 50% of bio-degradable matter, 20%-30% inert matter, 5% to 15% recyclables. It can be profitably converted into organic matter like compost, methane gas, for cooking, heating, lighting, production and so on. By using waste-water recycling systems, rain water harvesting, the water requirements can be minimized.

Green buildings also have community benefits. Occupants may also enjoy more pleasant and productive commutes to work and less traffic congestion if alternate public transit methods apply. This makes behavioral changes in communities. Use of locally produced and manufactured products boost the local economy and provide jobs to communities. Socio-economic benefits (community development) through green buildings improves health due to low pollution, reduced infrastructure needs. This also includes ecological park, playground, bike paths and express bus service. In short, it enhances the entire neighborhood.

We can conclude it with Suzlon One Earth building example. Designed by Christopher Charles Benninger Architects, a corporate headquarter office in Pune, India. It consists of an office block and a corporate learning center. Site area is of 45.392sq.m and the total built up area is 70.865sq.m. It is registered under GRIHA.

View of Suzlon One Earth building

Passive design strategies are used are used for thermal and visual comfort. Facades face north, south, north-west and south-east. This gives proper natural day lighting. Glazing on the first and second floor has been shaded from direct glare of sun light by using louvers. Break out spaces have been created in the form of terraces. Over 55% of the water is recycled and reused within the complex. Use of low-flow fixtures throughout the buildings as they require 65% less water than conventional buildings, reduction in landscape water requirement by about 50%. Only native trees and shrubs and high efficiency sprinkler and drip irrigation systems are used.

It is well established that green buildings always reduce consumption and regenerate resources from waste. They offer a better society, a better community, a well-developed neighborhood and a better economy for the country. Green building development is a development where everybody ‘wins’.

Tanvi Gupta

Tanvi Gupta is a young fresher architect and a former kvian from Bikaner,Rajasthan. She is very fond of sustainable architecture. She is a nature lover and loves to read books. She is introvert by nature with lots of dreams.

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