Going green starts with people who urge businesses and local governments to make strides toward a better future.
The notion of green building is growing in momentum, and for due reason.
Buildings account for 39% of total energy use in the US and 12% of total water consumption.
Moreover, businesses use 68% of the electricity and responsible for 38% of carbon dioxide emissions.
Why Build Green?
President Obama has called for more businesses and government agencies to make green efforts. Business practices impact the environment, health of humans and animals, and economy of the nation. Green construction is applied at any stage, including renovation and deconstruction. However, engineers and builders understand that much can be done from the onset of a project to ensure maximum benefits.
Benefits for the Environment
Building green protects ecosystems and ensures plant and animal life is not disturbed. Over time, an impact to the ecosystem dramatically changes the environment, which can have catastrophic effects. Moreover, green practices are safer regarding the air we breathe and the water we drink. Lastly, green building conserves and restores natural resources like rainforests. For example, due to the concern of customers and contractors, Home Depot stopped cutting long-standing trees in rainforests.
Benefits for the Economy
Green practices reduce operating costs, so contractors save money and pass those savings along to homeowners and businesses. Moreover, such practices create and expand upon markets, which means more jobs as well as increased production of products and services. Going green is a collective effort, yet not all people modify their habits. However, green building practices 'force' occupants to go green by default. For example, heaters that are quieter and more efficient are better for the environment too.
Benefits for Society
Green building practices increase the comfort and health of inhabitants. For example, energy-efficient HVAC units save money on utility bills and improve the quality of air running through a household. In some cases, aesthetic qualities of a location are improved, such as parking garages that replace concrete surfaces with solar panels. Plus, green building lessens the strain on local infrastructure; recycled materials can remain in one location opposed to materials that necessitate transportation and more fuel emissions.
Showing Via LEED-ership
LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a certification program. LEED awards businesses and government agencies points depending on green initiatives. For example, LEED awarded the US Treasury a gold rating for its efforts to conserve resources and reduce waste.
What Is a Green Building?
A green building is a structure that is sustainable. Its design and construction uses resources efficiently and creates a healthier environment for occupants. Green buildings host energy-efficient products, leverage cost-effective labor, and use low-maintenance products. Green advocates focus on the complete project rather than specifics. For example, not all materials are natural; sometimes, plastic, with its airtight and lightweight properties, is used rather than hard-to-find raw materials.
As scientists, engineers, and government officials find more ways to initiate green practices, the environment and all inhabitants enjoy a more sustainable and healthier way of life.
By Barbara D. Resendiz
Barbara is a home environment advisor. She loves spreading the word about greener living. Look for her posts on many environmental and homeowner blog sites.