Construction And The Environment – Green Building

This is a conclusion to our series of articles on ways in which construction affects the environment. Green building is a concept in construction which aims at creating environment friendly construction. The aim here is to reduce the impact of construction on the environment as well as coming up with remedial measures to resuscitate the already chocking environment. Below are just examples of green construction practices.

· Using renewable energy sources in buildings for example solar and wind energy in the place of electricity and fossil fuels.

· Coming up with designs that require minimum energy supporting systems like maximizing on day lighting in buildings as opposed to electric lighting.

· Reducing the use of timber in construction, especially rare and deciduous types, and in their place using fast growing species like bamboo and softwoods in controlled forests and plantations.

· Reusing timber as well as timber wastes like saw dust to make timber replacements.

· Tapping into rainwater and other precipitation for use in buildings to replace or supplement water from other sources.

· Reducing water wastage by making use of pressure control valves, low flush cisterns and the like.

· Reusing grey water (all used water in the house, other than from closets, bidets and such).

· Using porous materials in parking and general surfaces to allow for percolation of water for replenishing sub surface.

· Incorporating gardening and greening in built up areas, including the introduction of green roofs.

· Reducing earth-moving activities for construction works.

· Avoiding construction in environmentally fragile areas for example water catchment areas.

· Reducing the wastes from buildings that end up in land fills by ensuring sorting at source. A good example is where biodegradable wastes are put in different bins and used as fertilizers.

· Rehabilitating derelict land and mine fields by planting trees and such environmental conservation measures.

All these and many other similar measures will definitely nurture the environment. They will however need a lot of deliberation and forward planning so as to make success. It is also worth noting that green building is usually more expensive upfront but could be affordable in the building life cycle. Furthermore, the extra cost in money will be compensated in a sustainable environment.

Green construction is a collective responsibility and should be sought by all and sundry. Architectural association and building regulatory boards the world over should put all the necessary efforts to have their jurisdictions adopt green construction. Governments should also demonstrate green building in their projects to have their subjects easily accept them. Learning institutions and training institutes should also put enough emphasis on these procedures. Green construction materials and equipment should also be zero rated to reduce costs as well as create a preference.