Essay on Green Buildings

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University of Richmond
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Use of renewable sources of energy: The use of coal and other sources of energy which pollute the environment are highly discourages, especially now when the world is grappling with high concentrations of carbon (IV) oxide and destruction of the ozone layer. Some of the renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources that could be used include geothermal, wind energy, water energy and solar energy. These will significantly lower and reduce the amount of harmful gases being released by buildings and house hold homes.

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Solid waste management: The waste products that can be recycled should be recycled instead of being dumped in the environment. All the products from the building that cannot be recycled then they should be dumped in an appropriate manner. To solve this, there should be sorting at the source.

Plant materials should be native: One major disadvantage of the use of foreign materials is that they use and consume a lot of water and fertilizers and pesticides so that they can be fully sustained especially in the early years of planting. The use of these chemicals is harmful and pollutes the environment. These chemicals are leached into the soil and when it rains, the runoff water drains to a mass body of water, for example, a lake or a river and thus pollutes the water source.

Water management and Rainwater harvesting: Rainwater harvesting should be encouraged as well. Saving water is an environmentally friendly and sustainability concept. Concepts and systems such as gray water should be used for on-site irrigation and the flushing of toilets.

Prevention of heat gain and provision of cooling: The build must be oriented in such a way that its long axis is along the East West direction. This will ensure that it gets maximum sunlight and the cooling process will also be fast.

The building must be narrow in its plan: This will help in lighting and in the ventilation as well. If it is not narrow, then the central top of the building should be left open as this will allow heat from above to reach the building sufficiently and adequately.

Windows and the fenestrations and all other openings should be along the North and South Axis. This is to prevent direct sunlight from streaming into the building and being a hindrance to the activities being conducted there.

Services: All services should be positioned along the East and West axis. Some of these services include; toilets and staircases, kitchens, cable ducts, stores etc. The main reason why they are positioned along the East West axis is because they are non-habitable spaces and as such, they can take heat without any problems.

Sun shading: It is important to sunshade glasses during daytime. Rays of hear heat the glass as S-wave then they are re-radiated as L-wave rays which the glass cannot allow to escape. The building becomes stuffy and deprived of free circulation of fresh air.

Use of thick walls: The use of high thermal mass walls on the external facade is also encouraged. This is going to prevent heat accumulating to unacceptable levels and making the room uncomfortable.

External walls: The external walls should be finished using smooth colored surfaces materials. The main advantage of smooth colored materials is that they are good for reflection. However, if the climate of the region is cold and wet, it is advisable to use rough colored surfaces which are good for absorption and can retain heat for longer periods of time as well.

Adaptive reuse: One of the most effective methods and ways of ensuring sustainability in architecture is through the preservation of buildings that are already in existence. Buildings from the past should be given a new life and this will ensure that the environment is not disturbed.

Advantages and benefits of green buildings

Cost and Value

High performing green buildings are one of the most effective ways of saving cash and they offer the best value of the public by life cycle cost benefits. Green buildings also have positive impacts on the health of humans and the general performance of the building. These buildings consumer very little energy, they incur lower maintenance and they use less water compared to other buildings. Therefore, it can be seen that the life cycle cost of green buildings is lower than the life cycle of buildings which are not environmentally sustainable.

Environmental Benefits

Sustainable design does not entail saving costs only. Good green and sustainable design provides ecological, social and economic benefits to the users or the owners. For example, the use of a planted green roof has several key advantages. It reduces the temperature of the roof and consequently, this lowers the amount and levels of tonnage that are required in the cooling process and thus reduces the overall cooling costs. Additionally, a planted roof lowers the ecological effects of a building through the reduction of pollution levels from the power usage of the building. It also reduces the heat island effect. In addition to all that, it lowers storm water runoff. These are the environmental benefits. Some of the societal benefits are: the buildings will have a pleasing physical and aesthetic look to both the owners and the users of the building and jobs will be created for people who have to install and maintain the planted roofs.

Creation of job opportunities

Many employment opportunities will be created across the design, engineering, production and construction of green buildings. The employment opportunities will offer practical experience when it comes to high performance technologies and green building construction.


Sustainability is increasingly becoming a very vital and important aspect to the building fraternity, policy makers and consumers as well and this is because the world is fast moving towards the construction and building of zero energy buildings. The main reason for ensuring that buildings have net zero energy consumption is due to the fact that this influences the impact of embodied energy and emission of greenhouse gases. Other than the aforementioned strategies, the use of food in construction of buildings is encouraged since wood contains very low or negative carbon footprint thus reduced carbon emissions and improved environmental impact. Additionally, regular and constant post-occupancy evaluation and assessment studies of buildings, done constantly through a buildings life, are also extremely valuable in determining how well a new material functions and the ways it affects the comfort of building occupants.


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