Build­ing a ‘green’ struc­ture: how to do it right

Sus­tain­able build­ing prac­tices can be im­ple­mented for both new and up­com­ing con­struc­tions and ex­ist­ing ones

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - Sudarshan Ananth

Green build­ings, some­times called sus­tain­able build­ings are health­ier and more re­source- ef­fi­cient mod­els of con­struc­tion, ren­o­va­tion, op­er­a­tion and main­te­nance. Sus­tain­able build­ings take into ac­count the build­ing’s en­tire life­cy­cle – there could be slightly higher ini­tial costs, but green de­signs, up­grades and op­er­a­tions cre­ate sav­ings that al­ways pay for the added costs, re­duce the use of other resources and en­hance pro­duc­tiv­ity. Green build­ing prac­tices help or­gan­i­sa­tions achieve and main­tain op­er­a­tional ef­fi­cien­cies and cre­ate a sus­tain­able fu­ture for the com­mu­nity, econ­omy and en­vi­ron­ment.

Whether it’s for new con­struc­tions or for ren­o­vat­ing ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­tures, here’s how you can im­ple­ment green build­ing prac­tices:

When de­ter­min­ing whether your new con­struc­tion project will be a green/ sus­tain­able fa­cil­ity, the fol­low­ing ques­tions should be con­sid­ered:

Will the fa­cil­ity use less non­re­new­able en­ergy to op­er­ate?

Will the project take fewer resources to build?

Will the fa­cil­ity have a longer life-cy­cle with­out un­due ef­fort to ex­tend its life?

Will the fa­cil­ity pro­duce less pol­lu­tion with less dam­age to ecosys­tems?

Set clear and re­al­is­tic goals not only for the build­ing project, but for the project’s en­vi­ron­men­tal tar­gets. Sam­ple goals in­clude a fa­cil­ity with low op­er­a­tional en­ergy use, l ow re­new­able en­ergy source and long fa­cil­ity life-cy­cle.

Bud­get ap­pro­pri­ately – while this ap­plies to con­struc­tion in gen­eral, it is es­pe­cially true of build­ing green. One can make plans for slightly higher costs up front know­ing that green build­ing will cre­ate enough sav­ings down the line to pay for the added costs. Be adamant on build­ing com­mis­sion­ing – this may seem ob­vi­ous for most build­ing own­ers but of­ten this is be­ing ne­glected ( or value en­gi­neered) due to short­en­ing of the con­struc­tion sched­ule. En­sure the build­ing au­to­ma­tion sys­tem has been tuned ac­cord­ing to the spe­cific build­ing re­quire­ments as that will re­duce un­nec­es­sary op­er­at­ing ex­penses and oc­cu­pant com­plaints.

The fol­low­ing are six fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples that de­fine a sus­tain­able build­ing de­sign and should be con­sid­ered when plan­ning a green fa­cil­ity:

Se­lect­ing proper build­ing site that in­te­grates with a sus­tain­able build­ing de­sign – the lo­ca­tion, ori­en­ta­tion and land­scap­ing of a build­ing af­fect the en­vi­ron­ment and en­ergy use.

Op­ti­mis­ing en­ergy use – it is es­sen­tial to find ways to in­crease en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, re­duce load and utilise re­new­able en­ergy resources.

Con­serv­ing wa­ter – a sus­tain­able build­ing should use wa­ter ef­fi­ciently, re­use and re­cy­cle wa­ter, and re­duce, treat and con­trol site runoff.

Us­ing en­vi­ron­men­tally prefer­able prod­ucts that will min­imise global warm­ing and re­source de­ple­tion as well as have a re­duced ef­fect on hu­man health and the en­vi­ron­ment.

Im­prov­ing in­door air qual­ity – a fa­cil­ity that max­imises day­light, has ap­pro­pri­ate ven­ti­la­tion and mois­ture con­trol will have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on oc­cu­pa­tional health, com­fort and pro­duc­tiv­ity.

Op­ti­mis­ing op­er­a­tional and main­te­nance prac­tices will con­trib­ute to re­duced en­ergy and re­source costs and pre­vent sys­tem fail­ures.

For ex­am­ple, one has t o en­sure that the build­ing au­to­ma­tion over­rides are re­moved and build­ing con­trols are max­imised to help op­ti­mise en­ergy use with­out the sac­ri­fice of com­fort.

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