Building a ‘green’ structure: how to do it right
Sustainable building practices can be implemented for both new and upcoming constructions and existing ones
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.