Executive Director of Pacific India Group
Green architecture, or green design, is an approach to a building which minimizes harmful effects on the environment and hence, human health. The “green” architect or designer attempts to safeguard air, water, and earth by choosing eco-friendly building materials and construction practices.
Many mall developers are also making customers aware of the importance of sustainable architecture in order to create a differentiating factor and a USP for their malls.
Green initiatives help reduce day-to-day operating expenditure:
> COSTS: Very often green buildings are considered expensive for they employ modern building methods. However, despite higher building costs, the costs they save on energy once operational is well worth it. This brings building costs of an environment friendly structure at par with conventional building methods.
> ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Green buildings have the advantage of reducing both embodied and operating energy consumption. Wind power and hydro power notably reduce the influence on environment.
> WATER EFFICIENCY: Water consumption is another objective in sustainable building. Water can be wasted by drip irrigation, leaking (toilet leaking can waste up to 90 gallons per day), pool showers. Recycling rainwater and using it for toilet flushing can save wastewater. Water saving shower heads, ultra-low flush toilets and other conserving fixtures can minimize waste-water.
> MATERIAL EFFICIENCY: Green buildings are built from green, rapidly renewable, non-toxic, reusable and recyclable materials as lumber, bamboo, straw, recycled metal/stone, sheep wool, compressed earth block, concrete, cork etc.
> TEMPERATURE REGULATION: Urban heat islands are elevated temperatures mostly in urban areas, formed mostly on surfaces where permeable and moist became impermeable and dry due to some buildings, roads etc. Urban heat island effect is caused mostly by the heat holding properties of tall buildings and urban (often toxic) materials – asphalt, concrete. It can be compensated by more green areas around the buildings such as green roofs and rain gardens. > INDOOR AIR QUALITY: When constructing green buildings great emphases are put on the ventilation system. It can be powered in different ways – passively, naturally or mechanically. It doesn’t matter which way it is powered in. All that is important is that a building should have a properly designed ventilation system for filtered and cleaner air.
> INDOOR ENVIRONMENT QUALITY: Apart from poor air quality, poor lightening, temperature fluctuations, badly designed furniture, carpeting, pesticides, paints and various other pollutants cause different diseases including headaches, dermatological problems, allergies etc. Environmentally friendly green buildings can create a much healthier atmosphere.
> MAINTENANCE: Green buildings need less maintenance. For example, most green buildings don’t require exterior painting very often. Also, the natural sources used during construction do not degenerate as fast.
> IMPROVED EMPLOYEE ATTENDANCE & PRODUCTIVITY: Natural lightening, good ventilation, healthy circumstances all influence the health of the occupants of green structures. People are more productive, fall sick less and their work is more efficient. A green office is more attractive for and retains more employees.
> HIGHER PROPERTY VALUE: Green buildings have low energy costs. Their use of gas, water, energy is highly reduced. These sustainable components lead to higher re-sale value. They have low energy consumption and can in fact create energy and supply this energy (in the form of electricity) back into the electrical grid.
> TAX BENEFITS: Tax provisions are initiated to improve energy efficient green buildings. It is supported on the local, state as well as the federal levels.