How Sustainable Building Will Shape the Future

What is Sustainable Building?

A sustainable building is one that has sustainable initiatives within the building, which are evident in the way materials and other resources are used to achieve water and energy efficiency as well as maintaining healthy indoor environmental quality. Sustainable buildings, also known as green buildings, also have two other common objectives. One objective is to protect the employee or user’s health and increase productivity. Lastly, the objective of the sustainable building is to reduce the ecological footprint of said building, while reducing waste and pollution.


Why some dislike sustainable buildings

Sustainable buildings are quite often more expensive than your typical, everyday building. This can be a great disincentive to business owners or even potential homeowners. Green buildings also do happen to be delayed when under construction due to the restricted ability to attain certain materials required in erecting the building. While all green buildings do not have to have natural ventilation it could cause a problem with owners of green buildings as there is one great issue concerning natural ventilation. Natural ventilation in itself can cause rise to trouble with building owners as there is no proper temperature regulation due to the presence of air from the outside working as ventilation within the aforementioned buildings. The location of the structure has to be in a place that allows you to take advantage of natural resources to allow for greater usage of renewable and green resources. This could prove to be more costly and give you the threat of an environmental change to restrict your access to, for example, sunlight.

Fukuoki Sustain


How the problems of detractor’s are addressed

Concerning the greater upfront cost of purchasing a green building, when looking at the return on investment of conservation of resources, namely water, electricity, and gas, the extra costs are neutralized within a few years and after that begin to gain money through savings. When constructing the buildings, the government offers tax rebates upon buildings with certain attributes, with a primary example being a tax rebate for buildings using renewable resources. While green buildings do often get delayed while undergoing construction, this can be easily fixed by having all materials ready beforehand and having a good architect to give you a correct estimate on how long the construction time will take. Supplementary heating and cooling systems used at a minimal level can solve natural ventilation’s lack of typical temperature regulation and airflow control. The problem concerning the location, however, is not one that can be fixed without great effort, but it can be fixed with creative problem solving.



Why even create and use green or sustainable building?

The environmental impact of regular buildings throughout the world is substantially greater than anyone would assume. Buildings account for 41% of the world’s energy use and 73% of energy usage in the US. Energy and demand is estimated to increase greatly in the near future. This greater requirement of energy would result in a greater amount of environmentally unfriendly resources to be consumed creating an even greater impact upon the environment in which we live. Someone the things that consume the most energy within buildings are addressed by sustainable design within sustainable buildings. Buildings throughout the U.S. account for 39% of greenhouse gas emissions and using green buildings to reduce CO2 emissions substantially would solve this issue. Throughout the world, buildings use 13.6% of all potable water, which is roughly 15 trillion gallons of water per year. This absurd figure can be reduced by green building’s increased efficiency concerning the usage of resources. While also being environmentally beneficial, sustainable buildings have also been proven to increase productivity and happiness within the user of aforementioned buildings, while also lowering the costs per user. Through increased efficiency of using resources, the annual utilities cost per employee in green facilities was $675.26 lower than in non-green facilities. In a study done by Notre Dame professors, workers in a certified green building were found to be more productive and engaged in their work, while also seeing a greater amount of revenue in banks residing in green buildings than those in non-green buildings. Finally, through the impact upon human users and the impact upon the environment and the user’s wallet, sustainable building is proven to be what the future needs and what the future will hold for buildings as a whole.

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Overview of Green Buildings: Chapter 1

Transition to Sustainable Buildings: Strategies and Opportunities to 2050 (Executive Summary)

The Business Case for Green Building

Buildings and Climate Change (USGBC)

Notre Dame’s Professorial Study