7 of the Main Benefits of Green Building
Updated: Jul 5, 2022
reen building involves utilizing materials and processes that are ecologically responsible and resource-efficient not only in the construction phase, but throughout the entire life cycle of the building. As well as protecting the environment, the practice also prioritizes well-being and health.
Historically dismissed as being too costly, green buildings are seeing a surge in popularity thanks to an increased understanding of the significant advantages they confer. This article explores the benefits of investing in eco-friendly constructions over non-green developments from an environmental, economic, and social perspective.
1. Reduced Operational and Maintenance Costs
Incorporating unique features that optimize the use of precious resources like energy and water, green buildings can save building owners and operators significant sums. For example, by implementing a task lighting strategy emphasizing the use of natural daylight over artificial light wherever possible, green buildings vastly reduce power bills, enabling users to save as much as a third on their energy and water bills.
Given that maintenance and operational costs typically accounted for up to 80% of a building’s lifetime costs even before the recent surge in utility costs, reducing reliance on water and electricity presents significant advantages for building owners and tenants, making green buildings much cheaper to run in the long-term.
2. Waste Minimization
Almost 35% of Europe’s total waste is generated by the construction industry. By prioritizing renewable materials and resources, green buildings minimize waste, lowering their environmental impact. Products such as burnt coal, sand, and demolition debris are often incorporated into green buildings with excellent environmental and aesthetic results.
3. Noise Reduction Noise can take a significant toll on people’s well-being. Sustainable construction promotes noise reduction in three important ways:
Planting trees close to noise sources in an effort to absorb it.
Placing distance between the source of the noise and people.
Creating noise barriers, e.g., between buildings and highways, etc.
4. Minimized Pollution Air pollution is not only damaging to the environment, but it also destroys human health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), dangerously polluted air kills circa 7 million people globally every year. According to WHO, 9 out of 10 people worldwide breathe polluted air every day.
The health ramifications of air pollution are significant, with 1 in 3 deaths from heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer attributed to air pollution. The physiological impact of regularly breathing in polluted air is likened to that of heavy smoking, with microscopic pollutants evading the body’s immune defenses, penetrating the respiratory and circulatory system, and damaging the heart, lungs, and brain.
Incorporating innovative designs and materials, green buildings are designed to act as air filtration systems on a gargantuan scale. Take for example Seoul City Hall, one of the world’s most impressive examples of eco-conscious building, which features a seven-story-high “living wall” at the center of the building. By adding thousands of plants, the building remove dust and pollutants from the air, as well as acting as a natural temperature and humidity regulator.
5. Better Use of Resources
Sustainable building practices prioritize the conservation of finite resources like water, protecting supplies for generations to come. To this end, modern green buildings incorporate ingenious technology and design, collecting and repurposing rainwater and gray water and recycling it, for example, for use in water closets, or to irrigate plants.
Cutting-edge technologies like solar photovoltaic systems do not come cheap at the current time. However, by cashing out a bigger initial expenditure, building owners and operators can save themselves significant sums in the long-term, drastically lowering their energy consumption, and with it their bills. The Indian Green Building Council reports that the buildings it certifies achieve energy savings of up to 50% compared with conventional buildings in India, reducing water consumption by up to 30%.
6. Protecting Natural Spaces and Enhancing Existing Ecology
Green buildings are generally not constructed on environmentally sensitive lands. Where they are constructed near to or actually on green spaces, significant measures are taken to mitigate their impact on the local environment.
Sustainable developments are usually built on property that has previously been developed, incorporating steps to increase plant life through the use of green roofs, which offer an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional roofing systems. Alternatively, or in addition, green building design may reduce the site area used for parking, providing room for more green spaces.
7. Improving Occupants’ Health, Well-Being, and Productivity
Not only do green buildings save owners and tenants money on utility bills through enhanced energy and water efficiency, improving their finances, but they also enhance the quality of the indoor environment, providing homes and working spaces with optimal lighting, air quality, ergonomics, and thermal conditions.
Good indoor environmental quality helps to protect the health and well-being of a building’s occupants, reducing stress, and ultimately improving quality of life. By incorporating features such as operable windows that let in as much natural light as possible, and reducing and eliminating elements that are dangerous to your health, green builders create tangible health benefits for building occupants, helping to make people’s lives happier, healthier, and more productive.