The popularity of green buildings increased as companies saw the need to reduce the consumption of energy and resources. The U.S. Green Building Council or the USGBC released the top ten list of states for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green buildings in the country. Topping the list is Colorado, which had 4.76 certified gross square footage per capita of LEED-certified space. The state is followed by Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, and Hawaii in the top five. Maryland came up at sixth place followed by Virginia, Minnesota, Oregon, and California.
Aside from environmental concerns, companies also saw the savings green buildings give them in their operating costs. The government also provides incentives for companies that go green. Green building designs also allow companies to take care of their employees as green buildings allow them to breathe better due to fresh air entering the building.
Importance of Green Building Designs
Green building designs allow companies to reduce their use of natural resources, such as raw materials, water, and energy. Buildings typically consume a huge amount of energy, and buildings consume over a third of the world’s energy sources. Cities account for around two percent of the landmass in the world; they contribute around 60 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Due to this, it has become paramount for countries to focus on green building constructions to help protect the Earth. Luckily, many countries are already offering incentives to companies that create green building designs.
How Green Buildings Save Energy
The designs of green buildings promote energy efficiency. And the best green building design is a zero-energy building, which consumes the energy it produces onsite. While not all green buildings can this energy efficiency, many green buildings use renewable energy for most of their energy needs. This is the main reason why these buildings are green and sustainable.
The popularity of using renewable energy use in the country from 2000 up to 2018 has increased by around 100 percent. In 2018, around 17 percent of the net electricity generated in the United States came from renewables. While hydro and wind power make up a bulk of the renewable energy source in the country, the use of solar power is also increasing.
Many green buildings have a passive solar design that uses sunlight as a source of energy. They feature solar heaters that heat water stored in tanks. The heated water allows the building to save on heating bills. The solar panels are also placed strategically around the building to allow light in even as the sun’s position moves throughout the day.
The design of green buildings also allows natural cooling to come in. These buildings may also feature trees positioned strategically on one side to provide shade. They also have light-colored roofing to keep these buildings cool, even on a hot summer day.
The windows of the building can also feature a thin silver coating to allow the light to come in while keeping the heat out. The efficiency of green buildings in using energy can help them get the green light in the building commissioning process. This is particularly true if the contractor consistently follows the design of the green building by the architect.
Keeping Employees Healthy
Green buildings also keep the employees inside healthy. In regular buildings, the employees are typically exposed to air contaminated by chemicals and gases from adhesives and carpet. Some hazardous building materials, such as lead, asbestos, and polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, can also affect employees’ health.
But in green buildings, designers often eliminate the use of these materials to ensure keep the employees healthy. Additionally, they feature windows that promote cross-ventilation to ensure fresh air enters the building. These buildings may even have smart air exchange systems featuring sensors that can adjust the intake of fresh air based on the number of people in the room.
Even as good ventilation requires a good amount of energy, the renewable energy source of green buildings facilitates efficient energy use.
Funding for Green Buildings
Aside from environmental awareness, companies have focused on green building designs due to government funding. These companies can get funding from state and federal authorities when they receive a green building certification. The certification shows that these companies are using eco-friendly building techniques. They normally use these techniques until they complete the whole project.
There are several green certification programs around the world. The most popular is LEED, which the USGBC manages. Many countries worldwide use its rating system since it focuses on the best practices when it comes to the efficient use of resources.
The popularity of green building designs increased due to the benefits they offer for the companies and the environment.