On green buildings

While it’s good that we care about the environment enough to, say, recycle, there has to be bigger alternatives. One way this happens is with entire buildings. Indeed, the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines this idea as “green building”.

Defining green building

As their site says:

“Green building is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction. This practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort. Green building is also known as a sustainable or high performance building.”

Green projects are important for everyone to take on. Green buildings are part of a larger conversation of creating entire spaces where green comes first. After all, we even have green scrapyards focused on more environmentally-friendly responses to waste.

Green buildings, at their very core, help produce an environment enabling better responses to the environment. We are doing better just by being in close proximity and working in buildings that are green.

Why green buildings matter

There are environmental reasons to care about green buildings:

  • The construction is made in a way to help reduce wasting of water. Further, there is an effort and focus on conserving natural resources.
  • Additionally, green buildings’ design focuses on improving quality, not merely retention, of resources like air and water. Clean air is incredibly important to health.
  • By recognising the surrounding landscape, green buildings also focus on maintaining biodiversity and ecosystems. Natural spots aren’t ignored in favour of putting up property, but installed in a way that created a mutually beneficial system (i.e. grass that otherwise would die isn’t pulled out, but watered).
  • Another side effect of creating a green environment is increasing sales of green products. This helps put money into the green market, helping more sales and reach.

Later this year, Johannesburg will host the Green Building Convention. This is a convention focused on “the transformation of the South African property industry to ensure that buildings are designed, built and operated in an environmentally sustainable way.” This isn’t merely a niche concern, but one that is reaching wider and of concern to building firms themselves.