Introduction – Green Architecture
When someone mentions green living or green energy, one of the first things that spring to our minds is solar installation software. However, today we would like to focus on another green solution.
With passing time, more and more of the global population is making the rural-urban shift. When they start a life in the city, they can enjoy the countless opportunities available to them for growth and success. The United Nations has reported that more than 50 percent of the world already lives in urban areas. Three decades down the road, the number is expected to increase to 66 percent.
Progress is good but as more people flock to the cities or more rural areas are converted to urban areas, there is a need for advanced architecture, housing, land, power, etc. A rising need for resources to fulfill the demands is now a daily part of all our lives. Looking at solutions that are greener and energy-efficient would be a good idea at this time.
Humans have never lacked in ingenuity as is evidenced by the likes of the Largest Global Green Business Ideas Competition and Small Business Trend’s 50 Green Business Ideas for Startup Entrepreneurs. Imagine if it isn’t just how we produce energy that we change. Think about what we might achieve, if we started focusing on green building and green energy! Right now, the scarcity of land to build on and the materials used for construction limits us. If green architecture becomes common, we won’t just be self-sufficient; we will also lead much healthier, sustainable lifestyles.
Green architecture refers to buildings that are conceived, constructed, and operate on a central concept: reduce the negative effects of human activity on the environment while improving the quality of the life of the occupants. This recent study by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory shows how functionally sound this idea is. A green building will reduce the following consumption rates:
- Energy – 25%
- Water – 11%
- Carbon dioxide – 34%
- Maintenance Cost – 19%
- Monthly Utility – 15%
Green building and why you should care
The world’s resources are diminishing at a disturbingly fast rate. However, if that doesn’t make you sit up and take notice, something else should. We spend more than 90% of our time indoors. If we do so in a green building, we are likely to have healthier and longer life spans. The reason for that is a less polluted indoor environment in such buildings as compared to their conventional architectural counterparts.
If we work towards making all architecture green, we can:
- Make our indoor and outdoor environment healthier and more comfortable
- Reduce various costs, which could help us economically
- Incorporate green energy and water conserving technologies
- Produce less waste through construction and then demolishing what we created
- Make buildings with a much higher resale value
- Find and use alternative renewable ways of energy production
- Shift to a sustainable way of living
Determining the green nature
At times, it might not be easy to decide whether a material is green or not. If you find yourself in such a situation, try to determine the following things about that substance:
- The source of the material in question
- The presence and names of the by-products formed during its manufacture
- The modes of delivery and method of installation of the material
- Maintenance and operation of the material once installed
- How healthy the material is
- The method used to dispose of the material after it has been used/consumed
This is a shorthand approach looking at the entire life-cycle of a material.
Leading by example of Green Building – Hong Kong, Italy, Oregon
Smart and green architecture is gradually taking over different parts of the world. Take a look at some examples:
Figure 1 Visualization of a Smart City in Nansha (Source)
Hong Kong might not be running on green energy completely, but they have figured out the many ways of using smart technology. They are using it to predict the user’s behavior, conserve energy, increase security, and convenience. For instance, by installing real-time meters, the citizens can keep track of how much energy and water they are using.
By pushing to install solar installation software and energy-saving devices in their properties, some real estate companies are making a huge difference. The most common reason why consumers hold back from installing alternative energy solutions, such as solar panels and light sensors, is the initial cost. By proving that the installation of energy-friendly solutions, one almost gets ROI in a short time in the form of lower electricity bills. Hong Kong is making a sustainable living the order of the day! You don’t have to be in Hong Kong to use solar-smart technology.
Known as the NEZB or the nearly zero energy building, Italy has also taken the lead in smart and green living. It has been designed as part of the Green Living initiative. Even buildings like hotels can be NEZBs where nearly zero input of energy is required to produce energy from renewable sources. The following techniques are mainly used in NEZBs:
- Managing energy consumption
- Reducing the need to keep the room interior hot or cold
- Increasing equipment and system efficiency
- Use of renewable/green energy
Sustainable Waste Treatment (Source)
In Oregon, there is a wastewater management system located at the Port of Portland in Oregon. Its roof has a reflective membrane while it uses geothermal ways of heating. The water treatment plant is known as The Living Machine because it uses living agents, such as microorganisms and plants, to filter the wastewater. It was designed by Worrell Water Technologies and produces water that is clean enough to be used in a non-potable capacity. The structure also boasts a reflective membrane roof and geothermal heating Oregon.
In short, green living means stepping into a sustainable future. Move in the right direction with green living!
Andrea Bell is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs. Find her on Twitter:@IM_AndreaBell