Green Sustainable Architecture

Terry Lamb
July 16, 2009 — 1,427 views  

There is an approach to construction in today's world that has been around for almost 30 years that you may be unaware of. This approach is called the green architecture approach. This approach is set on lowering the damage done to the environment by putting up new buildings.

While green architecture was once viewed as highly unconventional, it's getting a lot more acceptable and popular. The public and regulatory agencies are beginning to recognize the real benefits of this method of construction.

Today's green revolution can probably be tracked back to 1960s social awareness and the adoption of different methods of design. Green construction has made great strides since then. New techniques have been developed, new, innovative concepts and materials invented, and buildings have gotten greener.

A successful green project will reduce waste, use non-toxic materials, and pay close attention to the location and function of the building, as well as the climate that surrounds it. That's a long way from the old idea of "one size fits all" construction methods of the past.

What makes a building green? There are a number of concepts that make up a green building. The main ones are energy efficiency, use of land, reduction of waste, materials used and the sustainability of the project. Green projects should use energy efficient electrical systems whenever possible, especially in the areas of heating and cooling. Gray water recycling, passive solar design, and the use of renewable power are all elements of this.

Building should be constructed to match the environment, rather than forcing changes to the site. Buildings should be located and oriented to take maximum advantages of their surroundings. Improved energy efficiency is the desired outcome and it makes for a building more pleasant to use. Use of land planning in the form of parking and transportation concerns become viable, too.

In a perfect setting the materials used should allow the building to be reused for other construction possibilities in the future producing minimal waste. Green architecture should reduce the dependence on wasteful and toxic materials and products, which is becoming much easier as the industry grows. Some buildings even reuse parts of other buildings, or waste materials such as old shipping containers.

Of course, not all projects labeled green are really green. Some are "greenwashed" - ordinary projects given a green veneer for respectability purposes. Others are built with good intentions but poor planning. That's why it's highly important and effective to know that all green projects be inspected carefully to ensure they are as safe for the environment as claimed. Helping the environment is complex, but it's worth it in the long run, with buildings being more usable and more sustainable years down the line.

About the Author

Planning a Green Construction or Remodeling Project? Get insider planning tips from a leading Green Architect Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia contractor. OR ask the Green DC Architect your most pressing green construction questions online at http://www.landisconstruction.com

Terry Lamb