Do you want to know what happens when the increasing demand for natural resources meets its end? Will the green building concept be a solution?
The construction industry is one of the largest industrial sectors. In today’s building industry, the problem we face is consuming a massive amount of natural resources, energy, workforce, and economy. Natural resources or energy-efficient traditional materials cannot fully meet the growing demand for building materials in the industry.
Hence there is a need to develop potential alternatives and innovative techniques to solve the increasing demands in building construction.
What is a Green Building?
Definition by the United States Green Building Council for Green Building is a holistic concept that starts with the understanding that the built environment can have profound effects, both positive and negative, on the natural environment and the people who inhabit buildings every day. Green building is an effort to amplify the positive and mitigate the adverse effects throughout the entire life cycle.
In simple words, Green Buildings are the practice to reduce the negative impact of building on the environment and natural resources.
The following are the Green buildings design demands:
- Minimize the energy consumption (embodied and operational)
- Minimize natural resource consumption
- Increase the renewable, recycled and industrial by-product materials consumption
- Reduction of environmental degradation
- Increase the indoor comfortability
- Minimize Urban Heat Island (UHI)
- Minimize the Green House Gases (GHGs) emission
- Increase the recycling and reduction of waste from building
Demand for Green Building materials
In the last 25 years, much has been written as a more philosophical and moral impetus to design and construct green or environmentally friendly buildings. Although more and more building owners are demanding that their design professionals take environmental concerns into account for new buildings, knowledge about the process of selecting and specifying green building materials has remained sketchy. The extent of design and construction professionals’ understanding of green or environmentally friendly buildings was reasonably limited. The variety of green building materials was similarly little. In these few short years, the industry has expanded exponentially.
Today, hundreds (if not thousands) of green building products. There are green journals, green conferences, and green committees in nearly all building trade and professional organizations. Spurred by the mounting public interest in green buildings, municipalities, states, and national governmental agencies are implementing green initiatives and adopting one rating system with increasing rapidity.
Why use green building materials?
Understanding the importance of green building materials is necessarily significant for designers and consumers. The following are the points to be noted for Green building materials.
- Economic benefits
- Consumer demand
- The market value
- Regulatory requirements
- Professional Responsibility
What are green building materials?
Differentiate between green materials and conventional materials are the functions of the material it replaces regular materials. Consumers’ perception of green building materials and their question “Isn’t it expensive?” is general among all.
The following questions are generally what an architect or builder or consumer has tended to ask.
- What Does Green Look Like?
- Does Green Work?
- Is it expensive comparatively?
- How it performs on IEQ?
- When Are Green Building Materials Not Green?
Green building materials don’t mean it is literally green. It helps the environment to keep green by following the demands of the green building mentioned above. The cost of green building materials varies based on the individual material. Sometimes, more expensive but benefits you a lot in the long term.
The most important question raised by consumers is “How to select a material based on its performance relating to your needs and evaluate the materials?”. Not possible to answer in a short but easy way as a consumer goes for green label certification.
Various Standards Development Organizations, Trade and Professional Organizations exist in the market with their values. Some of the green rating systems in India are as follows.
- Indian Green Building Council (IGBC)
- Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA)
- Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
Manufacturers are researching and developing new green product lines as well as improvements to existing products. Also, with the increasing number of completed green, sustainable, or high-performance buildings, real-life statistics about cost and energy usage are becoming available. And also, the subsequent discussion for the researchers is about how the construction process works. Further, the relationship between design and construction, each phase in the construction process, certification activities for the building materials and risk management for green building materials are keenly watched by the Green Building rating organizations for future development.
Alternative Materials for Brick Masonry
The following are some of the few alternatives for the traditional brick masonry followed for building construction which has better thermal performance for the building which eventually has better indoor thermal comfort and helps in reducing operational costs and is easy to construct.
- Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC) Blocks
- Cellular Lightweight Concrete (CLC) Blocks
- Structural Insulated Composite Panels
- Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete Panels
- Expanded Poly Styrene Concrete Panel (EPScrete)
It is a discussion of why one should use green building materials and what green building materials are but a guide to their selection and specification. Green building materials are materials with minimal impact on the surrounding environment compared to conventional materials. To conclude, it is the right time for everyone to move towards green energy to save our planet Earth.