In my last blog I promised some pragmatic thoughts on why we think green buildings are here to stay.
Buildings are the largest consumers of energy
By some measures our buildings account for 40% or more of all energy consumption. This is far from a trivial amount, and if we think that managing the consumption of carbon fuels is important then buildings represent the single biggest opportunity in our economy.
Improved buildings = energy savings = more money to invest in other things
Even as some people question man-made global warming, it is worth bearing in mind just how much money we spend on oil (in 2009, the US had a net import of carbon fuels of $200bn). Whilst few people would argue that we can do completely away with cars or air travel, it is remarkable how much money we can save on energy for our buildings, freeing up those funds to invest in other areas of our economy.
Energy is not the only finite resource we should conserve
According to the WHO, “water scarcity affects one in three people on every continent of the globe.” Even where there are reasonable supplies of water it is worth considering how we can design buildings that consume water more intelligently so we don’t run into problems in the future.
Green buildings – for better, healthier living
Most of us prefer to live and work in buildings that are bright from natural sun-light, have a pleasant indoor temperature year round without round-the-clock use of artificial heating or cooling, and a clean indoor air so we stay productive and healthy. Moreover, green buildings emphasize building designs that integrates well with the cities around them, with easy access to public transport and green spaces. These things are generally preferable to smog-filled, gridlocked concrete jungles or endless urban sprawl.
Green buildings as a healthy investment
And to the inevitable question: does it have to cost more? Probably not, if we think carefully about how we approach the design. Real cases are proving that e.g. LEED platinum can be achieved with as little as 2% additional capital costs which should be weighed against a life time of energy and water savings, and this is in addition to all the other benefits green buildings bring to their users and surroundings.
At the very core of it, successful green buildings require that designers:
- consider not just the building and its immediate users, but also its surroundings and the wider environment
- seek to minimise waste of resource
- use best practice in selection of techniques, materials and technologies, and do so with pragmatic eye on cost and benefits.
These are all sound principles, and just some of the reasons why we predict that green buildings will soon become so mainstream that we will stop talking about them as green buildings, and simply see them as the obvious thing to do whenever we start a new project.
It is an exciting journey, and wherever you may be on that Journey, Sefaira is here to help. We hope to work with you along the way.