Green, Renewable BuildingsKimroy Bailey
With the economical conditions that we as Jamaicans face on a daily basis, it’s always good to find ways to save. It’s not as hard as it seems, we can save financially and also protect/save our environment by living green (environmentally friendly).
Green Building; (also known as green construction or sustainable building) refers to a structure and using process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle: from sitting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. According to some estimates, buildings account for almost one-half of the world’s material and energy consumption, one-sixth of fresh water use, and a quarter of all wood harvested. As costs for sustainable materials and products drop, building green is really the most cost-effective kind of design and construction. The objective is that green buildings are designed to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by:
• Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources
• Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity
• Reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation.
When designing green buildings one should consider the following:
How will the building make use of the natural lighting and natural air ventilation,
What material is to be used in construction and
How will waste be properly disposed of so as to replenish the environment.
A California survey of over 100 stores (all operated by the same retailer) found that sales were 40 percent higher when stores were lighted with skylights instead of electric lighting. Jamaica’s tropical climate makes it ideal for green building, which is applicable to residential as well as commercial structures.
This will only work with the input of everyone to ensure an environmentally friendly and economically sustainable country. Even if you read no further, this should convince you: Green buildings save money, starting the very first day of construction. This is true for green homes as well as sustainable office buildings, factories, churches, schools and other structures. According to Marc Lallanilla (2013), both residential and commercial buildings retain a high resale value if they include sustainable design components. The value to prospective buyers comes from knowing their utility and maintenance costs will be lower in green buildings that outperform non-green buildings. Occupancy levels are consistently higher, and vacancy rates lower, in sustainable office buildings.
A 2003 study by the California Sustainable Building Task Force shows that an initial green design investment of just two percent will produce savings greater than 10 times the initial investment, based on a very conservative 20-year building lifespan. According to the U.S Green Building society (USGBS), environmental benefits enhance and protect biodiversity and ecosystems, improve air and water quality, reduce waste streams and conserve and restore natural resources. Green building offers better indoor comfort and air-quality control, which lead to lower environmental and health costs associated with air pollution, lessen the risk of sickness, and increase productivity. Research has also confirmed that green buildings have a significant impact on employee productivity, while at the same time lowering ongoing operational costs. The same study also reported that on average, employees reported 2.88 fewer sick days in their current green office versus their previous non-green office. Using an average salary calculation, an office space base of 250 square feet per worker, and a count of 250 workdays per year, the decrease in sick days translated into a net impact of nearly $5.00 per square foot per year. When added to other productivity gains, such as staff output and morale, the net impact grew to $20.00 per square foot per year. This should not just be a thought for saving but a way of life.
Let’s start today for a better tomorrow for our children and our Children’s children