Let’s get right into it; what is green building? There are numerous aspects to a green property, but what does it actually mean to anyone?
Constructing green means building in a manner that is environmentally-friendly; both in terms of materials used during construction and power consumption after. It is about how the design and construction is carried out, how it functions and how it affects its surroundings. But how is this important for you? Aren’t solar panels incredibly expensive? Does any of this benefit you in any way? Today we’ll go through what is considered green building, the benefits you gain from being environmentally friendly and the cost of it.
Let’s begin with something everyone is, by now, familiar with; solar power. Is it as simple as putting on a few solar panels on the roof and calling it a day? Of course it isn’t. It requires planning and maintenance. As the name suggests, these panels only work while the Sun is up. But they don’t work at full capacity at all times. There are particular angles and intensities of light that these panels are most efficient at. A properly setup solar energy system ensures that during the day, when the Sun is a ready partner, the system powers your green building at max efficiency with some juice to spare. And with a good battery system, you can store that extra energy to run even during the night.
In Bangladesh, the trend is slowly catching on; but only slowly due to its immense initial setup cost. But with more efficient panels being made, these costs are dropping. This has inspired more and more people to adopt environmentally friendly methods for green building.
Potable water and sanitation are huge factors, whether in a home or an office building. We have the regular methods of saving water by turning off the water while we brush or wash large bundles of clothes together instead of just one or two articles. But there are large scale methods of reducing water wastage too. Collecting rain water has been a favourite for many years and is a cheap – practically free – source of water.
Greywater is a term growing in use. Greywater is filtered water, from washing hands and plates, recycled for utility use. This can be use like watering plants or in flushing toilets. Some buildings such as The Cityscape Tower in Gulshan 1 have their own filtration systems that completely clean out the water for regular use. These are really expensive means of reducing water wastage, but are incredibly efficient. A green property with facilities like this also benefits from tax cuts by the government. So yes, implementing these functions incur a large initial investment, but the long term savings and government tax cuts eventually outweigh the costs. Being environmentally friendly also make businesses look highly attractive to the public, improving goodwill greatly.
What would green building be without a little greenery? Not very green. But apart from looking great, what does it offer? Green roofs and living walls constantly function to reduce Carbon Dioxide emissions and convert it to Oxygen. They also work great as insulation, helping in balancing inside temperature which then reduces the energy we spend in trying to achieve climate control through air conditioning systems and even heating during winter. Though heating in buildings is rare in Bangladesh, it is a great bonus for cold winters. All this then goes on to have a long term impact on reducing energy cost throughout the building. Who would have thought that being beautiful and environmentally friendly could save money?
The sun is bountiful. We have enjoyed its warmth and light since mankind began. Why not continue to do so? We spend thousands on electricity bills over many years. Imagine how much we could reduce on utility bills if we just used the Sun’s light instead; and not like the solar energy we mentioned earlier.
Now a days, buildings and homes with giant windows are very common. They help greatly in letting in natural light so we can turn off our lights. But architects have been ingenious in their designs of green property over the years. These designs can be costly to put together considering the material used and the designs implemented. There are a few buildings across the world that can function during the day entirely off the light from the Sun. Imagine the savings on utility bills for a green building that well designed!
The most important part of a green property is what you make it out of. But did you know there are different categories of material one can use during construction? Did you know that recycled materials are highly approved under various green construction guidelines and that they have close to no drawbacks? But what difference does it make?
Every green building dreams of a green foundation to truly call itself green. That’s a lot of green. But it is truly the best way to start. Recycled construction material can be things as simple as plastic milk bottles and newspaper or even old denim! Of course, these have to be treated and compacted well before being used. They can also be used in only certain parts of a building. But they save thousands in terms of cost and they are very accessible. They also aid in the insulation of a building which, as discussed before, can further reduce utility costs.
There are so many aspects to green building and a green property. Each can be very confusing when you go into the details of them, but highly rewarding in the long run. Yes, most means of turning into an environmentally friendly green building are expensive, but the long term benefits heavily outweigh these. Perhaps we may even go into detail in the future on green commercial spaces and green homes. But for now, what are your thoughts? Do you feel green building is worth the initial investment? Would you like to live or work in a green property?