“Going Green” is a very hot topic in today’s world. Everyone has become so aware of the need to protect the environment. Many topics such as recycling are much more popular now than a few years ago. Another topic related to recycling is that of green architecture. Known as green design or sustainable development, the concept is one whose idea is to minimize the negative effects construction of buildings has on the environment and humans. A guiding principle of the theory is to limit the resources used in the building’s construction and use. Another major part is to limit the amount of pollution released by the building into the environment.
Buildings constructed through the use of green architecture usually have many similar characteristics such as:
- Energy-efficient lighting and appliances
- Water-saving plumbing
- Use of solar or wind power
- Little harm to natural surroundings
- Eco-friendly landscaping
- Using recycled salvage
- Use of non-toxic materials
- Efficient heating and cooling systems
Naturally all buildings will not always have all these features. However, the goal of this eco-friendly building concept is to be completely sustainable. Due to concerns about climate change and higher energy prices there is a greater desire to create buildings better able to serve the environment in a positive manner. Many buildings designed today now strive to be certified as environmentally friendly by the non-profit organization the U.S. Green Building Council.
Green architecture has many benefits socially, economically and environmentally. From a social standpoint, green buildings strive for impressive architectural style while causing minimal impact on the surrounding environment. Economically, the use of efficient systems and materials saves the owner money on energy costs while increasing the building’s productivity capabilities. And from an environmental standpoint natural resources are maximized while reducing pollution and environmental changes. One argument critics have regarding this concept is that while they approve of the efficiency of the buildings, they feel that many of them could look nicer. Many say that what the buildings have in efficiency they lack in aesthetics. Nevertheless, despite some criticism this concept continues to grow in popularity. As of now over 17,000 building projects are certified as sustainable projects by the U.S. Green Building Council. Just ten years ago there were less than 600 registered. This shows that sustainable development and eco-friendly building are concepts that will continue to evolve and become the new standard for architecture. As natural resources continue to get scarce and climate changes coupled with rising energy prices impact owners financially, the need for this smarter style of environmental architecture will become greater.