As the quality of life in general improves, the attention of consumers is shifting more and more towards the integration of green building materials for the construction of new homes, and renovations of existing ones. The focus shifts from the mere cost of building, to more effective usage of so called green building materials that are designed to be environmentally friendly, and geared towards conserving energy.
Opting to build with environmentally friendly and sustainable materials may prove to be more cost effective in the long term than building with initially cheaper, but less sustainable or environmentally friendly building materials, that never make effective use of natural resources.
Building in a sustainable way involves using materials that are sustainable in their nature, and recyclable or easily replenished if needed be. An example of use of green building materials would be construction of modern buildings using metal for the building envelope. Metal is a sustainable building material that is fully recyclable at the end of its service life. Metal possesses rigidity and durability required to construct buildings that can withstand sun, wind, hail and years of abuse to prevail in harsh environments.
Building with Metal was known to result in a long lasting and durable building a long time ago:
Although, the concept of green building was not prevalent in the 1930s, metal such as steel was in wide use for the construction of great buildings such as Chrysler Building. Completed in 1930, this great building uses a metal frame, and incorporates stainless steel cladding to attain longevity, sustainability and energy efficiency. It is not in the least surprising that this great building is still here, standing the test of time.
Metal coated with solar reflective coatings can reduce energy consumption by drastically reducing the amount of energy required to cool the building, as metal reflects solar heat requiring less energy to cool the building. This also helps mitigate the heat island effect associated with buildings attracting the solar heat, and then releasing the heat into the surrounding environment.
Thus, metal, a green building material, helps in the construction of an energy efficient building that is built to last while being safe for the environment, as well as its occupants is what green building design is all about.
The Environmental protection Agency (EPA) has been assigning energy star ratings to the buildings for many years. The energy star ratings for buildings’ energy efficiency sanctioned by EPA have helped prevent the release of nearly 120 million metric tons of C02 into the atmosphere.
Energy Star buildings typically use 35% less energy and emit 35% less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than average buildings.
The Chrysler building uses 40% less energy, and generates 35% less Co2 than the average building. It underwent some systematic upgrades to replace old systems with green building compliant elevators, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, plumbing, fire, electrical, and energy efficient lighting upgrades.
Bamboo – Natural Green building material
While metal is a sustainable, energy efficient and fully recyclable building material, there are other natural green building materials such as bamboo that grow fast and can be easily replenished. For instance bamboo flooring is considered a green building material.
Green Building means Health and Comfort for the building occupants.
Using green building materials offers many advantages over the traditional materials used for building and renovating, as green building materials are environmentally friendly, which leads to better health, while the construction of so called green buildings can be more attractive for perspective buyers. Green buildings are designed to last, providing safe, healthy, and pleasant environment for the building occupants. They emphasize the efficient use of natural resources such as water, and energy. Examples of energy efficient use of resources include: water sinks with auto shut off, automatic doors, automatic lighting, and use of energy efficient and environmentally safe components such as LED lighting.
Another example showcasing the use of metal in modern green building is Cornell University’s new building outfitted with zinc and tin coated steel wall panels designed to provide superior protection against the elements and help make the building more energy efficient. The metal cladding is expected to last well over a 100 years offering durability, and energy efficiency.
Green Building design
Commercial buildings are not the only ones benefiting from green building design. In fact, residential homes, even the ones that are already in place can be outfitted with energy efficient upgrades, such as energy efficient metal roofs, metal wall panels, solar panels, geothermal energy, energy efficient windows, siding, LED lighting, and energy efficient appliances.
Green building is actively promoted by the US Green Building Council, a nonprofit organization, which was founded in 1993, with the mission to promote the construction of green buildings, by endorsing sustainable building. The US Green Building Counsel is best known for its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system (LEED), which is used to certify so called green buildings.
The use of green building materials, and construction of green buildings, represents an important step forward to creating a sustainable environment, for generations to come. Sustainable buildings, use none-polluting building materials that are Eco-friendly, and are designed for energy conservation, which in turn leads to less waste and less energy consumption. This is not only cost effective, but also provides a positive boost to lowering the amount of emissions produced, while burning fossil fuels in order to produce energy.
Green building products are becoming more and more common in modern day construction, and are used for for new construction and renovation of the existing homes. With the increase in the usage of green building materials, the cost is rapidly decreasing, making green building products a realistic option even with the immediate budget in mind.
Overall, green building materials and sustainable buildings save money and energy in the long run. Green building practices help preserve the environment. They also create a type of living environment that is healthy, stable and sustainable for future generations. Investing in green building materials is therefore an option that is certainly worth considering for anyone who is in the process of building or renovating their home.