17 December 2007

Building Green : an overview

An eco-friendly home is better for the environment as well as your health.

Building green is about the way your home is designed, constructed and operates in order to reduce its impact on the overall environment whilst creating a healthy and enjoyable environment for you to live in. Key green building strategies include water and energy efficiency, sourcing sustainable products and materials, and using renewable energy.

The buildings we live and work in have a profound impact on the natural environment, the economy and our health. The built environment accounts for:

  • 40 per cent of our total carbon emissions
  • 33 per cent of all product and material resources consumed
  • 42 per cent of our total energy consumed
  • 12 per cent of water use.

In the past the building industry has been inherently wasteful, lagging behind other industries when it comes to sustainability. The statistics should be impetus enough for everyone involved in the building industry to accept a greater responsibility in adopting more sustainable practices.

But for green building to succeed it has to be mutually beneficial: there has to be something in it for consumers as well as for the environment.

And there is. The win for consumers is a more modern, healthier home with lower energy and water bills. A well-designed home can, without any change in occupant behaviour, reduce energy use by about 60 per cent and water use by about 30 per cent.

Research indicates homes that incorporate environmental initiatives now sell more quickly and command higher prices than those that don’t. The objection that building green is too costly has been overstated for far too long. Achieving the energy and water savings cited above need add no more than 5 per cent to the cost of construction.

Building in a more eco friendly way simply creates a better house to live in. Studies show that indoor air quality is usually about five times worse than outdoor air due to the pollutants given off by everyday household furnishings and products. By using eco-friendly materials you create a healthier indoor environment for you and your family.


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