The revolution in housing, being a vertical project, has also commenced. Energy efficient, non-poisonous, healthy homes are the trendiest segment in the building industry. Homebuilders are building green homes in a significantly growing numbers. According to the author, there were about 200,000 green homes in the United States alone in 2006.
The greening of homes basically requires selecting quality, strong materials built in an ecologically sound manner. This home conserves energy and natural resources if possible. It also requires the purchase of energy efficient appliances and the use of water conserving shower heads and aerators in sink faucets. It is also exemplified in the purchase of a highly efficiency clothes washer.
Most of the greening of homes programs have been developed in conjunction with the local homebuilders’ associations’ guidelines. This way, the builders’ involvement is assured and they have important input into the greening project through their accession into the homeowners’ guidelines or policies.
The main differences of the residential or low rise rating systems from commercial or high rise rating systems include the following:
Mixed-use development is the use of a constructed building or a group of buildings or neighborhood for not just one but various purposes. More often, mixed-use development has higher property values. It is often seated in an urban area or as part of a new town center.
The LEED for Neighborhood Development or LEED-ND was created to reflect the major features of the sustainability of a neighborhood. LEED-ND is implemented to neighborhoods and segments of neighborhoods. The definition of neighborhood is confined to places of a unique character and function, where the people can leisurely ship and live or mix with their neighbors. A good traditional neighborhood is characterized by a discernible center, houses within a five minute promenade from the center, various features of residences, various retailers and commercial activities, an educational institute nearby, playgrounds for the children of the residents, interlinked streets, buildings near the streets with pedestrians, parking or garages behind commercial buildings, public structures, etc.
The most sustainable neighborhoods seemingly show increased levels of walkability. It exhibits a sense of place, social knit and stability, and neighborhood stability despite changing economic and sociopolitical status of the surroundings.
The major strategies of the LEED-ND Rating System can be summarized into three basic segments:
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The health care industry covers about 13 percent of the expenditures on non-residential buildings in the U.S. annually. It needs to be an active participant in the green revolution due to its size. However, it seems to be slow in its growth. The commercial case for health care is not the same as the other construction projects. This is because around 76 percent of private or non-governmental hospitals are not for profit organizations. This implies that their motivation for profits is lesser than the commercially established healthcare facilities. Also, most hospitals are linked with universities and they serve an educational and research functions which need to be accommodated. Generally, the public hospitals only account for 20 percent of the health care facilities while private non-profits account for 60 percent and private for profits account for 20 percent. One major barrier to healthcare greening is also cost considerations.
The Green Guide for Health Care was created in 2002 as a nonprofit project of Health Care Without Harm and the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems. It aims to further the tools of healthcare. It also aims to provide technical guidance and learning resources. It aims to create a learning community to institute enhanced performance healing facilities and to apply it in healthcare facilities all over the country and across the globe.
The revolution in workplace design requires good daylighting. This is especially useful especially for firms which have multiple floors in its current building. Companies can also select furniture, divisions and office design layouts that gives an outdoor view from most of the office’s work stations. This can be achieved through a good design.
Offices must also ensure that only low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are used in their finishes, furnishings, and furniture. Green interiors have been making an impact to producers and many new products which are environmental friendly are being produced. For instance, there is a paint called aura which is low in VOC, it has a good performance and maintains a low emission level.
A major barrier to greening the workplace interior is the short duration of projects of offices which are often just tenants of a building. Most projects last for 90 to 120 days. This shortens the decision and the design planning for offices since landlord impose quick timetables on the tenant build-outs. Hence, there is lesser time for consideration of greening practices and redesign as compared with new building projects. Also, there is more costs in building a greener design for workplace interiors since there are less options to make an integrated and cheaper design.
Many designers sometimes feel reluctant to pursue a green design interiors for offices because they are very quick and there is not enough time to finish the building or the office space before the tenant transfers. Companies also fail to see the overall benefits of greening their interiors.
The revolution in property management should be focused in making existing buildings greener. This is a major opportunity for reaching energy and water consumption reduction and the reduced general impacts of operating buildings. Thus, the US Green Building Council established the LEED for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) system in 2004. This is a way to benchmark building maintenance vis a vis several criteria of sustainability.
At the end of 2006, almost 250 projects had enlisted themselves in the LEED- EB, forty of which have been certified. At the same time, the Energy Star had regarded about 3,200 buildings which represent about 575 million square feet of buildings in all 50 US states with its standard ratings. This Energy Star rating is an indicator that a building is in the higher 25 percent of all the same building category for lowest yearly energy use per square foot.
In recent years, there has been a strong effort by public and private establishments to save lighting energy and interlinked cooling by substituting incandescent with fluorescent bulbs, specifically compact fluorescents.
The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International, a trade association with 16,500 members, created the BOMA Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP) in 2006. It intends to educate its members about energy efficiency upgrades. This group has recognized the need to aid building owners and property managers lessen energy use. The project believed that if just 2,000 buildings adopt BEEP’s no and low cost best processes for three consecutive years, energy con assumption and carbon emissions in those properties and/or buildings will be lessened by 10 percent. This will then represent $400 million in energy savings and 6.6 billion pounds reduction in carbon dioxide emitted into the air.
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Integrated design need professional involvement of builders, designers, architects, etc. from step one. According to Yudelson, the engineers also have become thinly focused on cooling, heating and lighting buildings with the use of electric and mechanical systems. They forget to approach the whole building project with utmost regard for building envelope (i.e. glazing and insulation) measures, renewable energy systems, natural ventilation, and other techniques that do not rely on tools.
The change sin building design entails professional education as one of its influencing factors. Mechanical and electrical engineers have the tendency to focus on engineering per se as compared with the architects who can focus on both design and engineering. Initially, architects have to study building engineering. Sadly, the traditional education has only inculcated passive solar design and bioclimatic design through the years. Revolutionizing the building design and construction practice means more than this.
In the years to come, engineers will be bale to integrate engineering and design considerations when they learn more about sustainable design frameworks. There is a recent generation who are schooled in both aspects and they know how to combine considerations of comfort, health and productivity into engineered systems while completely taking into active considerations the general design and aesthetics of the building.
Aside from this, green buildings also present other professional challenges. For instance, electrical engineers have conventionally brought power into a building from the domestic electrical utility. At present, they are required to design on-site power systems with the use of solar power, small turbines or cogeneration systems.
This chapter ends the book by convincing the readers that green building revolution is here to stay, that it is real, vital, sustainable, and is continuously developing everywhere. This chapter thereby succinctly outlines some of the options which people or individuals can do to “join the revolution.”
In our homes, the author advices us to buy carbon offsets from one of the various companies and groups which have started to offer this. With the money being saved, these groups can purchase wind power capacity, plant trees, and advance solar power. Yudelson also suggests that those who work at a public agency or school district check on what they can do to affect their public buildings’ construction, design, remodeling, and buying policies. They can suggest sustainable policies to their local government officers.
Local governments can take several forms of actions and this include these:
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