With our society’s increasing concern for the environment, it’s no surprise that green building continues to grow in popularity and you may be wondering what is green design? From residential structures to corporate facilities, at MEL/ARCH we are discovering new sustainable design processes to preserve our ecosystem while reducing our carbon footprint. These include passive systems and materials as well as active systems such a solar arrays and geothermal heat pumps just to name a few. Here are ten benefits of green building and green construction practices and how this architectural trend can protect the generations of tomorrow:
When it comes to our quality of life, it’s no secret that our surroundings have a major impact on our health. Over the past several decades, designers around the globe have made massive progress, developing sustainable architecture that can dramatically affect the inhabitants of such buildings and drastically reduce the negative environmental impact that buildings may have. From interior design elements like improved lighting sources, thermal conditions, ergonomic features and even upgraded air quality, occupants residing or working in green structures have experienced a marked improvement in their health, stress levels and overall quality of life.
Another tangible benefit of sustainable building: water efficiency. Research shows that green architecture can not only reduce water waste through water-efficient plumbing fixtures but also reduce the strain on shared water resources. By installing specially-engineered systems to purify water, it enables water recycling and also allows for alternative sources of water (such as rainwater). These developments not only save this vital natural resource but protect clean water sources for the future.
Living in a sustainable building can save your life – literally. According to studies, people who reside in green structures experience a myriad of health benefits due to the eco-friendly materials utilized in construction. For example, green buildings avoid using building materials that may contain harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or plastic by-products which have been known to release toxic fumes and carcinogens into the atmosphere. These dangerous materials are linked to respiratory disease, allergies, and other health disorders, and in extreme cases, an increased risk of cancer.
With our planet’s ever-increasing population (particularly in large cities across the globe), our local shared resources are being threatened as demands continue to grow. Based on the advancements and sustainable practices and technologies developed by ingenious architects worldwide, vital resources such as water and energy are being protected. By increasing efficiency, green structures are capable of reducing the environmental impact on such resources, which can potentially be protected and preserved for future generations.
One of the greatest benefits of green buildings are their lower maintenance costs – featuring specially-engineered design elements to lower energy consumption and help reduce energy cost and water bills for each occupant. These efficient structures can save corporate and residential owners a bundle. Although the expense required for building owners to build such structures may be initially higher than traditional non-green forms of architecture, the cost over the long term is recovered exponentially.
As a green architect, MEL/ARCH focuses on energy efficiency is a primary goal in green building design. Developing structures that derive their energy from natural sources – such as the sun, wind, and water – is extremely beneficial to the environment, protecting the ecosystem from pollution associated with non-renewable sources (such as oil and coal). An added benefit: non-renewable energy sources are not only toxic but costly, while their energy-efficient counterparts (such as solar energy vs. traditional electricity) can save thousands over the lifetime costs of the infrastructure.
Upcycling has taken the architectural world by storm – by using recycled material and reusing resources (and even repurposing old structures), sustainable architects, engineers, and green designers are tapping into existing resources to reduce carbon footprints and save natural resources. At the Connex building in Fort Worth, MEL/ARCH was able to successfully install up cycled commercial glazing amounting up to 65% of the total glass surface, while saving the client an estimated $32,000 in costs. By implementing sustainable strategies into the design process, like reducing waste, preserving natural resources (such as water and wood), protecting our air supply, and limiting energy use, green building companies can create extremely efficient structures that can withstand the test of time.
For educated home and business owners, going green is a no-brainer: from energy and water savings and improved air quality to overall durability, sustainable materials have been proven time and time again to last longer. Green materials (such as recycled decking and roofing) not only endure for years exposed to the elements but require much less maintenance. In addition, because many of them are free from harmful chemical treatments, they are healthier for the environment (and the inhabitants they serve). If you are ready to discuss green design strategies for your next project, or simply want to learn more, Feel free to contact us at MEL/ARCH
Stay tuned for our upcoming blog post where we discuss geothermal heating and cooling systems. How they work and how they can save you big time!!