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Wise selection of environmentally sustainable building materials is the easiest way for incorporating sustainable design principles in buildings.

Ireland, green building

Green building (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The principles of Life Cycle Design of building products, from the gathering of raw materials to their ultimate disposal, provides a better understanding of the long-term costs of materials.

It also provides important guidelines for the selection of building materials.

The ecological damage related to the gathering of natural resources and their conversion into building materials includes loss of wildlife habitat, erosion, and water and air pollution.

In theory, harvestable materials like wood are renewable resources. It obtained with less devastation to their ecosystems.

In reality, a material is only considered a renewable or sustainable resource if it can be grown at a rate that meets or exceeds the rate of human consumption.

The awareness and movement in promoting sustainable living incorporating the green building is the only way that humanity must do in order to prevent further destruction and depletion of resources.

The concept of a green building developed in the 1970s in response to the energy crisis and the growing concerns on the environment.

The need to save energy and mitigate environmental problems fostered a wave of green building innovation that has continued to this day.

Green buildings are structures that are sited, designed, built, renovated and operated to energy-efficient guidelines, and that they will have a positive environmental, economic and social impact over their life cycle.

Green building focuses on sustainable use of materials, energy and water. It also focuses on health improve of its occupants.

Green building uses material that are obtained from natural, renewable sources that have been managed and harvested in a sustainable way; or they are obtained locally to reduce the embedded energy costs of transportation; or salvaged from reclaimed materials at nearby sites.

Green buildings incorporate energy-efficient lighting, low energy appliances, and renewable energy technologies such as wind turbines and solar panels.

It water use also focus on efficiency and achieved by installing grey water and rainwater catchment systems that recycle water for irrigation or toilet flushing; water-efficient appliances, such as low flow showerheads, self-closing or spray taps; low-flush toilets, or waterless composting toilets. Installing point of use hot water systems and lagging pipes saves on water heating.

In term of improving it occupant’s health, green building use non-toxic materials and products that improve indoor air quality, and reduce the rate of asthma, allergy and sick building syndrome.

In addition, a green building should offer cost savings to the builder and occupants. It should  use local labour, providing affordable housing, and ensuring the building sited appropriately for community needs.