Eco-friendly or ‘sustainable construction’ is any building which has minimal adverse impact on the environment. This kind of construction makes optimum utilisation of resources throughout its lifecycle.
Green building is not a specific construction method, but it brings together a set of techniques, materials and technologies which when suitably integrated into a construction project, contribute to enhancing its environmental performance. In an ideal world, eco-construction limits water consumption, optimises energy efficiency and makes maximum use of recycled, recyclable and non-toxic materials. It also generates as little waste as possible during the construction process and subsequent occupation.
In a green building, the structural creation processes respect the environment and make efficient use of resources. Green buildings are clean, sustainable, designed with natural materials, use little energy and are easy to maintain at a reasonable cost.
An eco-friendly development is designed to reduce the overall impact of the built-up environment on human health and the natural environment, through:
- The efficient use of energy, water and other resources.
- Improving employee productivity and protecting the occupants' health.
- Reducing waste, pollution and harm to the environment.
Rapid urbanisation brings millions of houses, high-rise buildings, hotels, restaurants, offices, bridges and factories into making. Thus, a connection to the Earth is extremely important. The above scenario demands that materials used in the construction of a building should be earth-friendly, natural, recyclable, non-toxic, chemical odour free and should have least impact on Earth. The consumption of materials should also be minimised by adopting modern technology. Some of the basic methods a developer should follow are:
- Using composite materials and structural systems which provide high strength and durability with the least amount of material used
- Utilising recycled materials like blended concrete using fly ash, slag, recycled concrete aggregate or other admixtures
- Identifying ways to reduce the amount of materials used and reduce the amount of waste generated through the implementation of a 'construction waste reduction plan'. Train all crews and subcontractors on the policy and enforce compliance.
- Taking adequate steps to minimise the creation and spread of construction dust and dirt
- Making the building complex pedestrian and bicycle-friendly
- Minimising top soil paving, concreting and compaction
The steps mentioned above will enable in producing sustainable, peaceful and healthy habitats and structures around us. In addition to this, the government and the developer fraternity have also taken various measures to reduce the carbon footprint. Some of them are as follow:
- When designing or renovating buildings, it is important to decide which type of materials will be utilised. Today, there is an increased focus on using materials which are not only cost-effective, but sustainable and energy efficient too. Such materials not only offer long-term benefits but also reduce carbon footprint.
- Materials such as aluminium should be recycled while construction of a building thus, helping in reducing wastage of materials.
- To reduce CO2 emissions, the builder needs to incorporate cavity wall insulation and double glazing technique to ensure that heat does not escape. Burning fewer fuels to retain warmth in the home will reduce carbon footprints further. In addition to this, solar panelling systems have become increasingly popular in both traditional and modern properties to capture as much natural energy as possible to reduce CO2 emissions.
- The transportation of materials and goods leads to high emission of CO2. To lower this, construction companies could source materials locally and provide increased sustainable benefits. However, if transportation of materials is necessary, utilising energy efficient vehicles will reduce carbon emissions.
The positioning of a building should in such a way that it makes the best use of sunlight during summers and winters. Passive design can also use natural ventilation to provide cooling in summer. Wind-driven and stack-driven natural ventilation can minimise heat loss during cold-weather and limit direct sunlight during summer.