Be Environment friendly.
From the beginning of time, man has strived to make a mark by stamping an indelible signature of superiority over other beings, and more often than not promoting imbalances in the otherwise perfect ecosystem. Indiscriminate deforestation to accommodate an ever-swelling population, unchecked pollution levels, ever-increasing demands on fossil fuels, and the effects of the overuse of natural resources has resulted in the dangerous manifestation of global warming, ozone depletion and much more.
The construction industry needs to play a pivotal role in striking a balance between exploitation and protection of natural resources by the careful and conscious use of eco-friendly materials and following practices based on energy saving and recycling.
Although building green structures is on the rise, to bring about a substantial change, the scope must be widened to a few to the whole.
What is a ‘green building’?
The term is not just confined to the final product but also applies to the plans, design and direction, landscaping, building operations and maintenance. According to Green Building Councils across continents, a ‘green building’ is one that uses less water and optimizes energy efficiency in order to conserve natural resources by generating less waste, thereby providing healthier spaces for occupants compared to a conventional building.
The basic principles of green building are –
• Sustainable site design
• Water conservation and quality
• Energy and environment
• Indoor environmental quality
• Conservation of resources and reuse of materials
Green buildings integrate environmental and social goals to promote reduced ecological footprints, creating a healthier and more comfortable environment. The worldwide green building is fairly young, but interest in it has been growing across the board.
In spite of the massive potential of energy and cost saving that green building principles allow, there are certain myths that prevent builders from following them on a regular basis.
Myth 1 – Construction of a green building is an expensive affair.
The initial cost of a green building but in the long run they actually help save and make money from the energy efficiency perspective with high return on investment. In calculating the cost of ownership, 90%of the value is attributed to operations and maintenance (O&M); energy spending accounts for 50% of O&M costs. Green buildings help reduce this expenditure significantly. In the cost versus benefits of green buildings, the owner wins, for the initial expenses are more than offset by energy, water and waste positive homes.
Myth 2 – Green buildings’ energy savings are more hype than reality.
Green buildings not only favour the health of the environment by conserving resources but also work for the health of mankind by providing enhanced living conditions as green designs, materials and practices saves money by reducing energy and labor costs. Green buildings also last longer, optimizing on resources, are energy efficient and visually appealing, ensuring better returns than conventional buildings.
Green concepts improve indoor air quality and life span of buildings, providing comfort and safety to the owner. According to the Green Building council, green buildings save energy by 20-30% and water by 30-50% more than conventional buildings.
Myth 3 – The green building concept is still very new and not as efficient as the conventional one.
The use of locally available materials for construction, a prerequisite to green building, has been in practice for many generations. Research and advancement in the field have reinvented the definition of green building to support modern ideas. In terms of energy efficiency, green buildings are far superior to traditional ones as they support excellent air quality and daylight penetration, natural temperature regulation, safety and durability of a building, the well being of the occupants and the conservation of natural resources.
Myth 4 – Green building concepts don’t align with contemporary designs or luxury homes.
The concepts complement modern architectural designs by allowing ample energy savings and adequate natural light. Investing in green living means investing in a lifetime of prosperity for the individual and the word at large.
THE WINDOW SHADING INDUSTRY
Window shading is one of the largest supporting features in optimizing day-lighting and energy conservation. A 9 billion dollar industry in the North America alone, it is led by Hunter Douglas and Springs Window Fashions. In the last five years, the industry showed faced a tough economic climate with massive home foreclosures when the sub-prime mortgage crisis occurred. In the next five years, the blinds and shades manufacturing industry is expected to show improvements with a recovery in the construction industry, both commercial and residential, with more and more players adopting the far-reaching green technology.
However well thought out and made windows are, they are a potential source of heat loss. According to research conducted by Cornell University, a typical single family home loses 25-35% of heat through windows, a single paned window losing 20 times as much heat as the same area of an adjacent wall, a double paned window losing 10 times as much.
Heat is lost through windows by conduction, convection and radiation. A lot of the heat lost through infiltration can be reduced by weather stripping and caulking windows. Using triple glazed windows reduce heat loss 30% more than their double glazed counterpart, but are not cost effective.
Effective Window Shading.
A variety of window shading like roller shades, draperies, insulated roman shades, faux wood blinds and venetian blinds can effectively reduce heat loss if properly installed and used. To be effective, they must trap air and hold it between the glass and the shading. Hence, window shading must be endowed with accoutrements that allow them to be tightly fitted around the edges, must be placed an inch from the glass, and have a reflective coating facing the glass. In this way, energy efficiency of homes can be improved by up to 75%.
Consider the type of window, its location, the aesthetics and cost before choosing a window shading option.