Green construction is the development of buildings that are deemed environmentally sustainable. Green construction is an expansive concept that involves the overall life cycle of a building including:
- Initial planning
- Building design
The focus of green construction is on environmental responsibility as well as resource efficiency throughout the entire life cycle of a building. This concept necessitates the cooperation of architects, engineers, contractors, owners, and all other stakeholders. Green building is also known as sustainable building and green building.
The Primary Objective of Green Construction
The primary goal of green construction is to lessen the overall impact of buildings on both the natural environment and human health and wellness. This primary goal is accomplished via green construction by:
- Enhancing the efficient use of water, energy, and other resources
- Protecting the health of building occupants
- Improving employee productivity
- Reducing pollution and waste
- Decreasing environmental degradation
Sustainable Building and the Construction Process: CPM Scheduling
The construction of a sustainable building necessitates a well-coordinated project schedule. As a consequence, many sustainable building projects are abandoning baseline scheduling in favor of critical path method scheduling.
CPM scheduling by definition involves all stakeholders in planning the course of a building project. Unlike more traditional building practices, green construction involves all stakeholders in the initial construction process. The manner in which stakeholders are intimately involved with CPM scheduling and green construction render the wedding of this type of scheduling and construction logical and natural.
Green Construction and Environmental Impacts
Across the globe, buildings consume a tremendous share of energy, water, and materials. Environmental researchers and analysts report that the building sector has what fairly can be called the greatest potential to make significant cuts in harmful emissions at a small to no cost.
At this point in time, building account for about 20 percent of all environmental emissions across the planet today. They produce the equivalent of about 10 billion tons of CO2 emissions every year. If green building practices are not more widely adapted, this number is expected to double in the next 30 years, according to the United Nations Environment Program.
In addition to pollution, buildings consume 40 percent of the world’s energy. Consumption rates are also expected to increase in the absence of an uptick in green construction during the coming generation.
Cost of Green Building
When it comes to objections to green building, the greatest criticism stems from cost. The truth is that some of the technologies incorporated into green buildings today do hike the cost of a project above that of traditional construction. A couple of points need to be made in regard to this criticism.
First, the costs of some of the technology incorporated in a green building has been around for some time. Solar technology is the prime example. The cost associated with this technology has been and continues to decrease. Second, on average, green construction adds a cost premium on a project of about 2 percent. While that is a cost higher than traditional project price tags, it is not as significant as many people wrongly presume.
An important fact is that over the course of 20 years following the construction of a green building, the financial benefits or payback derived from this type of building exceeds the added cost by a factor of up to 6-times, according to a comprehensive research study entitled The Cost and Financial Benefits of Green Building.
In addition to ultimate financial benefits, green buildings also create healthier environments for people as well. Remember, a primary objective of green building is creating better environments for people. As a result, worker productivity increases and people utilizing green buildings enjoy better overall health and wellness.
Ultimate Goal of Green Building
The ultimate goal of green building is to eliminate the negative impact buildings have on the environment as well as on human health and wellbeing. Underpinning this over-arching objective is utilizing certain technologies and practices that include:
- Passive solar
- Active solar
- Green rooftops
- Rain gardens
- Low-impact building materials
- Permeable concreate
- Groundwater reduction
Some U.S. cities have taken the step of requiring new construction to incorporate some of these technologies and strategies. For example, Denver voters approved a charter resolution that mandates buildings over a certain size must have green rooftops (or rooftop gardens). More urban communities are expected to take this course into the future. Indeed, political and environmental analysts believe that a majority metropolitan areas will have regulations like this in force at some point during the coming 10 to 15 years.