• Green building (also known as green construction or sustainable building) refers
to both a structure and the using of processes that are environmentally
responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle: from siting to
design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. In
other words, green building design involves finding the balance between
homebuilding and the sustainable environment. This requires close cooperation of
the design team, the architects, the engineers, and the client at all project
stages. The Green Building practice expands and complements the classical
building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort.
• Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a set of rating systems for
the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings which
was Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. Other certificates system that
confirms the sustainability of buildings is British BREEAM is the Building Research
Establishment Environmental Assessment Method for buildings and large scale
developments. Currently World Green Building Council is doing research on how
green buildings affect health and productivity of their users.
• Although new technologies are constantly being developed to complement current practices in
creating greener structures, the common objective is that green buildings are designed to reduce
the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by:
• Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources
• Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity
• Reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation
• A similar concept is natural building, which is usually on a smaller scale and tends to focus on the
use of natural materials that are available locally. Other related topics include sustainable
design and green architecture. Sustainability may be defined as meeting the needs of present
generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their
needs. Although some green building programs don't address the issue of the retrofitting existing
homes, others do, especially through public schemes for energy efficient refurbishment. Green
construction principles can easily be applied to retrofit work as well as new construction.
• A 2009 report by the U.S. General Services Administration found 12 sustainably designed buildings
cost less to operate and have excellent energy performance. In addition, occupants were more
satisfied with the overall building than those in typical commercial buildings.These are eco friendly
• Individuals and companies have only been building
green homes for the past thirty years; still, within that
time, the green movement has been constantly
growing. The history of green building dates back much
further than the 1970's. It was in the midst of the
industrial revolution that Henri Becquerel first
witnessed the transformation of solar energy into
electrical energy, known as photovoltaic power. Around
this time, the late 1800's to early 1900's, a number of
solar power plants were built to utilize the sun's energy
for steam power. Then, in the 1950's, solar energy was
used on an extremely small-scale, making way for the
solar panel solution twenty years later.
• During the energy crisis of the 1970's, green building moved from
research and development to reality. Builders and designers were
looking for a way to reduce the reliance of buildings and homes on
fossil fuels. Solar panels were used to make more environmentally
friendly homes, although only in small numbers due to high initial
• Since then, developers have been able to construct more efficient
and less expensive solar panels, making solar energy more of a
reality. Also, during this transition period, designers and consumers
started wondering, if solar panels can make buildings more
efficient, lower energy bills, and reduce the negative impact on the
environment, what other steps can be taken to build even greener
homes? Now, Eco construction involves so much more than simply
using solar panels.
• Aside from harnessing the earth's richest energy
source — sunlight — green builders and designers
examine a number of issues to make a building Eco-
friendly. Building materials are a huge concern. Even
today, the building industry in the United States uses
up forty percent of all raw materials. Any reduction
through the use of sustainable, recycled materials will
have a huge impact on resource preservation.
• Durability is another issue; if environmentally-friendly
materials need to be replaced frequently, then they
become less and less efficient.
• • Cost
• Very often green building is considered to be expensive as usually all kind of modern building
methods. However it saves much more money from the moment of creating during its lifetime as
ordinary buildings. It works with any kind of green structures – office buildings, schools, churches,
factories and others type of buildings. Designing and building green structures cost approximately
the same as regular buildings. Even if they are higher in cost a little bit, because of some special
requirements, during their usage they save so much energy that the money spent on its creation
will return at least 10 times. The Californian Sustainable Building Task Force carried out a study in
2003. According to this study even 20% of investment into green building will elaborate 10 times
more saving. So there is no significant difference in prices. A green building can be expensive as
much as a conventional building.
• • Energy efficiency
• Green building has a great advantage of reducing both embodied and operating energy
consumption. Studies proved that those buildings which are built with wood will have a lower
embodied energy than buildings made of brick, steel or other materials. What about operating
energy? Designers try to find solutions to reduce it too. They use extra-insulation, high-
performance windows, and passive solar design. The latter is very efficient especially if the
windows are effectively placed. Also other ways of renewable energy are used too. Wind power
and hydro power can also notably reduce the influence on environment.
• • Water efficiency
• Water consumption is another objective in sustainable building. Water can be
wasted by drip irrigation, leaking (toilet leaking can waste up to 90 gallons per
day), pool showers. Recycling rainwater and using it for toilet flushing can save
waste-water. Water saving shower heads, ultra-low flush toilets and other
conserving fixtures can minimize waste-water.
• • Material efficiency
• Green buildings are built from green, rapidly renewable, non-toxic, reusable and
recyclable materials as lumber, bamboo, straw, recycled metal/stone, sheep wool,
compressed earth block, concrete, cork etc.
• • Temperature Regulation
• Urban heat islands are elevated temperatures mostly in urban areas, formed
mostly on surfaces where permeable and moist became impermeable and dry due
to some buildings, roads etc. Urban heat island effect is caused mostly by the heat
holding properties of tall buildings and urban (often toxic) materials – asphalt,
concrete. It can be compensated by more green areas around the buildings such as
green roofs and rain gardens.
• • Indoor air quality
• When constructing green buildings great emphases are put on the ventilation system. It can be powered in
different ways – passively, naturally or mechanically. It doesn’t matter in which it is powered, the most important
thing that a building should have a properly designed ventilation system in order to have a filtered andcleanerair.
During construction low or zero emission materials are used. Most materials used for ordinary buildings are toxic,
some of them radiate gases or include volatile organic compounds. It has a bad influence on occupant’s health
and productivity. According to the data of the US Environmental Protection Agency indoor air pollution can be 2-5
times worse than outdoor air quality. It can cause early asthma and other respiratory disease. It is provoked by
radon gas that’s found in conventional buildings. Another considerable feature of air quality is the control of
dampness. If ventilation from bathrooms, kitchen and other isolated rooms is bad, it can lead to mold growth,
dust mites or to the emergence of other bacteria. To avoid this problem effective ventilation system is not always
enough; well-insulated building envelop is also needed.
• • Indoor environment quality
• Except poor air quality other circumstances like poor lightening, temperature variances, furniture, carpeting,
pesticides, paints and high concentration of pollutants are causing different diseases – headaches, dermatological
problems, allergies etc. The environmentally friendly circumstances of green building create healthier atmosphere.
• • Maintenance
• Green buildings need less maintenance. For example most green buildings don’t require exterior painting so often.
Also as far as natural sources were used during its construction, they are not destroyed so quickly
• • Improved Employee Attendance and Productivity
• Natural lightening, good ventilation, healthy circumstances all influence the health
of green structures’ occupants. People are becoming less sick, they are more
productive and their impact on work is more high and effective. A study made in
Seattle among 31 green buildings showed that in LEED-certified buildings the
absence of employee was decreased into 40 percent. Another research showed 30
percent less sick days plus a 10 percent growth income per employee. This way
green office is more attractive and retaining for employees.
• • Higher Property Value
• Green buildings have low energy cost. Their use of gas, water, energy is highly
reduced. A building can keep a high sale value if it contains sustainable
• A green building can be easily tuned into a net zero building. A net zero building or
zero energy home is an active house. Instead of spending money on it, you can
earn money with it. These buildings have almost zero consumption. Moreover they
can create more energy than they need, they can supply energy(electricity) back
into the electrical grid.
• • Tax benefits
• Tax provisions are initiated to improve energy efficient green
buildings.It is supported on local, state and federal level. In the
Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, PL 110-185 (ESA), the Housing
Assistance Tax Act of 2008, PL 110-289 (HATA), the Emergency
Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, PL 110-343 (EESA), and the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, PL 111-5 (ARRA)
you can find what kind of estate they are included.
• • Improved Retail Sales
• A survey in the state of California proved that if stores are lighted
with skylights/natural light, the personage of sale is increased into
40%. The conclusion is that retailers using daylight can reduce their
• • Air-cooling features
• Particular cooling components that control precisely the indoor temperature in green buildings
don’t exist. The only thing that influences it is natural ventilation, which cannot be regulated.
• • Location
• To amend sun exposure, green building may need a correct structural orientation. It influences how
natural light enters the building, how to shade some part of it. As far as the building will contain
recycled resources the location of the building is affected by the land’s humidity, the circumstance
of the surrounding area.
• • Availability of materials
• In urban areas materials can be found easily than in rural areas. Green buildings require special
materials. A lot of eco-friendly materials re not available in the US, so sometimes these materials
are hard to find and transportation fees may be high. If you order them from the internet you
should pay additional cost for shipping and handling.
• • Time
• To build a green building in some cases takes more time than an ordinary one. Sometimes it takes
too much time to find the needed material.The client can delay the construction
• • Green roofs
• Green roofs consist of several layers plus a vegetation layer, culture
medium, drainage, isolation, waterproofing membrane, and roof support.
Green roofs are heavier than simple once, so the roof’s strength should be
improved in order to construct this type of roof correctly.
• • Cost
• Many believe that the cost of green building is cost-prohibitive. You need
to invest a lot of money. However later with energy saving possibilities the
invested money may come back.
• • Low indoor quality
• Green buildings are eco-friendly and healthy, but too much emphases are
put on sealing them. This isolation may cause indoor pollution. It can be
harmful to the health of the occupants. Damage to health can also cause
fluorescent lights. Their radiation in isolated places can lead to health
Compared with convectional building
• Global climate change has become more apparent over the last few
decades. Although the pace, extent and concrete outcome is
uncertain, the direction of climate change is clear. Most climate
experts agree that the humans, at least in part, cause this
development. The experts are calling for immediate and far-
reaching action to fight global warming and remedy its
• Buildings have a lot to do with our external and internal
environment, and have a major impact on both our health and the
health of future generations. Due to the benefits, builders are
opting for Green buildings over conventional buildings. Are green
buildings really better in comparison to conventional buildings?
Experts share their opinion over different aspects covering both,
green and conventional building.
Both conventional and green buildings look alike from outside, yet regarding type of technology
used and benefits rendered, they are poles apart. The main objective of green buildings is to
reduce energy and water consumption, recycling of waste, using eco-friendly materials, etc. On the
other hand, conventional buildings are typically not designed from the point of view of energy,
water, material and indoor environment efficiency.
• According to Rumi Engineer, Business Head, Green Building Consultancy Services Godrej & Boyce
Ltd, “Primarily, there aren’t much differences in technologies used for construction of green
buildings. The same set of technologies is used to build a green as well as non-green building. But
when it comes to design, we employ special software to simulate the energy consumption patterns,
day light availability and artificial lighting for a green building. These are called Building Simulation
services. It helps the project team in selecting building materials for wall and roof, fenestration and
electrical and lighting equipment based on their impact on the energy consumption.”
• Pankaj Kaushal, Vice President- Architecture, REPL says, “By adopting Green buildings one can
contribute in reducing carbon foot print.” Building materials which consume less energy are used in
green buildings like AAC (Autoclaved Aerated Concrete) blocks or Cellular Concrete blocks or cavity
walls using rigid insulation using fly ash bricks which have low density and are light weight.
Whereas conventional buildings have 9-inch (230 mm) brick wall or 8-inch (200 mm) concrete block
• He further added, “When it comes to electricity and
lighting, conventional buildings have typical design
standards and lighting power in green buildings significantly
reduces to less than 8W per qm”
• Mala Singh, Chairman and MD, PEC Greening India Group
states, “Green building uses sustainable technologies like
rain water harvesting, water efficient plumbing fixtures,
recycling of wastewater and Reuse etc. which conserves
precious water resource. Use of energy efficient lighting,
optimised building envelope, green roof technology, energy
efficient equipment and technologies like 3-Star or 5-Star
labelled products and use of green energy like solar or any
other mean are appropriate strategies for energy
conservation in green building.”
• Construction cost
The rise in green building is not only because of increased environmental
awareness, but also because of serious cost benefits. Green building materials and
energy efficient equipment may cost more and add a green premium to building
costs, but such items pay for themselves through energy savings, increased home
comfort and reduced maintenance costs.
• Mr Kaushal states, “A study done by California’s Sustainable Building Task Force of
33 Green buildings found an average of 2 per cent construction cost premium
associated with certification. However, it also concluded that the minimal increase
in upfront costs; mainly attributed to design, would on average; result in 20 per
cent savings of total construction costs over the life cycle of the building, Kats et
al., (2003). For a builder point of view, the initial additional cost of 2 per cent can
be recovered by the end user because ultimately they are going to get benefitted
in the longer run.”
• By offering green homes, many builders are now meeting their customers’ needs
for energy- and water-efficient homes with a healthier environment and financial
• However Ms Singh feels conventional buildings are more costly, she
says, “The conventional ways of construction are more expensive
and full of risks like resource wastage, increased energy
consumption, inadequate waste disposal etc. leading to more
hazards. Green concept uses a well-defined and sustainable
approach, which leads to minimal wastage of materials, natural
resource conservation by recycling and reuse.”
• She further adds, “Unlike conventional buildings, Green buildings
adopt strategies with respect to energy, water etc. which helps to
avoid over designing the MEP system, which considerably reduces
the resource usage, space requirement and construction costs in
Green buildings. Hence, conventional buildings are more expensive
than green buildings.”
Compared to Conventional buildings, Green building is built upon the principles of
environmental, social and economical sustainability by adopting a holistic
approach from planning level itself.
• Mr Engineer opines, “To sustain the energy and water efficiency measures
adopted in a newly constructed building one needs to maintain them. There are
Green Building rating systems available in India from USGBC and IGBC that cater to
operations and maintenance of existing buildings, both conventional as well as
green. By adopting green practices for operations and maintenance, one may
easily sustain the green building features adopted during the construction.”
• The expression green building and sustainable building are often used
interchangeably, though these terms can have different meanings too. Green
buildings can be expected to consume less energy and thus consequently generate
lower CO2 emissions.
• Mr Kaushal says, “Compared to conventional buildings, green buildings have low
environmental impact throughout the various phases of a buildings’ life cycle, that
is ; from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and
demolition and offers better health and wellbeing for occupants. Hence, they are
• The end result is a product which is indeed sustainable and
environment conscious in nature, having universally accessible
design, consuming significantly less energy and water, generating
less waste and having improved quality of life.
• Green buildings encourages recycling and reuse of resources which
finally leads to conserving natural resources, reduce carbon
footprint and helps to mitigate impacts of global warming and
greenhouse gas emissions. Green buildings help to reduce energy
consumption up to 30 - 40 per cent and water savings up to 50 - 60
per cent, all of which is reflected as reduction in electricity bills and
reduced water tariffs.
• “Sometimes, an efficient way of using green energy like solar, can
help to reduce the total energy costs from conventional electricity.
These projects can sustain on its own energy generation for the
whole lifecycle of the project,” concludes Ms Singh.