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What is Green Architecture

Green Architecture, a term used to describe the adopted changes with much importance being placed on restoring and saving the environment. Read on...
Rujuta Borkar
Have you noticed how everything and everyone is going all eco-friendly and nature savvy? With the human race carrying through destruction of all natural resources with an unparalleled zeal, this is the time that there comes a sort of revolution (for what could be a better way to describe this?) that takes up the cause of all natural resources of the world.
In that direction, there has been a revolution as far as architectural techniques and the methods of building things with eco friendly material is concerned. This concept, in a broad term is called green architecture. What is green architecture?
It is a term that is used to describe the methods used in building environmentally friendly architecture. This technique aims at putting minimal pressure on the air, earth and water by adopting certain environmentally friendly architecture designs. In that way, it coincides with several going green ideas and concepts as well.
Green architecture is known by several other names like green construction, sustainable building, eco-friendly architecture, earth-friendly architecture, natural architecture and environmental architecture among others.
The key factor of this construction is that beginning from the germination of the idea, to the planning, the execution through construction, the subsequent maintenance and renovation, till the point of demolition, it is all carried through with the help of environmentally friendly techniques and resources. Thus, truly making it a green building project.

Green Architecture and its Components

The factors that are concentrated in this style of construction are the ways in which the natural resources can be efficiently used, how well to protect the health of the occupant of a construction, methods of reducing the effects of waste, degradation and pollution and providing all the things that are required in a building, without affecting environment.

Organic Material

The materials that are used in the construction of green architectural designs are those that are built from organic material rather than synthetic kinds. The criteria for their usage is that they have to be non-toxic, recyclable and reusable. These are compounds that are natural and have least negative impact on the environment.
Along with that, this method also focuses upon gathering material from sites and buildings that are up for demolition and thereby recycling them. Popular examples of this form of material include - forest wood, sheep wool, sisal, seagrass, cork, clay and others.

Energy Usage

Green architecture designs will focus on using those energy resources that have a minimal negative impact on the environment, as well as reduce the excess usage of energy.
This is undertaken with the fitting of solar panels (so that the natural solar energy can be used) as well as the calculated placement of windows around the building so that there is an optimum use of natural light, instead of depending on unnatural, electric lighting.
Similarly, fitting in a solar water heater, or using biomass or wind power and hydro power reduces the overall impact that electric power will have on the environment.

Water Usage

Another important feature of this form of architecture is its concentration on minimizing the wastage of water. This is done by methods like rainwater harvesting, whereby rainwater is collected. This water is then used for consumption and, whatever portion can be purified and recycled is used in that way. This results in using the water to its maximum.
Along with that, several features are also concentrated upon that will reduce the wastage of water. This includes recycling the water that is used in a toilet flush, or fitting in such appliances that minimize the flow and pressure of water like taps, shower heads and the like.

Indoor Environmental Quality

The indoor environmental and air quality of a building has an overall impact on the occupants' health. There are certain materials which emit toxic gas or volatile organic compounds (VOC) and pose a threat to their well-being. So, take care to choose such construction material that emits no or low VOC emissions as well as prevents indoor air pollution.
When this is done, the indoor environmental quality of the building increases. Other than the material used for construction, there has to be proper control of indoor moisture, mold and dust. Thus, the concentration is placed more on creating an envelope whereby the moisture and other pollutants are prevented from making an impact.
Yet the envelope should not seal the ventilation off. Similarly, usage of materials (like wood) that will reduce the impact of allergies on a person (if they are prone to the same) is also undertaken.
Along with these important factors, waste management and building placement are also two important aspects that have to be looked into as well. Waste management is the practice of recycling materials and making optimum use of them.
Building placement is the optimum usage of the area in which the construction takes place - the factors that go into making it a place that does not have a negative impact on the environment and is also beneficial for the occupants.
Green architecture is a highly unique and responsible concept that has proven to be least detrimental to, as well as least demanding of the environment. With the factors that it concentrates on and the efforts that it takes in providing for a safe and eco-friendly construction, there is no doubt that green architecture is a concept that is here to stay.