Supercomfy, Beautiful, and Efficient: The Many Benefits of Green Architecture

By Guest Author Matt Lee. This is a sponsored post. 

Green building and green architecture has been gaining an increasing share of the market and the number of new homes built each year. While 12 years ago, green homes made up about 2% of the market, today more than a quarter of homes being built are considered green. Green building and green architecture are becoming more popular as builders and homeowners alike begin to see the benefits involved. While not every home or office building being built today can be considered green, those that are can mean a more comfortable lifestyle and lower energy usage for the people who live there.

W H A T   I S   G R E E N  A R C H I T E C T U R E ?

Green architecture or a green building is defined by the EPA as:

…the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and deconstruction. This practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort. Green building is also known as a sustainable or high performance building.

 

So, while many people may believe that a green building simply has less of a detrimental impact on the environment, truly green architecture works to produce a building that will have the smallest effect on its environment, while also serving a purpose. A green building has both a lessened effect on the environment while it is being built, as well as in the future while it is in use. At the same time, that building will meet all of its goals for use. In other words, a green building is sustainable for the environment that it’s in, while also being a useful, comfortable home or building for its occupants.

B E N E F I T S   O F   G R E E N   A R C H I T E C T U R E

When considering what the benefits of building green may be, one needs to look at them from several angles. While the purpose of the building needs to be served above all else, the following positives can be realized:

1. Environmental Benefits

From an environmental standpoint, green architecture strives to protect the immediate surroundings of the home or building. This means that the building will work with the surroundings as much as possible to avoid altering it more than necessary.

In addition, there are plenty of long-term benefits, including:

● Less wasted water

● Better conservation of natural resources

● Improvement of air and water quality

● Protection of biodiversity and the ecosystem the building is near

2. Economic Benefits

Many green building materials are more costly than standard or traditional materials. For this reason, some people may hesitate to move forward with green architecture. Most green buildings end up paying for themselves over time, however, with the many economic benefits that go hand-in-hand with green architecture. From energy efficient office buildings to more efficient homes, you can find a number of cost savings in the day to day use and running of a green home or building. These include:

● Reduction in operating costs – less money spent on heating, cooling, electricity, and water

● Improvement of occupant productivity – energy efficient office buildings in particular have been found to increase worker productivity, because green buildings are more comfortable to work in and are easier to use

● Increased market for green products and services – here the benefits go out further than the single building; the more green architecture is used, the more products and services will be offered, and the greater the benefits to the economy as a whole

As the market share of green building materials continues to grow, more products are being offered that are environmentally friendly and/or LEED certified. For example, exterior wood cladding produced by manufacturers who use sustainable harvesting methods is gaining a greater market share compared to 20 years ago, which means it’s easier to find and more people can take advantage of it. This in turn drives the building economy, and makes green materials more available to everyone, eventually lowering their overall costs.

3. Social Benefits

In addition to the economic and environmental benefits, many green buildings have social benefits as well. Green buildings are comfortable, efficient, and easy to use. For this reason, they may also:

● Improve the quality of life of the occupants or users

● Improve the occupants’ health and comfort—they just feel better to be in

● Improve the local economy and minimize the impact of the home or building on the local infrastructure

Many states and towns have begun to see these benefits, and have begun offering incentives to residents to help further them and increase the benefits for all.

 

G O    G R E E N!

The benefits of green architecture are farther reaching than those found only within the building itself.

As more people begin building green, the benefits will continue grow, making green architecture and building more accessible and mainstream. Go green for your new home or building to reap these benefits.

This is a sponsored post.

About Starre Vartan
Starre Vartan is editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life.

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