The real estate industry around the world is not just about constructing buildings anymore. Today, in the changing times, the commercial real estate industry is adapting itself to a new dawn that is environmentally friendly and human-centric than ever. Keeping all commercial activities aligned with the environment is a need of the hour.
Environment-friendly spaces are catching up and are quickly becoming the gold standard in first world nations. However, developing countries like India are not far behind, and the shift towards green buildings is definitely on the fore. More buildings are being constructed with materials like fiber cement board and drywall. However, the question is – how is an environment-friendly space different? What are its true elements? How can contractors, builders and architects lead the change towards a greener and cleaner environment?
Well, read on for all those answers and the 5 elements that can make a space environment-friendly.
1. Building Material
Building material is the most crucial element when constructing any space. A decade or so ago, brick and mortar construction was paramount in the construction industry. It still is relevant today, but the introduction of new-age construction materials such as drywall and fiber cement board has taken the industry by a storm. Brick and mortar construction is becoming obsolete for a variety of reasons. However, strictly speaking from environment point of view, brick and mortar construction use a lot of natural resources including fertile soil and water that can lead to a deficit. On the other hand, construction with fiber cement board saves 99% of water during construction and is entirely recyclable.
Fiber cement boards can be used in some places such as walls, flooring, roofing and more. They also do not release any VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) which are bad for both the health and environment. In this day and age, our environment is degrading quickly than anticipated; however, using building material like fiber cement board and drywall is a step ahead in the welfare of the environment.
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Using non-renewable sources of energy like coal for powering buildings is terrible for our environment. The need of the hour is to switch to green power sources like solar, geothermal, wind, hydropower and such to protect the environment. The use of inexhaustible energy is the key element of any environment-friendly place. Buildings, both residential and commercial consume maximum power. For any space to be environment-friendly – it is necessary to cut down on power consumption and use renewable sources of energy. It will have a direct impact on global warming and also provide economic benefits. Energy efficiency is the key to making a building ‘greener’.
3. LED Lights
Lighting consumes most of the power in any commercial, residential or industrial facility. Not only is this power likely generated by a non-renewable source, but it is also high on electricity bills and harmful for the environment. Moreover, conventional lighting solutions like CFLs and incandescent bulbs use more power and generate less light – which is a sign of wastage. To correct this and contribute to the environment, it is important to switch to energy efficient lighting solutions like LEDs. Lighting solutions like LEDs do not contain lead, mercury, and glass – making them ideal for environment-friendly spaces.
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4. Green Components
Green components such as non-toxic materials and products are a must for any green building. Anything and everything in the building should be as eco-friendly as possible. Using green components will reduce the risk of allergy, asthma, and other breathing disorders.
The use of green plants indoors is also highly stressed. For any green building, having green plants is essential as they play a massive role in curbing indoor air pollution. The falling indoor air quality in a country like India can be addressed through proper ventilation systems, materials and plants that can control humidity and allow a building to breathe.
5. Water Management
Water is a scarce resource, and a lot of it is wasted on a daily basis across numerous processes including construction and what not! Conservation of water is essential and the only way to keep freshwater resources in the environment. Buildings – both residential and commercial must have proper water conservation plants installed for being environment-friendly spaces. Using water-efficient appliances, rainwater harvesting, and landscaping with drought-resistant plants in the premises is essential. Green roofs, rain gardens and rain barrels are other ways to conserve water and contribute positively to the environment. The water conserved can be used for some processes including washing cars, laundry and even watering plants.
Even though the points mentioned above may not seem like a lot, every bit is essential and a contribution towards the greater good of the environment. Green buildings and environment-friendly spaces without a doubt play a significant role in defining the future. To keep up with the changing milieus – architects and contractors – two primary enablers of the elements mentioned above must make a conscious decision.