Eco-friendly Construction

Construction techniques used today should focus on protecting the environment and decreasing pollution to slow down the impact of global warming on our environment. Green building techniques are helpful in maintaining a healthier society and surroundings.

Construction methods
Construction is the process of creating a new building or structure by using natural and artificial resources in combination with manual labor.

The main aim of any construction must be to protect its natural surroundings and not harm the environment by releasing harmful gasses or in any other way. With the increase in global warming, there is a strict need to address the challenges like resource depletion, climate change, peak oil production, and pollution. Taking the seriousness of global warming and pollution into account, many new construction methods and techniques have been introduced that are environmentally friendly.

Decreasing energy consumption:
With the predictability of decreasing fossil fuels and change in climate, it is important to reduce energy consumption. Green buildings involve those construction techniques and materials which are eco-friendly. Several buildings that were constructed long ago need to be demolished due to their inability to withstand natural calamities and climatic changes. Before demolishing such buildings, most of its parts that are still new or relatively recent like furniture, floor tiles, windows, doors, furnishing, sinks, etc, are taken out by professionals so that they can be used again in new buildings. Green building construction methods not only reduces the cost of construction, but also saves natural resources.

With the inevitability of declining fossil fuels, and the threat of global climate change, reducing our energy consumption is an essential survival strategy. Choosing to build green saves energy. The low embodied energy of green products ensures that very little energy went into their manufacture and production, with a direct reduction in carbon emissions. Eco friendly design methodology can further reduce energy consumption by minimising energy inputs for heating, cooling and light, and incorporating energy efficient appliances. Saving energy for the occupant also saves money - an issue that will become increasingly important as the cost of fossil fuels inevitably rises in the near future.

Building Healthier Houses:
Eco-friendly construction helps in creating a better outdoor environment. Conventional building methods and materials have been associated with several health problems. Eco-friendly construction can not only help to create a better outdoor environment, it can also help to build a healthier indoor environment. Conventional building materials and methods have been linked to a wide range of health problems. Chemical pollutants from paints, solvents, plastics and composite timbers, along with biological pollutants such as dust mites and moulds are known to cause symptoms such as asthma, headaches, depression, eczema, palpitations and chronic fatigue syndrome. Green buildings eliminate these problems through good ventilation design, breathable walls, and the use of natural, non-toxic products and materials.

There are many good reasons why we should use eco-friendly construction methods and materials. It can improve the health of our planet, and the health of our own lives. It also supports local business and helps strengthen the local economy, which in turn helps to build our communities into vibrant, prosperous and desirable places to live.

Chemical toxins from solvents, paints, composite timbers, and plastic together with biological pollutants like moulds and dust mites cause problems like depression, headaches, asthma, palpitations, and serious fatigue syndrome. Green building techniques remove such problems through better ventilation design, use of non-toxic, natural materials and products, and breathable walls. This construction method also helps in strengthening the economy and supporting local businesses.

An Essential Choice:
Sustainable building methods are a wise choice. The construction industry must employ eco-friendly materials and practices that decrease the impacts that can cause irreversible damage to our environment.

Features of Ecological Building and Some Techniques
In more conventional building construction, it is how technology and building materials merge and create ecological resources that are the key to green success, as well as using simple and readily available materials.
For example, using pulped recycled paper for roof insulation is a simple but highly effective ecological resource. The damage to human health from asbestos insulation, laid out in rolls in thousands of UK homes, is now well known. Asbestos also takes hundreds of years to decompose in landfill. Other features of an ecological building might include :
  1. The varied use of solar panels for domestic hot water heating,
  2. Water conservation, possibly including biological waste water treatment and re-use, and the simple collection and recycling of rainwater for garden use,
  3. Low energy lightbulbs, which can last up to 100 times longer than regular bulbs,
  4. Cellulose insulation (like the paper in the above example),
  5. Non-toxic or lead-free paints and wood preservatives,
  6. Locally-grown and harvested timber from sustainably managed forests.
Where to Find Examples of Ecological Building
Local Councils and Housing Associations in the UK are now exploring the benefits of ecological construction, and estates constructed on these principles have been built in Edinburgh, in the Cambridgeshire village of March, and several in London.
An interesting project in the capital is BedZED, in the borough of Sutton, which utilises solar heating and heat given off by the occupants, combined with a small power plant using wood off-cuts, to heat and power each house, and achieves zero carbon emissions.The estate was planned to be built with materials that were sourced from within 35 miles. This development consists of 82 housing units, owned and managed by the Peabody Trust. It is a great example of a sustainable development building estate, combined with the principles of social housing.

To provide inspiration to those of us who want to build ecologically, many UK regions have a demonstration eco-house as a feature within a local Centre for Sustainability, such as The Centre for Alternative Technology, near Machynlleth, Wales, the Create Centre in Bristol, and at the Findhorn Foundation, near Forres, Scotland. These are all set up as educational centres with ecological and sustainable development at their core, which offer eco-construction courses and advice.

Other European Countries, particularly Germany, are making eco-construction a national priority, as part of a Governmental response to sustainable development. Currently, there is no Internationally-agreed target for reducing carbon emissions, but several Governments and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO's) are recognising that the built environment plays a huge role in this.

A Necessary Choice
Green building is not only a wise choice for our future; it is also a necessary choice. The construction industry must adopt eco-friendly practices and materials that reduce its impacts, before we reach a point of irreversible damage to our life supporting systems. The UK Government is beginning to recognise this urgency, and is committed to integrating green specifications into building regulations and codes, but the process of developing policy is slow. The industry needs to take its own initiative and find alternative ways to build, using green, renewable energy resources, and adopt non-polluting practises and materials that reduce, recycle and reuse, before it is too late.

The government also must understand the urgency required to implement green specifications in building codes and regulations. This construction method goes a great way to create and maintain an eco-friendly environment and society.

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