Since the acceptance of climate change as an environmental threat to all of life here on Earth, there have been many efforts made to mitigate its impacts. With the advancement of technology in the U.S. and countries around the world, innovative technologies such as wind power, solar power, hydropower, and electric vehicles have been developed and introduced in efforts to reduce the impacts of climate change. These innovations have had and will continue to work well at reducing or eliminating the need for various technologies that release CO2. Though they will not be enough to make a sufficient impact on reducing the number of emissions we release into our atmosphere. Although, several of these technologies used together as an overall system have the potential to have a greater impact. The use of sustainability projects such as Green Building design, provide the opportunity to use multiple sustainable technologies within the building system to reduce the release of emissions.
Studies show that building construction is considered one of the primary sources of CO2 emissions. Of the total amount of emissions the U.S. produces, buildings are responsible for about 40%. Given the studies, we can see that many innovative technologies developed, Green Buildings can have the most impact on mitigating climate change. Technologies such as wind and solar power are sustainable design strategies used in Green Building design that work well together. According to the World Green Building Council, a green building “…is a building that, in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts, on our climate and natural environment. Green buildings preserve precious natural resources and improve our quality of life.”
The seven components of green buildings are 1. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 2. Water Efficiency, 3. Environmental Building Materials and Specifications, 4. Waste Reduction, 5. Toxics Reduction, 6. Indoor Air Quality, and 7. Smart Growth and Sustainable Development.
Implementing green building design helps enhance and protect biodiversity and the Earth’s ecosystems, while also improving air and water quality, reducing waste streams, and conserving and restoring natural resources. While building technologies have advanced to more sustainable and environmentally-friendly innovations, there have been no sacrifices made in the realm of aesthetics. With the acceptance of green building design in architecture, the ability to implement sustainable design strategies to the point of achieving building designs that release zero emissions (Net-Zero) are limitless. Green Building design can consist of several technological functions while producing no emissions and is why I believe it can have the strongest impact.
With climate change being such a prevalent issue, many people shy away from the idea of green building design due to the upfront costs. Though expensive at first, many of the technologies used, such as solar power, pay for themselves. Countries such as Germany that have towns that are completely Net-Zero, is evidence that is it possible for other countries to achieve as well and it is also worth trying. Unfortunately, for many, an economic disadvantage does not hold much weight over an environmental threat. Especially when we consider that some do not even recognize climate change as real. To make green building design more financially appealing, companies will have to find ways to make many of its components more affordable. Only then will we see the potential impact of the Green Buildings Project’s ability to mitigate climate change on a global scale.
“Components of Green Building.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, archive.epa.gov/greenbuilding/web/html/components.html.
“Importance of Green Building.” Green Built Alliance, 10 Oct. 2018, www.greenbuilt.org/about/importance-of-green-building/.