GREEN building is the practice of increasing the efficiency with which buildings use energy, water, and materials while reducing their impacts on people’s health and the environment. These could be achieved by better location, design, construction, operation, and maintenance.
With the construction frenzy going on in Singapore, building owners and architects must look into making their buildings greener. Some have invested in sensors that switch off lights if the rooms are unoccupied. Others have installed energy-efficient air conditioners. Since we are endowed with so much sunlight, it makes sense to tap on solar energy for power and water heating.
For building materials and interior decorations, we can choose quickly renewable plant materials like bamboo, and wood from forests certified to be sustainably managed. For the walls, we can use recycled stone. The bulk of materials used should be recyclable and non-toxic. Try to buy materials that are from the region rather than from faraway regions. This helps to minimise the energy used in their transportation. So instead of getting white or blue-ray Carrara marble, we could get Langkawi marble.
Computer-assisted design software is helping architects to design greener buildings. A paper on the Autodesk Web site explains that with Revit software “when you initially register for Green Building Studio Web service, you download a small Green Building Studio client. Then each time you run an analysis, you simply make sure the rooms have a room number (the unique space ID used in the analysis programs) and the model has a defined project type and address (for building codes, local climate information, etc). On the file menu, you click Export, select the file type and save the export file to your hard drive. Then launch Green Building Studio from your Internet browser and submit your saved file for energy analysis.
“Within minutes you can view the results, which provide energy statistics for your project and recommendations to improve your design based on local standards for building type, climate, etc. You can then modify your building design and repeat the process to see what impact a design change has on the energy efficiency of the building”.
We can help to slow down the warming of the environment by making our buildings more environmentally friendly. We can adjust the room temperature to a comfortable level rather than at 23 degrees and then wearing warm clothing. We can switch off lights that are unnecessary and depend more on natural lighting. These small gestures when multiplied by four million people can go a long way to save the environment.—Roland CT Tan, Editor.