The Call for Sustainable Construction
The construction of buildings in the United States accounts for thirty percent of waste output annually. The construction of these buildings also consume seventy-one percent of the total electrical energy in the U.S. Due to the diminishing health of our planet, it is evident that sustainability in construction is a necessity. Sustainable, or green, buildings are not only beneficial to the planet, but also to the owner, the designer, and the builder. Sustainable buildings provide monetary benefits to all of these groups while also cohering with the social imperative to preserve the health of the planet. Builders in the past thought that sustainable methods and materials were too expensive to use; however, due to the technology boom in green building, sustainability is actually increasing profits for builders and saving building owners money through conservation of materials and energy. The new green technologies are also greatly reducing builders’ carbon footprint and negative environmental impact. It is being made clear that sustainability is the future of construction and that everyone involved with the construction of buildings must move towards greener buildings and building methods.
Green Building in past years was much too expensive to achieve but due to the fast growing market of sustainable products and methods green building is now very profitable to builders and building owners. The rising popularity of sustainability in construction is proving that it will last and according to Michael Montoya, writer of Green Building Fundamentals, “designers and builders who do not embrace this concept in their business models will soon be left behind.” This is an eye opener for young workers and students in the designing and construction fields. They must start learning the methods of sustainability in order to compete in the new market. Sustainability and eco-friendliness is becoming more popular everyday with the younger generations. Companies are paying contractors large sums of money to make their buildings as sustainable as possible. They do this because it has great potential to attract customers, specifically if the building has signs letting the public know of its eco-friendly components. Sustainable building is a trend backed the U.S. government. Government programs such as the United States Green Building Council, or the USGBC, push sustainability on the market through many different programs, one of the first and most known being LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a rating system that provides an incentive for builders and building owners to build and operate sustainably. It ensures green building will last.
LEED is a green building certification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, which is imperative to promote sustainability. The USGBC’s goal, states Traci Rider, author of Understanding Green Building, “is to drive market transformation within the building industry, essentially to make green building strategies the go-to system in everyday design and construction operations by awarding various levels of LEED certification.” The government is essentially changing the market with LEED. In California currently, there is a new building code that requires all new buildings to get LEED accredited. Many old hospitals in the San Francisco Bay area are being rebuilt to LEED standards as a result of this new building code. There are three major ratings of buildings within LEED, platinum, gold, and silver. Platinum is the highest rating and silver is the lowest. Most modern builders and building owners strive to achieve the highest LEED rating with in their budget, which is usually a gold or silver rating. It can be expensive to attain a gold and silver ratings; however, these accreditations often save money in the long term through their energy conserving designs. A platinum rating will conserve the most energy and save money, but the...
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