While worldwide efforts are on to contain global warming, every global citizen can contribute in their own way in reducing the carbon footprints. Housing sector, despite of its recent slump in the USA owing to the mortgage market crisis, is nonetheless a buzzing area of growth that if applies the environment-friendly concepts to construction could help in developing a greener planet. According to a recent study by the Montreal-based Commission for Environmental Cooperation, the cheapest way to reduce greenhouse gas is to build green buildings.
Over one-third of the global greenhouse gases emanate from the North American buildings – residential and office buildings alike. By constructing new buildings on energy-efficient concepts and be upgrading the existing ones through better insulation and windows, a whopping 1.7 billion tons volume of greenhouse gas emission could be reduced. Green buildings are defined in the report as ‘environmentally preferable practices and materials in the design, location, construction, operation and disposal of buildings.’ Only 2 percent of the US buildings are environment friendly and the residential houses comprise only 0.3 percent in the total green buildings pie. Europe on the other hand has a greater number of green buildings in place.
Building materials used in typical green buildings are renewable plant materials, sustainable lumber, dimension stone, recycled stone, recycled metal and other non-toxic, reusable, renewable and recyclable products. Insulation is made from low volatile organic compound-emitting materials such as recycled denim or cellulose insulation. Organic or milk based paints are used. To minimize energy load the buildings are designed to take maximum advantage of the wind and sunlight.
The high cost of constructing more energy efficient and water systems makes the builders reluctant to develop green buildings. With green construction being only 4 percent of the entire construction sector, future rise in the market share would help in bringing down the cost of building green houses.