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Green Building: the Impact of Humanity on the Environment Essay


Introduction

A growing awareness of humanity’s impact on the environment resulted in the emergence of regulations and evaluation systems across the world. The following paper aims at discussing five national green building assessment programs, evaluating their impact on developing projects, and exploring their potential benefits for the community.

CASBEE

CASBEE (Comprehensive Assessment System for Building Environmental

Efficiency) is a Japanese assessment system that is becoming recognized in the U.S. market. It was developed to provide the simplest possible way of assessment without restricting the scope of applicable subjects. As a result, the system can be used to evaluate a wide array of building types using a unified scale. Also, it contains four tools that allow applying evaluation to buildings on a pre-design stage, during the construction, assessing the already existing buildings, and evaluating the planned renovation process. CASBEE uses a five-grade scale with the following grades, in descending order: S, A, B+, B-, C. The buildings that get an A or S grade are considered exemplary and are recommended for incentivizing to promote the sustainability and environment-friendly characteristics.

Yokohama Dia building, a property of Mitsubishi Logistics, is one of the buildings which obtained the S rating during the construction stage. First, the team was able to address global warming issues by incorporating photovoltaic batteries in its design. Also, solar activity sensors coupled with blinds controls allow for a seamless adjustment of interior illumination and, by extension, the reduction of power consumption associated with the use of artificial illumination (Mitsubishi Logistics, 2013). The heat island reduction is achieved by implementing a cooling system that uses external air as means of interior cooling during seasons when the environmental temperature is lower than that inside the structure (e.g. in winter). Also, rooftop gardens decrease the solar heating rate. A system of vibrating weights operated by a computerized driving mechanism combined with the active mass damper minimizes the impact of environmental vibrations and thus improves the building’s durability and longevity. Finally, the building design includes enhancements of pedestrian networks and provides a pocket park for recreational activities, resulting in city landscape improvements.

Green Globes

Green Globes is the assessment system developed for use in Canada and later adopted for use in the U.S. Currently, Green Globes contains three assessment tools that allow for evaluating the existing buildings, the process of new construction and significant renovations, and commercial interiors. Its design allows for a wide range of applications including schools, laboratories, industrial facilities, residential buildings, and offices. Green Globes is online-based and requires a design team and a project manager for the process. The evaluation process is transparent and is supported with pop-up tips and interactive guidance. An accompanying manual is available to enhance compliance. Green Globes submittal requires roughly the same list of documents as the majority of widely-used assessment programs and demonstrates a high level of competitiveness and affordability.

One Stone Road is an office atrium that was awarded a BOMA Go Green Plus rating through the Green Globes system. It is characterized by a range of innovative design solutions that enhance its aesthetic traits while also optimizing its environmental impact. First, it uses an automated control system of energy consumption that tracks and optimizes the use of lighting in the building. The system also generates regular reports with trends and changes that improve understanding of the interventions and other changes occurring during a certain period. The same principle applies to interior temperature control. The maintenance schedules and other administrative tasks are adjusted to meet the set goals (e.g. cleaning activities relocation to coincide with daylight). The heat recovery system ensures more sustainable temperature schemes for summer and winter seasons. As a result of these changes, the building demonstrated a 2.9% improvement in energy consumption, a 14.5% gas consumption, and an annual decrease of CO2 emissions of 323,493 kg. (Green Globes, n.d.). Finally, the latest data suggests a 33% increase in waste recycling diversion despite the growing load associated with 30% population growth (Green Globes, n.d.).

BREEAM

BREEAM is one of the pioneering sustainability and green building assessment programs. It offers a range of categories for assessment, including land use, materials, energy, pollution, water management, and waste production, among others. Also, it applies to different development stages, from design to buildings in active use, and can be adjusted to various climatic conditions and local environmental specificities. As a result, it is currently licensed for use in more than 70 countries. The assessment process consists of applying each category to the project in question, breaking it down into several targets with each targeting a specific issue. Once the task is considered achieved by the assessing authority, points are awarded based on it. Upon completion of the process, the points are aggregated to produce a final performance rating.

Cobalt Data Centre in Newcastle is a project which undergoes constant BREEAM monitoring throughout its development. Since the onset of the project, the team responsible for the design was able to raise the rating from excellent to outstanding for its third building. The successfully achieved tasks include air cooling interior system that reduces energy consumption, design solutions ensuring maximization of natural light penetration, and, therefore, reducing dependence on artificial illumination and heat pumps used for generation of hot water. The materials used for construction are made from recycled aggregates and certified by relevant regulatory standards. The building incorporates a rainwater collection facility for toilet flushing and has a waste management plan. As a result, the data center demonstrates an annual power use effectiveness of 1.12 and an A-rated energy performance certificate (BREEAM, 2015).

LEED

LEED is a widely recognized and accepted assessment system designed to fit a diverse range of goals. It consists of several modules, each of which targets a specific area such as green home, commercial structures, and neighborhoods. The certification process accounts for prerequisites (elements that are necessary for a successful certification process) and credits (additional options, designs, and strategies that can be used to add scores to the final result and thus improve the rating). In addition to the base-level certification, LEED provides three additional levels (silver, gold, and platinum) used to incentivize and promote environmentally-friendly designs. The requirements for LEED certification are collected in a single document which is recommended by the organization to be used as a guide to improving the results and streamline the application process.

TELUS garden office tower in Toronto is one of the buildings which have a platinum LEED rank. The building’s design has several features that dramatically decrease energy consumption. First, it incorporates a DES (district energy system) that utilizes excessive heat from nearby buildings and redirects it for heating the structure. In comparison to buildings with similar metrics, TELUS requires 80% less energy for cooling and heating purposes, which, in turn, reduces carbon imprint by more than one million kilograms per year (Canada Green Building Council, 2016). The waste energy from the neighborhood is received and processed in the same way to produce hot water. Temperature balance is further enhanced via a sophisticated air circulation system and triple glazed windows to decrease energy consumption. Non-potable water is harvested from natural sources and charging stations for electric vehicles make use of solar panels. The air circulation is further enhanced via a raised floor system which guarantees healthier working conditions (GGBC, 2016).

Green Star

Green Star is an Australian system based in part on similar designs. It uses four tools – performance (e.g. energy consumption), design (aesthetics and longevity), interiors, and community impact. This makes Green Star applicable and scalable to a wide variety of projects. The system uses a quantifiable ranking system where a greater number of stars signifies higher result.

Flinders medical center is one of the first health facilities in Australia to receive a five-star rating. The building utilizes an extensive rainwater harvesting system, which offers a huge environmental advantage considering harsh environmental conditions. Hot water is supplied to the entire campus using a vast solar panel structure, resulting in an annual cost reduction of $400,000. Also, the thoughtful design solutions contributed to higher facility attendance and a subsequent increase in local birth rates from 2,761 to 3,012 (Green Building Council Australia, n.d.). Compared to similar buildings, Flinders medical center is more cost-efficient by 42%, consumer 20% less water, and produces 4,160,000 kg. of CO2 (GBCA, n.d.).

Conclusion

As demonstrated throughout the paper, green building assessment programs not only create an opportunity to assess the existing projects but also promote environmentally-friendly designs and can serve as guidelines for projects in development, improving their community impact.

References

BREEAM. (2015). Cobalt Data Centre 3, Newcastle, UK. Web.

Canada Green Building Council. (2016). Web.

Green Building Council Australia. (n.d.). Flinders Medical Centre. Web.

Green Globes. (n.d.). . Web.

Mitsubishi Logistics. (2013). . Web.

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IvyPanda. (2020, September 14). Green Building: the Impact of Humanity on the Environment. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/green-building-the-impact-of-humanity-on-the-environment/

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"Green Building: the Impact of Humanity on the Environment." IvyPanda, 14 Sept. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/green-building-the-impact-of-humanity-on-the-environment/.

1. IvyPanda. "Green Building: the Impact of Humanity on the Environment." September 14, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/green-building-the-impact-of-humanity-on-the-environment/.


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IvyPanda. "Green Building: the Impact of Humanity on the Environment." September 14, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/green-building-the-impact-of-humanity-on-the-environment/.

References

IvyPanda. 2020. "Green Building: the Impact of Humanity on the Environment." September 14, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/green-building-the-impact-of-humanity-on-the-environment/.

References

IvyPanda. (2020) 'Green Building: the Impact of Humanity on the Environment'. 14 September.

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