Green Buildings: A Key Solution to Better Health and Net Zero outcomes

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Urban experts predict that by the year 2050, around 70 percent of the world’s population will live cities. Buildings are the “building blocks” of urban centres. Although they cover 2 percent of the world’s overall land area, more than30 percent of a city’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) comes from buildings.

This is why urban planners – composed of engineers and architects – are finding solutions to make city buildings more sustainable. Given the negative reputation of high-density urban areas – polluters and putting undue strain on ecology and human health – these can be changed and turn city buildings into key solutions to better health and becoming carbon neutral.

Thanks to the “green building movement”, a holistic approach on building construction opened the door for urban sustainability. But it’s not only newly constructed buildings that may be considered as a ‘green building’ – extensive building upgrades to an older building can drastically improve its sustainability performance making it comparatively ‘greener’ by way of reduced carbon footprint relative to similar buildings.

Benefits of Green City Buildings

What are the key benefits and solutions that green city buildings offer over traditional buildings, and how can they be the solutions to better health and achieving net zero? Let’s find out!

Green Buildings Rely Less on Fossil-Fuels for Power 

One of the main goals of transforming urban centres into green and liveable cities is to make each building energy efficient. Since the dawn of the Industrial Age, cities have been powered by fossil fuels, which contributed to the increase in carbon emissions over the decades. Green urban planning and architecture has a focus on renewables (solar, wind, water) to reduce the reliance on fossil fuel generated power. Renewables are abundant and can power a building for decades, without the negative effects on the environment.

Green Buildings Help Save the Environment 

Both government and business organisations should invest in sustainable initiatives to reduce their buildings’ carbon footprints. In fact, commercial buildings are an untapped source for emissions reduction. Property managers, commercial real estate owners, and government facility managers have included eco refurbishment in their sustainability plans. It’s the best way to meet their decarbonisation initiatives and save our planet.

Green Buildings Offer Better Comfort and Health 

According to studies published by health experts: people who either work or reside in a “green” structure feel healthier and are more comfortable, compared to those who live in traditional buildings. Sustainable buildings are built and designed using eco-friendly materials. These materials are free from volatile organic compounds or VOCs, which emit toxic fumes into the atmosphere. These VOCs are found to cause allergies, respiratory diseases, and are linked to increasing cancer links. Green buildings are indeed a boon to its occupants and environment.

Green Buildings Help Build Resilient and Healthy Communities 

Resiliency is the new focus of modern urban architects and environmental engineers. When designing new buildings or refurbishing older ones, their focus is to ensure that these structures can adapt to the ill effects of climate change. These buildings must also protect their communities and keep them healthy at all times – better indoor air quality, allowing natural light to illuminate key spaces, and offering shelter during natural calamities. A dollar spent on climate mitigation measures will save communities hundreds of dollars in disaster recovery and response costs.

Green Buildings Are More Energy Efficient: Lower Energy & Maintenance Costs 

Transitioning from traditional to green can be challenging for some, especially business organisations. Their main concern, or everyone’s concern, is how profitable or economically viable are sustainability initiatives. Surprisingly, picking the green route is actually cost-effective, profitable, and it’s better for an organisation’s bottom line. Why?

Overhead operations and maintenance costs are about 20 percent lower than average, and assets which are certified as “green and sustainable” also enjoy a higher value on the property market. In addition, occupancy rates are higher for sustainable, energy-efficient, and Carbon Neutral-certified buildings. The return on investments (ROI) has shorter payback periods which is good news for building operators and owners.

Designing and creating energy efficient and green buildings is a step in the right direction. Creating spaces that support the community’s health and their environment’s well-being has a positive impact on the economy. Delivering better standards of living is key to accelerating an urban centre’s sustainable development towards Net Zero.

Connect with the Net Zero Experts to find the best solutions for your building’s sustainability needs.

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