With scientists and geologists having very frequent finds on how much damage humans could be doing to earth, new ways to keep the earth protected and keep our planet healthy are constantly being developed. We are already starting to see some of these methods being used if we look at solar powered houses, electric cars, large recycling companies, etc.
Something that has come to be known as green building is one of those methods. You may not have heard of green building as much as you have heard about electric cars, but I assure you it is just as much a thing. In 2013, the global green building market grew to $260 billion, including about 20 percent of it being in the U.S with all new commercial real estate construction. There was also even more contributed to that number by commercial real estate renovations.
What does this mean for you, the general contractor? Well, it means you should get yourself familiar with green construction very quickly, and very soon. Buildings that are built by standards for green building are becoming a whole lot more attractive to buyers, especially commercial. What is popular in the commercial world though, usually becomes popular in the residential market very fast!
What Makes a Green Building, a Green Building?
Everything from the way the building was made, to the materials that were used, plays a role in whether or not your building is considered environmentally friendly. Green building isn’t just something you can snap your fingers and do. It’s being able to do high quality construction work, while leaving as little environmental footprint as possible. It will take some time to learn the processes and ways to do this. However, it doesn’t have to be a hassle.
There are several rating systems and certification processes that you can go through in order to more officially declare your building a green one. One of these rating systems is called LEED. LEED ( Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is considered the nationwide standard for green building, and is mostly a voluntary process.
Meaning not many projects, with the exception of some publicly funded ones, have been required to follow LEED criteria when building. However, the number increases every year as to how many people need LEED certification to do green construction.
Anything from where you choose to construct your project, to how many recycled materials you use, may fall under the needed criteria for LEED certification.
To learn more about getting LEED certified, the criteria, and the cost, you can take a look at this PDF here.
Green Globes Rating System & LCA
Another one of these systems is called Green Globes. Green Globes is very similar to the LEED certification except it is considered an “in-house” assessment, and is done by a project manager and/or a design team. As you can imagine, this makes the Green Globe rating system a little harder to deal with. If you want to know more about Green Globe, its processes, and the way it works in more detail, check out this website right here to help you out.
After checking out those certifications, the best way to get started in green construction, is to do it right from the very beginning! Something called an LCA helps you do just that. It’s a Life Cycle Assessment. That may sound like something very complex but it’s simply a way to know and understand the cycle that a building material has gone through, in order to know if it is green or not. You can take a look at this awesome PDF to see all the detailed info on life cycle assessments and their effectiveness in the green construction industry.
So, this will provide a good foundation for you to get started in green construction with. When going through the process, just remember that you’re not only helping out the earth, but also creating buildings that are going to have a lot more demand in the near future.