Communities are looking for means to increase their sustainability and resilience. Sustainable communities in green cities can achieve integrated energy solutions that focus on critical facilities and infrastructure.
Solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, and biomass, are the pillars of renewable energy that have a positive impact on the health of our planet, the status of our population, and the future of our world. And yet, there are still worries regarding the initial impact of adapting to renewable energy that stalls its acceptance. There are issues regarding its reliability, difficulty of installation, and the fact that it would require high initial investments.
However, the advantages and eventual benefits outweigh the costs and the early impact that the change could cause. The shortcoming switch to renewable energy is aided by the rapid advancement in technology. Wheels are set in motion which sparks further innovation in the field. The drawbacks are short-term while the benefits give a long time experience to future generations. Green energy cities construct green buildings that have many benefits. These are the basic benefit that recommends the need for green cities. These benefits are as follows.
The goal of green buildings is to improve air and water quality within structures, as well as the productivity of their occupants. Indoor air pollutant levels are about two to five times higher than those of outdoor air. Some of these pollutants, such as radon gas, are attributable to natural conditions, while others such as second-hand smoke are a direct result of human behavior. However, many of these pollutants are a byproduct of the materials used to construct or furnish the building. Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, can cause serious health consequences in large enough concentrations. These chemicals may occur naturally, but they can also be manmade and most commonly indoors in products such as paints, solvents, carpets, cleaning products, and some household appliances.
Asbestos is another dangerous pollutant. While this thread-like mineral is no longer used in the manufacture of new building materials, it was widely used in nearly every aspect of construction until the 1980s and can still be found in most of these buildings. When breathed in or ingested, asbestos fibers can cause serious health problems such as lung scarring, asbestosis, and mesothelioma cancer. Mesothelioma symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, and pain in the chest, very similar to other, less fatal lung conditions, which can mean that cancer often goes undiagnosed until its later stages. Green building efforts take into account the human costs of building with certain materials – though asbestos makes for an effective source of insulation, it is severely dangerous to a structure’s occupants and uses alternative materials instead.
Buildings rely on dirty energy sources for their power and do not use energy efficiently. New and existing buildings should improve energy and water efficiency, reduce waste and pollution, rely on renewable energy, and use sustainable building materials. These strategies can reduce energy consumption in buildings by 30-80 percent! On average, green buildings use 30 percent less energy, emit 35 percent fewer emissions, conserve up to 50 percent more water and reduce waste by between 50 to 90 percent when compared to conventional buildings. By adopting green building practices, the government can:
- Reduce the environmental impact of your facilities’ ongoing operations
- Operating more efficiently using less energy, water, and materials
- Clean transportation
- High levels of onsite renewables
- Combined heat & power projects that provide resilient baseload energy
- Water recycling and reuse; energy generation technologies with minimal water requirements
- Waste reduction, reuse, and recycling
- Attract and retain people and businesses (tax base)
One simple way that green architecture produces less waste is by using renewable materials. For example plant matter and sustainable lumber, reusing traditional materials, such as recycled stone or metal. It is even possible to reuse industrial byproducts like coal combustion products, foundry sand, and demolition debris. Ecologically responsible construction can also help the occupants of the building waste fewer resources when going about their daily lives. For instance, greywater can be used as irrigation or treated and used for other non-drinkable purposes.
Moreover, green building furthers the concept of “smart growth,” an umbrella term for architecture and urban planning. The concept count into account sustainability, human health and safety, and economic expansion. It is not enough to simply substitute one building material for another. An entire change of outlook is necessary if we want to be able to sustain our quality of life, and green building is one way to start. The benefits are highly visible – mesothelioma symptoms, for example, can be prevented almost entirely by avoiding exposure to asbestos. Looking beyond individual health, the EPA estimates that buildings contribute 38.1% of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions, but this figure can be reduced through the use of environmentally responsible architecture and urban planning.