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Green Buildings Are Crucial to the Future of Sustainable Development

Shutterstock Photo License - By Moomusician



The world needs sustainability, which means that eco-friendly businesses are important. The growing climate crisis worsens with constant pollution and harmful greenhouse gasses coming from every industry. Buildings are a constant, recurring element across industries and work environments. Therefore, the next step for sustainable development is to create more green buildings.

Green buildings cover a range of sustainable needs. For the environment, public health and the economy, these innovations steer the world in the right direction. With issues like the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic co-occurring, the world needs strong progress. The way forward is clear — green buildings combine the best elements of eco-friendliness and sustainability.

Climate Change

Climate change is an all-encompassing force. Scientists have put timelines on when the world needs to take action to reverse the effects that include increased temperatures, more sporadic and unpredictable weather, habitat destruction and increasingly unlivable conditions. Buildings can help curb these effects when they become greener.

In the United States alone, buildings account for over 40% of energy consumption. This energy commonly comes from plants that burn fossil fuels for electricity. With such high levels of power consumption, buildings must radically change to have a better impact on the environment — locally and around the globe.

Luckily, renewable energy is becoming more widely available and inexpensive. For new and old buildings, using renewable sources like solar and wind energy will drastically reduce that 40% of energy consumption. With it, emissions will decrease as well. Specifically, carbon dioxide is one of the main culprits of climate change. It hurts the ozone layer and worsens air quality. All around, numerous environments and individuals see the detriments of climate change.

Another exciting source of reliable, clean energy comes from smart grids. These grids often work with solar power and use batteries to provide backup or additional energy for all residents on the grid. With these clean resources, buildings can quickly become greener.

Resource Conservation

Energy is a big topic, so it’s important to examine it on all levels for sustainable development. Climate change is a global threat that trickles down to every individual’s consumption of resources. For instance, using too much water or leaving the lights on more than necessary is wasteful. Instead, greener solutions help residential and commercial buildings reduce waste.

Smart technology like motion-detecting lights and sinks can save a significant amount of energy and money. Replacing standard incandescent light bulbs with light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs will also be a sustainable long-term investment. Both of these acts are easy to do with new builds or retrofits for older buildings.

Further, HVAC systems can make a huge difference. Insulating windows and doors is an essential first step. During construction, architects and contractors should use natural lighting to decrease reliance on electricity for lighting, heating and cooling. Then, HVAC systems can run on renewable energy and work alongside the natural elements.

However, the issues run deeper. While renewables and sustainable tech can retrofit older buildings, new structures should adhere to using more sustainable materials. For example, mixing cement gives off carbon dioxide and requires a lot of water. Sustainable alternatives to cement are now on the rise and are critical for green building initiatives.

Public Health

The harm the environment faces from building emissions and energy consumption is not the sole detriment. Public health also sees significant harm from this pollution and waste. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses hurt human health and can effectively cause premature deaths in the worst regions.

Inside the buildings, having more greenery and natural air will help people’s health. The air quality will improve and become more breathable. Making sustainable changes in the surrounding area will also help the community be healthier. Since urbanization is on the rise — and most buildings reside in cities — a focus on community health is essential.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the link between the climate crisis and public health. Pollution can make certain areas unlivable. For the people who can’t leave, their health is at risk. A Harvard study further connected higher levels of air pollution to an increased death rate from the pandemic.

Sustainability has always been a public health issue. With this renewed awareness through the pandemic, though, sustainable development is more necessary than ever. Green buildings benefit people both inside and out with the right renewable changes. Though the pandemic brought new light to the issue, these efforts and changes must continue long after this public health issue has gone away.

Job Creation and Innovation

Public health isn’t the only area the pandemic has disrupted. The economy and job outlook have taken a big hit. Unemployment soared at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 and is slowly decreasing from the 14.8% record high due to waves and spikes of COVID-19. The ripples of this disruption will likely stick around for years.

With new construction and retrofits comes new jobs and opportunities. By pushing forward with renewable energy, smart technology and green building design, the economy can open up and help reduce that large peak of unemployment.

While unemployment drops, innovation will increase. Smart cities represent the future. They provide new, technological ways to improve the community and residential life. Two key parts of smart cities are public health and sustainability. With a movement toward green buildings, cities can reach that innovative potential of becoming fully smart cities.

Singapore is a common example of a place where progress happens. It plans to make 80% of its buildings green through 2030, which will drastically reduce emissions and environmental harm. These feats speak to what’s possible for the future. Green buildings can lead the world to this point with the right funding and focus.

The Sustainable Way Forward

Sustainability is not an isolated topic. It spans from public health to the economy and back to the environment. The road ahead has several obstacles, but with the right focus on all aspects of sustainability, a better future is possible.

The times are changing. With them, new ideas come to light. Green buildings are now a core element for creating a better world. The next step is getting individuals, cities and countries to recognize the power green buildings hold.

Emily Newton is the Editor-in-Chief at Revolutionized Magazine. Revolutionized explores the latest innovations and trends in science, technology, and industry.

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