Climate change and global warming are social issues that negatively impact society and need to be addressed by governments and communities. The problems can be addressed through minimized use of plastics, cars, and other activities that lead to the combustion of fossil fuel. A strategy of accommodating self-sustainable buildings is one of the approaches that is being adopted in managing urban cities of many countries. According to the data released by the United Nations, in the year 2050, about sixty eighty percent of the world population will be living in the cities. The statistics would show that seventy-eight percent of energy would be consumed, and sixty percent of greenhouse gas emissions would be produced, increasing air pollution and global warming (Oduyemi & Okoroh, 2016). For this reason, this agent improved its New Urban Agenda as a project management agenda to advise nations on the urbanization processes. The governments were instructed to make these cities inclusive, habitable, resilient, healthy, and sustainable. Through this project management plan, many cities have accommodated self-sustainable buildings to address the climatic change issue. Therefore, the paper will discuss the topic of self-sustainable based on the elements, some examples of these buildings in the world, and the benefits.
Characteristics of Self-Sustainable Buildings
Self-sufficient homes are also known as autonomous homes and are the ones that are designed in ultimate green living dwellings. These are buildings whose construction features improve the quality of the environment of the place they are located. They are homes designed to highly depend on themselves for cooling, electric heating, and many others. Each of these homes is designed differently based on the location, climatic condition, and the needs of the owner. These buildings are said to pave the way for efficient and sustainable planning for the urban areas in the United States. These buildings minimize water and energy consumption, and the governments are utilizing them to develop urban areas and seek to combat the negative effects of global climate change. Therefore, it is important to achieve this efficiency, reduce water and other resources that minimize pollution, and reduce energy consumption (Oduyemi & Okoroh, 2016). The body used in the United States to establish whether a building can be considered self-sustainable is the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design. This is a government body that is widely used to establish p[practices and strategies that the community members can use to construct self-sustainable buildings. The following are some of the characteristics of greenhouses, and one of them is sustainable sites. Sustainable sites mean that these buildings can protect and maintain the natural habitat of the community. Also, these buildings are designed to reduce pollution and utilize natural resources, and they are able to facilitate interaction with nature. The second element is that they use water efficiently since they minimize the use of water during construction. They can also reduce the building’s water footprint, ensuring that little water has been used. Based on location and transport, these buildings are not constructed in environment-sensitive areas, therefore, providing public transport resulting in reduced use of private cars. Reductions in private car use play a significant role in reducing air pollution and preventing climatic changes in the United States (Oduyemi & Okoroh, 2016). These buildings use renewable energy, reduce energy consumption, and increase energy use efficiency based on energy and the atmosphere. Materials and resources used to construct these buildings accommodate recycling systems, save resources during construction and use sustainable materials. The other factor of these constructions is that they have indoor environmental quality. The quality of space of these houses and the occupants has clean air, thermal control, and reduced noise pollution. Other elements include designed innovation and regional priority in which innovative sustainability approaches are accommodated during construction. These buildings promote social equity, environment, and public health in their locations based on regional priority.
Sustainable Buildings in the World
One of the buildings is in the United States that was heralded in 2013 as one of the sustainable and greenest buildings. The Bullit Center in Seattle, USA, a six-story building, has been recognized as a self-sustainable building globally. This building was a concept conceived by the Foundation president Dennis Hayes, and it was designed to have a lifespan of two hundred and fifty years. The other building is the Iberdrola Tower, Bilbao, Spain. This building was designed by Cesar Pelli and had the characteristics of representing zero miles of renewable energy. It is the benchmark of sustainable design and efficiency of energy use. Constructing this building was to create value for the environment, the employees, and the customers. It is a working environment that promotes knowledge on organizational learning, is environmentally friendly, and encourages teamwork (Iberdrola, 2021). These are factors that help in the increment of production hence the promotion of economic growth. The California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, USA, is the other self-sustainable building constructed in 2008. It is a natural history museum and a research institute that Renzo Piano-designed. This building can recycle water, make natural lighting, and has green roofing containing California plants. These characteristics prove that the buildings are self-sustainable and help conserve the environment in the United States. Since the building has natural lighting, it reduces lighting that may cause carbon emissions to the atmosphere. The green roofing helps to clean the environment hence the promotion of the habitat of the individuals. The green roofing reduces noise pollution that is created by other construction materials like iron sheets. The other building that has been approved is the World Trade Center, Manama, Bahrain. This is a two- two hundred and forty high twin tower built in the City of Manama. It is said to be the first building to accommodate wind turbines in the world through its design and fifteen percent energy consumption (Iberdrola, 2021). In the city of Australia, there is the Pixel Building, Melbourne, Australia, which is the first office building that is carbon neutral. The office has a green roof and has installed solar panels that produce their energy and store the water needed. The building is designed with a multicolored façade that provides natural lighting and improves ventilation, minimizing energy consumption. These characteristics enhance the habitat and also help in conserving the environment. Parkroyal Collection, Singapore, Singapore, is a luxury hotel with fifteen thousand square meters of garden terraces that delight visitors. These gardens are designed to be self-sufficient through the consumption of minimal energy. Solar cells, motion sensors, and rainwater collection for recycling promote environmental conservation in the area. The picture of the building shows that it is surrounded by green plants hence helping in improving the environment. Finally, the other structure is the Reforma Tower, Mexico City, Mexico. This building is located in the Mexican Capital and is two hundred and forty-six meters high (Iberdrola, 2021). The building utilizes wind and solar energy hence reducing consumption and promoting environmental conservation. The water used in the construction is recycled and used to generate electricity, and hence it is self-sustainable. The air conditioning system applied in the building uses an artificial intelligence controller through sensors distributed in the building to optimize energy use.
Ways to make buildings green
One of the ways to promote self-sustainable buildings is taking an intelligent approach to energy in the following manner. Minimizing the use of energy in the life cycle of the building through renovations that are less expensive and comfortable is significant. Integration of low carbon and renewable technologies can be used to supply the needs of the buildings during the design. Safeguarding water resources is the way of promoting green building in the nation. The community and companies can explore ways to improve wastewater efficiency and harvest water for safe indoor use. These innovative ways have contributed to ensuring that water resources have been protected. Also, there should be considerations on the drainage infrastructure, storm water infrastructure that surrounds these self-sufficient buildings. The other way is through minimizing waste and maximizing the reuse of resources. There should be innovative ways that ensure the use of fewer durable materials that reduce waste (World Green Building Council, n.d). The community should engage in the reuse and recycling of resources. Promoting health and well-being is another way of ensuring green building in the community. This promotion can be achieved through the delivery of good indoor air quality through ventilation and avoidance of chemicals and materials that emit toxic emissions. Incorporation of natural light is a way of promoting sustainable building in which the comfort of the occupants is promoted. Based on health promotion, there is a way to design acoustics and proper sound insulation that help in a peaceful educational and health facilities environment. Right indoor temperature can be promoted through appropriate management, building, and monitoring systems. The management of the companies also promotes a self-sustainable climate by keeping the environment clean. In this perspective, even the surrounding community needs to recognize that the urban environment should preserve nature. This plan ensures that land quality and diverse wildlife are highly protected, and this can be achieved through creating new green spaces. The fresh green spaces can be created by planting more trees, and the community should be mobilized to ensure that quality spaces are created. The management should also look for more innovative ways to make the urban areas more productive by bringing agriculture to the cities. The community should be educated to reduce the perspective that agriculture is for the rural areas. The creation of resilience and flexible culture is another way of making buildings green. As mentioned, climate change has become inevitable in the world, resulting in fires, earthquakes, and flooding. Proper management should be considered to ensure that the buildings can adapt to these climatic changes (World Green Building Council, n.d). There should be a proper design that is flexible and dynamic to anticipate the changes and avoid demolition or rebuilding. Another approach is connecting with the people and the communities by creating diverse environments to connect with the communities. Engaging the communities in planning accommodates ideas that can be used to improve the social and economic aspects. The green buildings should be built to ensure distance amenities that encourage environmentally friendly options like cycling and walking. There should be explorations of potential information communication technologies that communicate plans to create a better environment. Finally, all stages of the building life cycle should be considered. In this perspective, designing, construction, operation, and maintenance of a building should have lower environmental impacts on the community. The resources such as water and energy used for transport and production of the materials are minimized, hence reducing the impacts, and as a result, green building is promoted.
Benefits of Green Building
The benefits of eco-friendly construction will be discussed in the following eight advantages. The construction uses processes and materials that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient. Green buildings have increased in popularity to reduce the rates of global warming in the world. One of the benefits of the self-sustainable building is low operation cost and low maintenance. As mentioned earlier, green buildings incorporate unique construction features to ensure the efficient use of water and energy resources. An example is the use of the task lighting approach, and daylight immensely reduces the amount of power used by the lighting systems. These systems help in saving water and energy bills since maintenance costs can account for eighty percent. Reduction of these energy and water costs contributes to the increment of earnings since the buildings are business-oriented (Shafique et al., 2018). The construction of these green buildings may be expensive, but in the long term, maintenance is cheaper.
The other benefit of self-sustainable buildings is that it has enhanced health due to eco-friendly life. Studies show that individuals in these green structures experience significant health benefits because of the materials used. These green buildings avoid the use of building materials that consist of volatile organic compounds. These building materials release carcinogens and toxic fumes into the atmosphere, resulting in chronic illnesses such as respiratory illnesses, allergies, and cancer cases. The sickness results in the loss of individual and government resources to cater to health needs. The economy of the country is therefore improved when diseases are avoided through self-sustainable buildings.
Energy efficiency is the other advantage of self-sustainable buildings. Many designers of green buildings try their best to reduce the rate of dependency on energy from non-renewable sources. In most buildings, they install solar panels that utilize the energy from the sun. Also, the windows are designed so that natural light is allowed into the building, reducing artificial light use. The strategies ensure efficient use of energy in these buildings (Bredenoord, 2016). Energy efficiency does not benefit the companies and individuals only but the entire world, protected from global warming. Enhancement of indoor environment quality is the other benefit related to self-sustainable building. The quality depends on the indoor conditions and how the occupants are influenced. The conditions include air quality, thermal conditions, and ergonomics. Designers have made massive progress in developing quality architecture to positively affect the occupants. Designers reduce the use of material that emits dangerous elements into the atmosphere through operable windows. The designs have greatly affected the occupants of green buildings through improved health, quality of life, and reduced stress levels.
Water efficiency is important, and it is another benefit achieved through self-sustainable building. It involves saving water being used today and conserving it for the future generation. Green building is significant in allowing alternative water sources such as reduced water waste and use of rainwater. The plumbing systems in these buildings are efficient in water purification and recycling, hence saving water resources. Green building also reduces the strain on this resource which is a scarce resource that causes anxiety.
Material efficiency has an advantage based on the materials utilized in self-sustainable structures (Bredenoord, 2016). The use of materials and physical processes in the building is minimized without compromise of the outcomes. Material efficiency is acquired through reusable, long-lasting, and recycled materials, allowing few materials to be used. In this perspective, material efficiency means that less energy, water, and other resources are used in construction. Designers achieve this through the reduction of waste, protecting the air supply, and preserving natural resources.
Protecting the ecosystem and promoting a better environment is the key aspect of self-sustainable building. As mentioned, the United Nations suggested using a self-sustainable approach to protect the environment and reduce the negative impacts of global warming. The issue of globalization has brought concern due to the depletion of significant resources and increased pollution that has polluted the environment. This sustainable architecture plays a role in benefiting the planet through reduced reliance on non-renewable sources such as coal. Green architecture ensures the promotion and maintenance of a clean environment (Bredenoord, 2016). A clean environment then helps reduce health issues related to global warming, and this promotes the economic growth of the countries.
Finally, the durability of green buildings has been witnessed, and companies are considering them because of their lifespan. There is proof that the green materials used in roofing and recycled decking endure for many years and require less maintenance. The durability is also improved because many of them lack chemical treatments, and they are healthier for the habitat’s environment.
Role of Government and Community in Self-Sustainable
The government is a critical body with an essential role in the promotion of self-sustainability. The role of the government is based on the policies, programs, and strategies that are utilized to promote self-sustainability. One of the ways is through the government investing in the programs that help in reduction use of resources such as energy and water through the building. For instance, there can be educational programs that educate the community on the need to promote green building. Involving the community is significant since they educate each other and become ambassadors of environmental conservation. Another role of the government is to invest in and promote innovations that support recycling and reusing waste products. Waste management practices can be promoted that help reduce waste and, hence, protect the environment (Kang et al., 2016). Support of the government is important in ensuring that the self-sustainable buildings increase to help in the reduction of the effects of global warming. The community also has a role to play for the country and for the world. Some of the actions of the community include volunteering in earth-friendly activities like planting trees. Also, a community member can volunteer in the education process to educate other members on the importance of sustainable building. For example, on the issue of waste management, the community can educate each other and get involved in reusing and recycling hence promoting self-sustainable building. The community can ensure that pollution levels have been reduced to protect natural systems. The use of natural resources like energy, water, and others efficiently is the role of the community, and the approach protects the resources.
In conclusion, the paper has discussed the meaning of self-sustainable building as the application of reusable and renewable resources in building, hence reducing energy consumption. A number of self-sustainable buildings have been mentioned, and some of the materials used in their construction process. The benefits of self-sustainable building such as material use efficiency, energy use efficiency, health promotion, and others have been mentioned. The role of the government and the society in ensuring the self-sustainable building has been mentioned. According to the essay, global warming can be prevented through self-sustainable building. Therefore it becomes the role of the government, the policymakers, and the community to work as a team in this process. It can be used as a strategy for health promotion in maintaining a healthy community. In every country, a healthy community has a significant impact on the country’s economy, and therefore the government should consider investing in the self-sustainable building. Also, the improved climatic change reduces health impacts due to global warming; hence ensuring that the government saves resources used in healthcare and, therefore, improves economic Status. Currently, the world is suffering from climatic change. The government of the United States should be part of a self-sustainable building project to manage the adverse impacts of climate change.
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