The invention of computer, which evolves into information technology, presents many favors for any businesses including architecture. The most obvious impact of information technology to architecture is the invention of computer aided design (CAD) software such as AutoCAD, 3D Max etc. The existence of such innovation and the integration of art into building design have created interesting development in the business. Due to the advancement of technology, the thesis for this paper is “To what extent does the existence of green house technology help the world to eliminate environmental problems?”
The birth of ‘modern style’, also known unorthodox approach, in architecture has enabled architects and structure/civil engineering to develop mega structure that never made before or to build artistic building (Jodidio, 1997).
In 20th and 21st centuries, architecture business shows the race towards presenting the tallest building in the world, showing the advancement of architecture and structure engineering. Currently, there are many buildings claim to be the tallest in planet earth including Empire State Building in New York, Petronas Tower in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Sears Tower in Chicago, Rialto Tower in Melbourne, and China Tower in Hong Kong.
In addition to the interesting race in building the tallest building in the world, another fascinating development in architecture is the development of green building technology that constructs green homes, health home, and natural homes. The three terms are often interchangeable in architecture business.
Concerning the green house issue, this paper will discuss about green house technology, its benefits and problems of green building (sustainable building) technology from architectural point of view, the green building history, reasons for its development, and range of strategies and problems that it solves.
In order to provide comprehensive discussion, at the end, there will be three examples of green/natural/healthy homes. Prior to the discussion, we will elaborate about the meaning and scope of sustainable development as the underlying factor that spawn the idea to provide green building technology.
2. Sustainable Development
2.1. Definition of Sustainable Development
By definition, sustainable development is the ability to fulfill current needs without sacrificing he next generation’s future needs. Although, there are also many other definitions about sustainability development, they share something in common that they compose of three factors: environment, economy and equity.
The situation suggests that economical development that a country or a region faces should not eliminate the society concerns over the need to have good environment. In other words, sustainable development represents the accomplishment of social and economic progress that pays attention to the preservation of environment by using natural resources in appropriate manner.
Realizing the challenges that society faces in the long term, therefore, the use of appropriate technology may provide favorable condition to spawn invention and innovation that utilize material, which complies with sustainable development concept.
Moreover, the innovation and invention in sustainable development concept goes beyond merely develop new technologies. In fact, they involve creative thinking that heads for new processes and techniques of problem solving. The situation suggests that invention and innovation can encourage business to practice sustainable development concept in many ways (‘Invention and Innovation’, 2003).
2.2. Organizations concern about Sustainable Development
Due to the need to preserve environment from destruction, many groups who concerns about environment preservation set up information center about sustainable development. For example, SustainableABC.com serves communities that have several chemical sensitivities. This is important since about 30% of population is affected by particular level of environmental sensitivity. The goal of SustainableABC.com is to help environmentally-influenced community to gather information on sustainable development through the provision of resources and education (SustainableABC.com, 2003c)..
To increase the impact of education and resources, SustainableABC.com established in 1996 in order to explore the relationship between ecology and sustainability and how communities implement these values in their daily activities. One of SustainableABC.com products is to encourage the development of environment-friendly design, lifestyle choices, and construction (SustainableABC.com, 2003c).
In order to realize the products, several people from diverse field of study work hand-in-hand to achieve it. They include builders, solar cell engineer, air quality experts, interior designs, architects, and other eco-professionals. Although they come from different field of study, they share something in common to share their experience in the implementation of sustainable development and taking care of this fragile planet and prevent it from unnecessary destruction (SustainableABC.com, 2003c).
Figure 1 Official Website of SustainableABC.com
2.3. Objectives of SustainableABC.com
In general, there are three main objectives of SustainableABC.com concerning its role in sustainable as following:
A community development to aware of eco-conscious citizens;
Becoming the mediator between communities/public and professionals/experts including environmental protection, architecture, sustainable construction (called as eco-professionals)
Providing organizations or forum that enables eco professionals to share their experience and findings in a multinational network.
3. Green Building Technology
Considering the importance of sustainable development, eco-professionals team up to develop the so-called green building technology. This is important since building is responsible for natural resources exploration. Roodman and Lenssen (1995) say that approximately buildings use about 2/5 of material and energy flow, ¼ of wood production, and 1/6 of fresh water withdrawals in the world.
Under such circumstances, green building development has opportunity to provide building that utilizes natural resources efficiently while in the same time creating healthier building that provides a better environment, enhances human health, and provide cost savings (California Integrated Waste Management Board, 2007).
3.1. Definition of Green Building Technology
By definition, green building refers to many explanations since its scope goes beyond merely about the building but covers the sustainable development issue; the definitions are:
1) Efficiency enhancement where buildings and their sites utilize natural resources like materials, water, energy
2) Reducing impacts that buildings may have on human health (due to the use of materials and shape) and on environment. The actions are carried out by better design, careful construction, operation, responsible maintenance, and the exclusion/removal. The five practices are the building life cycle
(Building Design & Construction, 2003)
Despite the fast development and implementation of green building occur within the past several decades, the idea may exist more than a century ago (Building Design & Construction, 2003).
3.2. Aliases of Green Building Technology
In addition to the definition of green building, the term has also many aliases. For example, green building is also known as sustainable building that refers to a structure that is designed, developed/built, operated, reused, and renovated by considering and taking into account ecological and resource-efficient manner (California Integrated Waste Management Board, 2007)
Moreover, the design of green buildings is to meet particular objectives including preserving environment, protecting human health, enhance employee productivity by providing nice workplace, using natural resources efficiently (water, energy, and other resources), and reducing or eliminating possible negative impact to the environment (California Integrated Waste Management Board, 2007).
3.3. Materials of Green Building Technology
From the above elaboration, it implies that green building also includes interior and also maintenance, to name a few. Therefore, the materials that include in the discussion of green building technology includes but not limited to:
Recycled Building Products
Floor – Wood
Paints, Finishes & Adhesives
Eco Materials Suppliers
Solar Cell Products
Water Treatment and Filtration
(SustainableABC.com, 2003 – product)
3.4. Benefits and Problems of Green Building (Sustainable building) technology
3.4.1. Economic Point of View
The idea of developing green building technology or sustainability building is that in the long term, the operation of building is far cheaper than traditional building although the initial costs may be higher than its traditional building counterparts. The economical benefit is calculated by analyzing associated costs during the lifetime of the building or the assets (Environmental Building News, 1999).
However, since green buildings use special materials therefore, in order to acquire the full benefits of the buildings, the construction should exactly match the project’s conceptual design since green buildings must be constructed as an integrated system instead of the combination of stand-alone systems.
3.4.2. Architectural Point of View
In addition to economic point of view, green building has also benefits from architectural point of view. The benefits mainly refer to functional benefits that the building provides to people who live in the building and the environment that receive the impact of the building existence (Environmental Building News, 1999).
The benefits of green building or sustainable building from architectural point of view are as following:
Enhancing health, comfort, and productivity
3.4.3. Challenges of Green Building Benefits
However, the construction of green building has also consequence since the intangible benefits rarely considered in costs analysis calculation. Therefore, there should be methods that consider the intangible benefits of green building so that owners or developers may consider the construction of green building as feasible business (Environmental Building News, 1999).
3.5. History of Green Building
The history of green building technology can be separated into three period: past, present, and future.
§ Home builders/developers commence the construction of resource-efficient building in the early 1970s.
§ The term “green building” is used since the late 1980s or at the beginning of 1990s
§ Officially, the first green home building is constructed in Austin, Texas I 1991
§ The largest home building exists in Colorado that has more than 100 builder members in the state.
(City of Mission Viejo, n.d.)
§ Today’s green buildings is twice energy efficient that those in the past 30 years ago, due to the invention of green building technology.
§ In the U.S. alone, there are about 61,000 green homes within 1990-2004.
§ Today green building complies with following techniques and technologies
o Low operating costs
o Reduced maintenance costs
o Enhanced home value
o Improved environmental impacts
(City of Mission Viejo, n.d.)
§ Green building creates trends as people increase their concerns towards using energy efficiently. The green building program has been 30-year old to date and will continue spawning new invention and innovation (City of Mission Viejo, n.d.).
3.6. Reasons for its Development.
The main reasons to develop green building technology are quite simple. It origins from the need to prevent environment destruction and to use energy efficiently. The condition is easier today’s, thanks to the invention of computer modeling that is useful tool in architecture and structure business that enables the optimization design of building including electrical and mechanical systems (California Integrated Waste Management Board, 2007).
3.7. Range of Strategies and Problems
There is one main issue that green building attempts to solve. The first issue is health and safety. This is considerably important issue since a study reveals that building that designed in compliance with green building requirement can reduce the rate of respiratory disease. For this case, in green building technology, there is suggestion to select building materials that produce low or even zero emission, which in turn improve air quality (California Integrated Waste Management Board, 2007).
3.8. Three specific examples – problems and benefits.
As mentioned above, until 2004, there are more than 60,000 green home buildings. Three of them are as following:
3.8.1. Example #1.
Figure 1 Green Building #1
§ 4900 sq ft, 3 story-home
§ Use solar voltaic panel, a wind turbine to supply the electric power. It also uses propane to heaters and hot water system
3.8.2. Example #1.
Figure 2 Green Building #2
Using non-toxic materials like maple hardwood floors etc
The interior is covered and sealed with a foilbacked vapor barrier.
Use no VOC interior paint etc
3.8.3. Example #3
Figure 2 Green Building #2
§ 3,650 sq ft
§ Have large trees and lush grasses that grow well in such sunny gardens
§ Using materials that prevent off gassing
§ Designed to easy conversion to solar
3.9. Personal appeal from a viewpoint of architectural student
As an architectural student, the construction of green building is interesting since it uses non-toxic/environmentally safe materials so that it helps the ecosystem preservation. In addition, since the major issues are about energy uses, I find that the development of green building has complied with the efficient use of energy for heating purposes and others.
Therefore, the continual invention and innovation in green building technology has helped home builders to realize the implementation of green home or sustainable home in large numbers.
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—. (2003).Products Directory: Green Building Materials & Healthy Building Materials. Retrieved June 12, 2007 from http://www.sustainableabc.com/products.html
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