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Green Building Is Growing And Cutting Greenhouse Gases

green buildingsIf you imagine unusually colorful facades on city streets when you hear talk of green buildings, it's time to update your vocabulary.

Eco-friendly architectural design means using alternative materials, energy saving or, even better, energy generating roofs and renewable energy sources to reduce the environmental impact of new construction.

And it is getting to be very popular with homeowners, building owners and their architects.

Why are green buildings important?

A survey reported that only 4 percent of U.S. adults realize that buildings, yes, buildings, are the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

That fact comes from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Reducing the carbon footprint of buildings can have a major impact on global warming and our environment.

The Green Building Awareness survey was conducted online within the United States among 2,682 adults ages 18 and older. A key finding of the multi-question survey is that only 4 percent of U.S. adults were aware that buildings such as offices, educational facilities and private residences are the leading sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

In fact, according to estimates in the AIA’s Architects and Climate Change report, buildings represent 48 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, with transportation and industry representing 27 percent and 25 percent respectively.

The survey also revealed that 77 percent believe that constructing a green or highly energy-efficient building costs more than constructing a typical building, with 35 percent believing it costs a lot more. However, according to The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green Buildings, a study funded by the state of California's Sustainable Building Task Force, spending as little as about 2 percent to support green design up-front would, on average, result in lifecycle savings of 20 percent of total construction costs—an average of 10 times the initial investment.

Owners Push For Green

A major finding was that 42 percent of architects report clients asking for green building elements on a majority of their projects, with 47 percent of clients actually implementing green building elements on their projects.

Client demand remains the leading driver for green building, with 66 percent of surveyed architects citing client demand as the primary influence on their practice of green building.

Architects believe that the primary reasons their clients are asking for green buildings are reduced operating costs (60 percent), marketing (52 percent) and market demand (21 percent).

Positive Attitudes about Sustainable Practice

AIA members lead their global counterparts in the belief that architects should practice sustainable design whenever possible, with 89 percent of architects in the United States agreeing, followed by 88 percent in the United Kingdom, 73 percent in Italy and 59 percent in Japan.

However, the reasons architects are building green vary across countries. In the United States green building designs are driven by client demand (66 percent), whereas in the United Kingdom and Japan the primary factors are regulatory requirements (75 percent and 64 percent respectively) and in Italy, rising energy costs (70 percent).

Green Light for Buildings Saving Money and the Environment

The message seems to be getting out that building or remodeling with environmental friendly designs and materials is good for everyone. The greenhouse gases involved with sustainable buildings are reduced, but on a practical level, the lower costs of maintaining a green building earn smiles from even the most practical of building owners. Reducing energy and water costs can be just as fulfilling as saving the planet if your job relies on greening the bottom line.

Source... Autodesk, Inc. and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Go Green Guides


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