Monday, March 15, 2010

Green Building Techniques Are Redressing the Ecological Imbalance

By Kat Brunton

We all need to take steps to save our environment, as most experts agree we are potentially staring ecological disaster in the face. Any improvements we can make, whether in the home, on the road or at work, should be taken seriously. Fortunately, governments, pressure groups and corporations have all woken up to the need for greener attitudes towards sustainability and efficiency.

A new concept that is helping to reverse the damage that's been done, and provide excellent opportunities to enhance more suitable sources of energy, is green building. It involves the construction of homes, public offices and business that feature environmentally friendly processes throughout. Examples are appearing in towns and cities around the world, with many more to follow in the coming years.

In order to cut down on energy usage, green buildings usually feature high-efficiency windows, which will retain the heat, as well as insulation in the ceilings, floors and walls. Even the placement of windows may be oriented towards garnering more daylight, thereby helping to minimise the use of electric lighting, as the evenings start to draw in.

The use of solar panels will harness energy from the sun, even on a cloudy day, ensuring substantially lower use of fossil fuels. They will generate enough electricity to run appliances throughout the home, including the water-heating system. Of course, a building that produces its own power will not only be greener, it will also be substantially cheaper to run.

Wind power is also becoming a common feature of environmentally friendly buildings. Turbines can be fitted to the roof or onto a mast, and can run devices cheaply and easily. The energy can be stored in batteries, too, which can then be used later when it's not as windy. It's an exceptionally green way to generate electricity, and if there's a surplus, it can be sold back to the national grid.

Other features of green buildings will ensure greater water efficiency. Low-flush toilets, for example, save significant amounts, as do reduced-flow shower heads. Many advancements recycle water throughout the heating and lavatory systems, and reservoirs and guttering help to collect rain during downpours. The installation of a bidet also saves on toilet paper.

The provision of compost bins helps to reduce spent food, by breaking it down naturally and organically. They're perfect for aerobic decomposition, while at the same keeping the garden tidier than an old-fashioned heap. Most kitchen waste is biodegradable, and the remains provide nutrients for plant growth.

Even the resources used are environmentally efficient. Lumber grown in sustainable forests, recycled stone and metal, and locally extracted materials are all commonly found in the modern-day green building. There are several specialist companies that are on hand to advise on all aspects of the eco-friendly phenomenon - so establishing a better future is only a phone call away.

The recent emergence of green building techniques is helping to reduce the environmental damage of recent decades.

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