Can a Green Building turn brown?
Over time a certified Green Building can turn brown if it is not maintained properly. A green building is certified green as it incorporates several Green features. Such buildings usually ensure reduction in operating costs on energy and water, besides several intangible benefits such as extending the life span of natural resources, providing human comfort, safety and productivity. Some of the principles that are followed in the development of a green building are :
Minimal disturbance to landscapes and site condition
Use of Recycled and Environmental Friendly Building Materials
Use of Non-Toxic and recycled/recyclable Materials
Efficient use of Water and Water Recycling
Use of Energy Efficient and Eco-Friendly Equipment
Use of Renewable Energy
Quality of Indoor Air Quality for Human Safety and Comfort
Effective Controls and Building Management Systems
The general health and performance of a green building depends on its quality of maintenance. Anirban from iDream said that “As a building grows old, ageing, use (or misuse) and exposure to the environment can affect the health of the building significantly”. Besides this, simple practises can also lead the greenness to turn brown. Some examples of this may be:
o Change in landscaping systems
o Change in type of internal lighting systems
o Change in user and therefore change in type of equipments used which may not be eco friendly
o Discontinuing usage of renewable energy forms
o Materials used for renovation works may not conform to green standards
It is therefore very important that the building is assessed periodically to ensure it is still operating the way it did when it was certified green. Occupants and maintenance staff need to be trained, making sure they are using and maintaining the building properly. That means teaching everything from turning off the lights when they leave a room, to actually programming the programmable thermostat, to leaving the restrictor valve on the low-flow showerhead. Otherwise the performance will never be green.
iDream Advisory Services Pvt Ltd is an architectural and interior designing firm with a strong commitment to building sustainable built environments. The firm has delivered building solutions to organisations across all corners of India.