Green architecture is a concept of designing buildings in a manner that reduces the adverse effect of construction on the people and the environment. Green architecture includes conservation and efficient use of natural resources as also the use of indigenous and recycled material to optimizing the finances. Very simply put, it is the optimum way to get a Better Bang for the Buck. Did you ever wonder why those mud-caked, thatched roofed old houses remained so cool during summers? The answer lies in the advantageous use of local produce and the environment by the indigenous people in building those houses. Modern Green Architecture aims at identifying such indigenous practices and incorporating them into contemporary architectural designs. Optimal use of sunlight and natural wind flow pattern are an integral part of Green Architecture. Green Architectural designs use energy saving devices such as fluorescent lights and solar heaters to make them more energy efficient. Structural designs incorporate concepts such as on site energy generation of wind, biomass and water.

A holistic green designed building looks at all aspects of living like a self-sustaining ecosystem. An example of a self sustaining ecosystem could be waste water recycled for gardens as well as organic wastes generated converted into manure in on-site compost pits. Green Architecture aims to reduce the use of synthetic materials. Toxic fumes generated by aging synthetic paints are a health hazard. Formaldehyde, a component of some synthetic building insulation material is a carcinogen with known health side effects. Green Architecture reduces the use of such material so as to create healthier environment. Green initiatives require concerted national and international effort.

A US effort in setting standards for design and construction practices which have least negative impact on environment and people is exemplified by the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED). The LEED standard gives different weights to factors such as sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, material and resources and indoor environmental quality. Based on the weights, certification points are calculated which are graded as Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The highest certification level offered by LEED is Platinum. Canada, India and Israel have adapted the US LEED model for some of their Green Architecture projects. Other countries use their own standards for Green Architecture. Some of the countries adopting own standards for Green Architecture are Australia, France, Germany, Japan , Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand and UK.

The serious environmental conditions facing the world requires a sustained effort by the building industry to make a difference. Such an effort can be initiated through Green Architecture as the standard approach for all construction.

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