By: Green Architecture Advocacy Philippines
What is Green Architecture?
Environmental awareness and green architecture are the catch that suddenly seems to have flooded the media. It has become fashionable to be “green.” Through green architecture it would help us in taking good care of our planet.
Green architecture is designing with nature. It is essential component of sustainable design, applying the techniques of sustainable design to architecture that are concerned with the ecological and aesthetic harmony between structure and its surrounding’s natural and built environment. It is a practice of creating a structure that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout its life-cycle. The buildings or houses are designed to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment through efficiently using energy, water and other resources. It protects people’s health by reducing waste, pollution and environment degradation. It focuses on sustainable site development, improvement of indoor air quality, water management, energy management, solid waste management, green materials and preservation of cultural contexts.
Green architecture involves a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in human and environmental health. This involve sustainable site selection and development, energy efficiency, water conservation, clean air, use of low-impact materials, renewable resource, and preserving indoor air quality.
Why Support Green Architecture?
Because of the urbanizations in Asia, Asian countries are increasingly looking towards Green Architecture in local conditions to preserve their resources and environments. Among these countries include Singapore, Hong Kong, China and India are practicing sustainable structures. Example of LEED approved structure in Asia is Eaton in China. Because of 31% of furniture is reused, 34% reduction in water use, 70% percent of wood is forest stewardship council certified, 76% regional material used, 88% demolition debris recycled, 90% of seats have daylight and views and 100% carpet is recyclable, it gained LEED gold certification.
Green Architecture is not new. In Philippine setting, people has been using it through bahay kubo andbahay na bato. Phase V building in Baguio was the first LEED-certified building in the country. It earned silver certification because of its several features that enables it to operate more efficiently and with less environmental impact when compared to similar manufacturing facilities. It is oriented with respect to the sun path to minimize unwanted heat gain and maximize natural day lighting. The building is well insulated with a reflective roof to further reduce heat gain. The efficiency measures resulted in a 24 percent reduction in energy use. Extensive water reuse and recycling resulted in a 70 percent reduction in water consumption. More than 85 percent of the employees at the site ride in local or TI provided mass transportation to the facility. Another LEED approved is Clark Freeport. It earned gold certification for more than 20% of the materials in the building were made from recycled content, 40% of all construction materials were locally produced, 96% of the construction waste was diverted from landfill through reuse or recycling. More than 70 percent of the site has been preserved or restored with native plantings to minimize runoff and reduce landscape maintenance.
We need to change the way we build because buildings are 47% responsible for the CO2 emission across the 25 nations of European union and climate change is 90% certain due to human activity, mainly through burning of fossil fuel (for energy). Green architecture is a simplified lifestyle. Changing the actions of the people is one way of saving the planet and that includes the structures that people use. Building green structures is one way of protecting the environment. Sustainable design is meeting the needs of the present generation without impairing the ability of future generations to meet their needs. It is a way of saving the future.
Photos by: Angelie Ungriano