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Green buildings (from homes to villas) come in all shapes and sizes, but ultimately they are the result of a conscious effort to reduce impacts on the environment and human health. If you always thought that a green building was just a home with lots of plants around it, then this article is for you.
A key consideration in building green is taking advantage of renewable resources, e.g., using sunlight through passive solar, using plants and trees and reducing rainwater run-off.
A more ambitious approach involves taking a life cycle approach to the project, whereby you consider the impact of all building materials, the building process, siting, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. So what should a green building do?
Efficiently use energy, water and other resources
To increase the efficiency of the building (e.g. make sure air-conditioned spaces are well insulated), the building may rely on high-efficiency windows and insulation in walls, ceilings, and floors.
Another consideration involves orienting windows and walls and place trees to shade windows and roofs. By placing windows in a careful way, you can maximize natural light entering while reducing the need for electric lighting.
Taking a step further, solar panels and hydro power (realistic options in many places in Bali) can significantly reduce the environmental impact of the building.
Use water efficiently
In water stressed areas (increasingly the case in several areas in Bali), buildings need to increase their dependence on water that is collected, used, purified and reused on-site. You can reduce waste water by utilizing water conserving fixtures such as ultra-low flush toilets and low-flow shower heads. Even better, gray water (e.g. from sink or shower) for irrigation will minimize demands on the local water supplies.
In addition to quickly renewable plant material (e.g. bamboo), recycled industrial goods, such as coal combustion products, foundry sand and demolition debris in construction projects can be used. It is recommended to use local building materials to minimize the energy embedded in their transportation.
Indoor environmental quality enhancement
Reducing volatile organic compounds and other air impurities, such as microbial contaminants can be achieved using a properly designed HVAC system to provide adequate ventilation and air filtration as well as isolate operations.