A ‘green‘ building is a building that, in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts, on our climate and natural environment. Green buildings preserve precious natural resources and improve our quality of life.
There are a number of features which can make a building ‘green’. These include:
Efficient use of energy, water and other resources
Use of renewable energy, such as solar energy
Pollution and waste reduction measures, and the enabling of re-use and recycling
Good indoor environmental air quality
Use of materials that are non-toxic, ethical and sustainable
Consideration of the environment in design, construction and operation
Consideration of the quality of life of occupants in design, construction and operation
A design that enables adaptation to a changing environment
Consider the story of George de Mestral, a Swiss inventor who went hunting one day in the late 1940s. He and his dog accidentally brushed up against a bush that left them both covered with burrs.
When de Mestral tried to remove the burrs, they clung stubbornly to his clothes. This would be a minor annoyance to most of us, but de Mestral was curious about why the burrs were so hard to remove. After he got home, he studied them under a microscope and discovered that hundreds of tiny hooks on each burr had snagged to the threads of his pants. Burrs, he thought, would make great fasteners. After several years of work, he finally succeeded. The result: Velcro fasteners, now used on millions of items, from blood pressure cuffs to tennis shoes.
Biomimetics or biomimicry is the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems.
Helicopters: The hummingbird can also hover and fly backwards. Hypodermic needles: The scorpion uses the pointed tip of its tail to inject poison. Sonar: Bats used sonar long before man. They emit sounds inaudible to the human ear that bounce off objects in their way. Anesthesia: Many snakes use venom to paralyze and desensitize their prey before eating it. Snowshoes: The caribou’s feet are designed to skim over snow. Tanks: The turtle is a virtually impregnable mobile unit. Airplanes: Planes brake with flaps just as birds brake with tailfeathers.