What Is Green Architecture, advantage/disadvantage, governing boards

Green architecture, or green design, is an approach to building that minimizes harmful effects on human health and the environment. The “green” architect or designer attempts to safeguard air, water, and earth by choosing eco-friendly building materials and construction practices.

Green architecture may have many of these characteristics:

  • Ventilation systems designed for efficient heating and cooling
  • Energy-efficient lighting and appliances
  • Water-saving plumbing fixtures
  • Landscapes planned to maximize passive solar energy
  • Minimal harm to the natural habitat
  • Alternate power sources such as solar poweror wind power
  • Non-synthetic, non-toxic materials
  • Locally-obtained woods and stone
  • Responsibly-harvested woods
  • Adaptive reuse of older buildings
  • Use of recycled architectural salvage
  • Efficient use of space

Advantages and Disadvantages of Green Building

Advantages of Green Building:

• Cost

Very often green building is considered to be expensive as usually all kind of modern building methods. However it saves much more money from the moment of creating during its lifetime as ordinary buildings. It works with any kind of green structures – office buildings, schools, churches, factories and others type of buildings. Designing and building green structures cost approximately the same as regular buildings. Even if they are higher in cost a little bit, because of some special requirements, during their usage they save so much energy that the money spent on its creation will return at least 10 times. The Californian Sustainable Building Task Force carried out a study in 2003. According to this study even 20% of investment into green building will elaborate 10 times more saving. So there is no significant difference in prices. A green building can be expensive as much as a conventional building.

• Energy efficiency

Green building has a great advantage of reducing both embodied and operating energy consumption. Studies proved that those buildings which are built with wood will have a lower embodied energy than buildings made of brick, steel or other materials. What about operating energy? Designers try to find solutions to reduce it too. They use extra-insulation, high-performance windows, and passive solar design. The latter is very efficient especially if the windows are effectively placed. Also other ways of renewable energy are used too. Wind power and hydro power can also notably reduce the influence on environment.

• Water efficiency

Water consumption is another objective in sustainable building. Water can be wasted by drip irrigation, leaking (toilet leaking can waste up to 90 gallons per day), pool showers. Recycling rainwater and using it for toilet flushing can save waste-water. Water saving shower heads, ultra-low flush toilets and other conserving fixtures can minimize waste-water.

• Material efficiency

Green buildings are built from green, rapidly renewable, non-toxic, reusable and recyclable materials as lumber, bamboo, straw, recycled metal/stone, sheep wool, compressed earth block, concrete, cork etc.

• Temperature Regulation

Urban heat islands are elevated temperatures mostly in urban areas, formed mostly on surfaces where permeable and moist became impermeable and dry due to some buildings, roads etc. Urban heat island effect is caused mostly by the heat holding properties of tall buildings and urban (often toxic) materials – asphalt, concrete. It can be compensated by more green areas around the buildings such as green roofs and rain gardens.

• Indoor air quality

When constructing green buildings great emphases are put on the ventilation system. It can be powered in different ways – passively, naturally or mechanically. It doesn’t matter in which it is powered, the most important thing that a building should have a properly designed ventilation system in order to have a filtered andcleanerair. During construction low or zero emission materials are used. Most materials used for ordinary buildings are toxic, some of them radiate gases or include volatile organic compounds. It has a bad influence on occupant’s health and productivity. According to the data of the US Environmental Protection Agency indoor air pollution can be 2-5 times worse than outdoor air quality. It can cause early asthma and other respiratory disease. It is provoked by radon gas that’s found in conventional buildings. Another considerable feature of air quality is the control of dampness. If ventilation from bathrooms, kitchen and other isolated rooms is bad, it can lead to mold growth, dust mites or to the emergence of other bacteria. To avoid this problem effective ventilation system is not always enough; well-insulated building envelop is also needed.

• Indoor environment quality

Except poor air quality other circumstances like poor lightening, temperature variances, furniture, carpeting, pesticides, paints and high concentration of pollutants are causing different diseases – headaches, dermatological problems, allergies etc. The environmentally friendly circumstances of green building create healthier atmosphere.

• Maintenance

Green buildings need less maintenance. For example most green buildings don’t require exterior painting so often. Also as far as natural sources were used during its construction, they are not destroyed so quickly.

• Improved Employee Attendance and Productivity

Natural lightening, good ventilation, healthy circumstances all influence the health of green structures’ occupants. People are becoming less sick, they are more productive and their impact on work is more high and effective. A study made in Seattle among 31 green buildings showed that in LEED-certified buildings the absence of employee was decreased into 40 percent. Another research showed 30 percent less sick days plus a 10 percent growth income per employee. This way green office is more attractive and retaining for employees.

• Higher Property Value

Green buildings have low energy cost. Their use of gas, water, energy is highly reduced. A building can keep a high sale value if it contains sustainable components.

A green building can be easily tuned into a net zero building. A net zero building or zero energy home is an active house. Instead of spending money on it, you can earn money with it. These buildings have almost zero consumption. Moreover they can create more energy than they need, they can supply energy(electricity) back into the electrical grid.

• Tax benefits

Tax provisions are initiated to improve energy efficient green buildings.It is supported on local, state and federal level. In the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, PL 110-185 (ESA), the Housing Assistance Tax Act of 2008, PL 110-289 (HATA), the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, PL 110-343 (EESA), and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, PL 111-5 (ARRA) you can find what kind of estate they are included.

• Improved Retail Sales

A survey in the state of California proved that if stores are lighted with skylights/natural light, the personage of sale is increased into 40%. The conclusion is that retailers using daylight can reduce their electrical costs.

Disadvantages of Green building:

• Air-cooling features

Particular cooling components that control precisely the indoor temperature in green buildings don’t exist. The only thing that influences it is natural ventilation, which cannot be regulated.

• Location

To amend sun exposure, green building may need a correct structural orientation. It influences how natural light enters the building, how to shade some part of it. As far as the building will contain recycled resources the location of the building is affected by the land’s humidity, the circumstance of the surrounding area.

• Availability of materials

In urban areas materials can be found easily than in rural areas. Green buildings require special materials. A lot of eco-friendly materials re not available in the US, so sometimes these materials are hard to find and transportation fees may be high. If you order them from the internet you should pay additional cost for shipping and handling.

• Time

To build a green building in some cases takes more time than an ordinary one. Sometimes it takes too much time to find the needed material.The client can delay the construction.

• Green roofs

Green roofs consist of several layers plus a vegetation layer, culture medium, drainage, isolation, waterproofing membrane, and roof support. Green roofs are heavier than simple once, so the roof’s strength should be improved in order to construct this type of roof correctly.

• Cost

Many believe that the cost of green building is cost-prohibitive. You need to invest a lot of money. However later with energy saving possibilities the invested money may come back.

• Low indoor quality

Green buildings are eco-friendly and healthy, but too much emphases are put on sealing them. This isolation may cause indoor pollution. It can be harmful to the health of the occupants. Damage to health can also cause fluorescent lights. Their radiation in isolated places can lead to health problems.


Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment(GRIHA)

GRIHA Council, is mandated to promote development of buildings and habitats in India through GRIHA. GRIHA Council an independent platform for the interaction on scientific and administrative issues related to sustainable habitats in the Indian subcontinent. It was founded by TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi) with support from MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India) along with a handful of experts in the sustainability of built environment from across the country.


All activities related to issuance of GRIHA Rating are carried out by GRIHA Council.

  • TERI-GRIHA framework was initially developed by TERI for new commercial, institutional and residential buildings. The rating was further modified when it was adopted by MNRE as GRIHA. Over 330 projects across India of varying scale and function are being built based on GRIHA guidelines. The Centre for Environmental Sciences and Engineering, IIT Kanpur (2009) and Suzlon ‘One Earth’ Office Complex (2010), Pune have been certified at GRIHA 5 Stars. Furthermore, ITC Grand Chola and several projects of Infosys are 5 Star GRIHA rated.
  • With rising costs of fuel and energy and increasing awareness of connections between climate change and our life-styles there is a growing interest in the small residential development sector to adopt green measures. An easy to use and expedient way of designing green residences, resorts, motels and small offices is underway. With a Simple, Affordable and Versatile approach to green rating for small residences, SVA-GRIHA would be web enabled by giving universal access to information and guidelines on green buildings. This shall be made available by mid 2011.
  • There are also a number of educational campuses and mixed use township developments seeking GRIHA certification for the projects. GRIHA Council has launched GRIHA LD (Large Developments) for design and evaluation tool for large developments including campuses, townships, SEZs etc.
  • Promoting Energy Efficiency within the existing building stock especially in urban areas offers the most cost-effective means of reducing peak demand, growth in electricity demand and carbon emissions associated with the production of electricity. Water supply and wastewater treatment are increasingly becoming critical issues in urban areas. Waste generation and management also count amongst the key Urban Sustainability Issues. GRIHA Council shall eventually develop a rating system for retrofitting existing buildings.

Indian Green Building Council(IGBC)

The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), part of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) was formed in the year 2001. The vision of the council is, “To enable a sustainable built environment for all and facilitate India to be one of the global leaders in the sustainable built environment by 2025”.


The council offers a wide array of services which include developing new green building rating programmes, certification services and green building training programmes. The council also organises Green Building Congress, its annual flagship event on green buildings.


The council is committee-based, member-driven and consensus-focused. All the stakeholders of construction industry comprising of architects, developers, product manufacturers, corporate, Government, academia and nodal agencies participate in the council activities through local chapters. The council also closely works with several State Governments, Central Government, World Green Building Council, bilateral multi-lateral agencies in promoting green building concepts in the country.


The World Green Building Council:

The World Green Building Council is a network of national green building councils in more than one hundred countries, making it the world’s largest international organisation influencing the green building marketplace.

The WorldGBC’s mission is to strengthen green building councils in member countries by championing their leadership and connecting them to a network of knowledge, inspiration and practical support.

Green building councils are member-based organisations that empower industry leaders to effect the transformation of the local building industry toward sustainability.  With one hundred thousand buildings and almost one billion square metres of green building space registered, the influence and impact of this global network is a significant force for social and environmental change.


2 Replies to “What Is Green Architecture, advantage/disadvantage, governing boards”

  1. Green buildings are a great way to make the structures look beautiful as well as eco-friendly. Taking care of human needs and planet sustainability. In a country like India where not everyone can afford green buildings yet so many want to go green, we came up with a simple solution called bamboo structures completely affordable, eco-friendly, well suited for all conditions and good enough to last you a century. This article pretty much explains everything else, nice work putting it together 😉


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