Sustainability Is Not Green Essay

1601 words - 7 pages

What is sustainability? In contemporary design, sustainability is a furious warrior under a green coat. People usually attribute sustainability with the color “green,” essence of nature or love and care for mother earth. In the context of construction, this means placing plants in buildings, installing green roofs and use local construction materials. Sustainability is much more than a green coat concept draped over buildings. Sustainability is strong, a courageous idea that would change the future.
To sustain is to withstand and endure without “giving away.” A sustainable civilization should not empty natural resources and endanger the environment. To sustain is “…to meet the needs of the ...view middle of the document...

USGBC promote environmentally friendly green design through Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system, often known as LEED certified building. LEED certification is based on the owner’s ability to demonstrate that the building is environmentally friendly and meets requirements set forward by the LEED rating system. But are all LEED certified buildings environmentally friendly?
According to The New York Times’ report “some buildings not living up to the green label,” only 47 percent of all LEED certified building in year 2006 qualify for Energy Star label. LEED certified buildings would often build up points in areas like native landscaping and public shower rather than structural energy saving features. Is the LEED certification reliable or did designers and owners discovered new ways around the rating system? LEED certified buildings can obtain extra tax credits, attract tenants, charge premium rents and project an image of environmental responsibility. But are these features just green coatings to unstainable skeletons? The Federal Building in downtown Youngstown, Ohio, integrated extensive usage of natural lighting to illuminate interior spaces and a white roof to reflect heat, features often associated with “green” buildings. This building was LEED certified, but did not qualify for the Energy Star label. This building over consumed on utility bills and can hardly be considered energy efficient. To sustain is to uphold the value of an object as true, legal and just. How can a LEED certified energy hog be considered sustainable?
Aside from energy efficiency of the building, material and permanently installed equipment (HVAC, Heating/ Cooling units, Drainage system etc.) play major roles in building’s sustainability, and the “green” title. By laying out the specifications for design projects, the architects have passed the responsibility of sustainable construction to contractors and subcontractors. The archive sustainable construction, contractors and subcontractors must understand materials and material specifications as well as the properties of equipment being used during construction (material transportation, heavy machinery, site storage etc.).
The life cycle of a building is a key factor on indicating the sustainability of a building. Starting with extraction and harvesting of raw materials to usage, recycling and finally disposal. By understand the characteristic of materials’ life cycle allows for efficient use of material and reduced waste.
Topical life cycle of a building starts with the extraction or harvesting of raw materials, but the construction industry is not limited to these processes. There are alternative methods to materials that architects and designers should consider and explore in detail. Products such as stone or wood are primarily materials in construction. Method of extraction requires workers to separate stone from earth. Stone are materials that cannot replenish over time and can cause major...

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