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Peninsula Re-Siding Curb Appeal: Green design

Posted by Eva Daly

May 30, 2014


Peninsula Re-Siding Curb Appeal green designGreen design? Natural Building? SustainableConstruction? No matter what you call it, it's all yes!  Peninsula Siding Company's topic to share this week is on sustainable design, building and construction. 

Sustain This?! Lets' define sustainable building and or construction -  shall we?  This is also referred to as green construction,green building or natural building.  This terminology commonly refers to a structure, using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle: from siting to design, construction  and home siding, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. This requires close cooperation of the design team, the architects, the engineers, and the client at ALL project stages. This practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort. 

What a concept? The concept of sustainability, in modern terms, can be traced to the energy (especially fossil oil) crisis and environmental pollution concerns of the 1960s and 1970s. The Rachel Carson book, "Silent Spring", published in 1962, is considered to be one of the first initial efforts to describe sustainable development as related to sustainable or green building. The green building movement in the U.S. originated from the need and desire for more energy efficient and environmentally friendly construction practices. There are a number of motives for building green, including environmental, economic, and social benefits. However, modern sustainability initiatives call for an integrated and synergistic design to both new construction and in remodeling of existing structures. Also known as sustainable design, this approach integrates the building life-cycle with each green practice employed with a design-purpose to create a synergy among the practices used.

What are the goals of sustainable or green construction?  Sustainable construction aims at reducing the environmental impact of a building over its entire lifetime (also referred to here as "life-cycle"), while optimizing its economic viability and the comfort and safety of its occupants.

Reducing Waste, Pollution and Environmental impact 

  • Green building practices aim to reduce the environmental impact of building. The first rule is that the greenest building is the building that doesn't get built. Since construction almost always degrades a building site, not building at all is preferable to green building, in terms of reducing environmental impact. The second rule is that every building should be as small as possible. The third rule is not to contribute to sprawl, even if the most energy-efficient, environmentally sound methods are used in design and construction. Urban infill sites are preferable to suburban "greenfield" sites.

  • Buildings account for a large amount of land. According to the National Resources Inventory approximately 107 million acres (430,000 km) of land in the United States are developed. The International Energy Agency released a publication that estimated that existing buildings are responsible for more than 40% of the world’s total primary energy consumption and for 24% of global carbon dioxide emissions.

The Global Impact of the Construction Industry on Environment 

The Earth’s ecosystems are now at a critical stage: they are not only being severely damaged but human activity currently leads to irreversible losses of critical (i.e. life-supporting) ecosystem functions. Buildings and construction works have the largest single share in global resource use and pollution emission. In OECD countries the built environment is responsible for around 25-40% of total energy use, 30% of raw material use, 30-40% of global greenhouse gas emissions and for 30 to 40% of solid waste generation.

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The Central Role of Buildings in People's Lives 

In addition, people spend almost 90% of their life inside buildings. In the United States, the annual cost of building-related sickness is estimated to be at $58 billion. Consequently, healthy and comfortable indoor environments contribute significantly to human health and well-being and offer a large potential for reducing ‘external’ costs to societies through lowering diseases.  

The Challenges of Urbanism 

Beyond individual buildings, poor patterns of building development often lead to congestion and inefficient use of land, resulting in greater energy consumption and travel time, loss of productivity, polluted runoff to surface water and wastewater treatment systems, loss of agricultural lands, fragmented habitats, and fiscal stress to local communities.   

On the Aesthetic Side....

On the aesthetic side of sustainable or green architecture or sustainable design is the philosophy of designing a building that is in harmony with the natural features and resources surrounding the site. There are several key steps in designing sustainable buildings: specify 'green' building materials from local sources, reduce loads, optimize systems, and generate on-site renewable energy 

What are we doing about it?

How is SEA/PSC going green? How are we going to "sustain this"? This is no longer a niche topic in the construction industry as we at SEA/PSC incorporate this into our corporate culture, client relations and best practices. Sustainability initiatives call for an integrated and synergistic design to both new construction, repair and remodeling. We are all about the harmonious home.  When it comes to new construction or remodeling - SEA/PSC have your sustainable bases covered! 

We really do love hearing from you. Leave us a comment at the bottom of this post. We'll be so thrilled that we'll even answer. 

Steven and Petalyn Albert

S.E.A. & Peninsula Siding

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