Are green buildings better than traditional buildings?

real estate, real estate technology  /   /  By Nick Kljaic

Eco-friendly buildings are beneficial, but how?  How is living in a green apartment building better than in a traditional dwelling? Or is eco-friendly another fad that’ll disappear in a few years?

Technology is changing how we live our lives. The electric cars being released are changing how people are powering their transport for example. These new technologies are changing how dwellings are thought of. Solar panels are a way to get energy from the sun that is being used on homes new and old or to heat pools. Developers are looking at ways to design green apartments that use sustainable technologies and materials to benefit the everyday life of those living in the apartments and those not.

Sustainable materials and new technologies improve air quality and quality of life making living more efficient with the resources we have. Eco-friendly buildings use recycled materials. (Which isn’t a new idea. For centuries, people have taken building materials from old structures and reusing them.) Materials are being collected from the region around to keep the environmental damage down due to transportation and to help the local economy. Fewer materials are used to avoid waste when building the apartments: this keeps more resources to be used and out of a landfill. The materials used include hardwood and natural stone. These materials require less maintenance, are more durable and keep the apartments attractive to the eye.

In the past, building materials have been used that cause harm to people. Asbestos is one that caused damage to people’s quality of life. It’s not a good thing when a person’s home is a death trap with poison within the walls. Eco-friendly apartments use non-toxic construction materials to keep you and the environment healthy. Air conditioning and ventilation systems are designed to provide enhanced air quality and filtration. Mold and dust are something that accumulates in an apartment due to bad air quality, and a quality ventilation and filtration system stops this from being an issue. If you’re someone like me who has a tendency to sneeze from excess dust, clean air makes for a better living experience.

Carpeting has also advanced with new materials being created. Previously, the carpet was a place of dust and mold that remained in the house forever. You’ve probably been to a house of an older relative that is clean weekly but constantly has a dusty feel in the air. There are now low-emitting materials used in carpeting, for example, Green Label Plus certified carpets. These take in less dust, keep out mold and make the living spaces better for those who suffer sinus conditions or have sensitive noses. FloorScore certified flooring adds to an eco-friendly home.

In the construction of green buildings, though is taken when using adhesives, sealants, coatings and paints. All of these things can crumble off and floating through the air. Paint used to have lead in it, which we realized was a bad idea and removed all lead from paint. Sealants and adhesives contain chemicals that could be harmful, but there are options that are safe and clean. Sealants also help to keep in the heat from heaters or cold from air conditioners, meaning less power is used to keep the apartment a comfortable temperature. Live in a home with bad sealing or insulation, and winters can feel like a battle to keep the cold out. One place I lived in had horrible sealing and insulation to a point where the heater would make the room too hot, but once off all the hot air would leave the room making it too cold. The amount my electricity bill would raise each winter was too much.

Life in eco-friendly buildings is designed to be environmentally friendly as well

Gardens are built and maintained; designated recycling areas exist and other amenities for those who live in the buildings. For those with electric cars, garages are designed to have recharge stations there for tenants who require them. Many are built near public transport to allow people not to take their cars to work.

Overall, eco-friendly buildings improve efficiency. Improving efficiency is a good thing and is done by improving water and energy usage. Lighting and plumbing fixtures are used that save power and water; thought is used to air sealing and windows are used to maintain energy efficiency inside. Energy Star appliances are used, WaterSense toilets, shower heads, and faucets are used to combine efficiency without sacrificing quality of life.

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