Environmentalists are looking for global sustainability-enhancing methods. Before establishing conservation techniques, they assessed the largest contributing factors to climate change. Ecological professionals discovered that residential and commercial buildings are responsible for 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Environmental engineers and scientists are working to minimize construction pollution. The Green Building Council of Australia is targeting building emissions using Green Star rating tools. Certification professionals evaluate various building components to develop the rating and provide efficiency-enhancing feedback.
Green Star is a sustainability evaluation and certification system. Most nations outside of Australia also recognize the certification’s legitimacy. Green Star professionals use four tools to rate their customers:
Individuals can obtain a Green Star building certification by upgrading their structure’s sustainability features.
Many Green Star Certified buildings eliminate their reliance on fossil fuels. Because nearly 80% of the global power supply derives from fossil fuels, sustainable buildings utilize renewable energy sources as an alternative. Most low-emission structures have photovoltaic (PV) solar panels on their rooftops.
PV panels contain solar cells that absorb sunlight. The light loosens electrons within the panel and creates a current of potential energy. Transfer wires then capture the flow of electrons and convert it into emission-free electricity.
Another Green Star building feature is a fireplace. The heating feature minimizes a structure’s reliance on oil-fired and gas-powered systems. Fireplaces are known to entice prospective homebuyers – as much as 63% of them specifically seek homes with a fireplace.
Smart thermostats improve the energy efficiency of buildings by minimizing waste from heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. The technology monitors indoor temperatures using the internet of things (IoT) and connected sensors. It also monitors the occupancy of each room in a building, turning a system off in vacant zones.
Another addition to Green Star-rated buildings is a rainwater harvesting system. The technology decreases a structure’s reliance on conventional water supplies. The sustainable system captures and recycles storm runoff to minimize natural resource exploitation.
There are other organizations monitoring sustainability in the built environment beyond Australia’s Green Star rating system.
A common certification in the U.S. is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Like the Green Star certification, LEED assesses a structure’s resource efficiency, energy use, indoor air quality, location, and design.
Individuals can register for LEED certifications by submitting an application to the U.S. Green Building Council. Then, they may receive a preliminary review, a final review, and a supplemental assessment. The highest rating representing optimal sustainability is the LEED Platinum certification.
Another efficiency assessment organization regulating buildings is Energy Star. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates the Energy Star program and defines efficiency levels. Buildings qualifying for Energy Star certification use 35% less energy on average than conventional structures.
Buildings can minimize their energy consumption and carbon footprint by installing smart appliances and utilizing an eco-conscious design. The Energy Star organization also certifies appliances and systems, which helps builders mindfully add high-efficiency features to structures. Sustainable buildings benefit both the environment and humanity.
Once building owners receive an inspection and Green Star rating, they may begin using their certification to inform customers and residents. Companies can enhance their transparency and customer appeal by minimizing emissions and natural resource exploitation. They may also protect individuals in and around the building by improving local air quality.
An ecological benefit of obtaining a Green Star rating is helping protect the earth’s biodiversity. Plants, insects, and animals of all kinds thrive in less-polluted environments. Sustainable buildings also minimize general climate change causes.