What is the Green Building?

Green building refers to the environmentally responsible construction and implementation of resource-efficient processes throughout a building’s life cycle: Environmental impact is taken into account, from planning to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. In addition, it is a construction method that has a less negative impact on the environment, produces healthier buildings with low maintenance costs, and uses resources efficiently. The term green building, also known as sustainable building, high-performance building, and green construction; is used interchangeably to describe the same thing. It is known that our world is rapidly depleting natural resources. Because of this situation, there are many more people focusing on green today. Green buildings; It is also an important part of sustainable urban development aimed at combating climate change.

What are the Green Building Features?

Air tightness and vapor barrier on building surfaces and walls; keeping moisture away, making the building cooler. In this way, electrical systems such as air conditioners work less to cool the building and reduce electricity costs. Solar heat gain coefficient; is the amount of solar radiation that enters through glass and is released as heat inside a building. The less this amount, the less solar heat transmits, and the cooler the building. This also reduces electricity costs. A device called the enthalpy wheel recovers the cooled air from the inside and uses the coolness of this spent air to cool the fresh air coming from outside. The process also dehumidifies the air from outside. This is a cost-effective way to improve indoor air quality and reduce the energy consumed by air conditioning systems.

Daylight-controlled lighting systems have sensors that can detect daylight. During the day, the sensor turns the lights off because there is enough light from the sun, and when the sun goes down, the system turns the lights back on. In this way, the use of artificial lighting during the day is reduced. It also prevents situations where occupants forget to turn off the lights when they are not needed. Occupancy sensors only turn on when they detect people in the room. The latest faucets and siphon mechanisms use less water to do the same. Green structures capture rainwater and then store it in large containers. This water can then be used to irrigate plants, flush toilets, or feed cooling towers. Material recovery facility; it is the place where special and hazardous wastes that biodegrade, recycle, or non-recyclable waste of buildings are separated. The resulting waste can be composted and used as fertilizer for the building’s plants.

A significant part of the unpaved area of ​​green buildings is devoted to vegetation. This contributes to the reduction of heat emitted by concrete surfaces, which are very common in urban areas, by absorbing heat from the sun. Plants also help absorb some of the rainwater. The design, construction, and operational practices of green buildings should have minimal impact on ecosystems and water resources. Sustainable sites; protect natural habitat, reduce pollution and use of natural resources, and facilitate interaction with nature. Green construction is a broad topic and has many features. Here, much better results are achieved depending on the project conditions:

  • Utilizing the land most appropriately,
  • Using recyclable and recyclable materials,
  • Turning towards renewable energy sources,
  • Consuming fossil fuels as little as possible,
  • Making maximum use of daylight,
  • Controlling indoor air quality,
  • Saving on heating, cooling, and lighting costs,
  • Using gray water, giving importance to rainwater collection and treatment,
  • Promoting solid waste management,
  • Building design that is flexible and adaptable to changing conditions, with a long lifetime,
  • Efficient use of energy,
  • Protection of clean water resources,
  • Avoidance of harmful and dangerous substances,
  • Minimizing health and safety risks.

What are the Advantages of Green Building?

The advantages of green buildings can be evaluated under 3 headings such as environmental, economic, and social benefits. By adopting green practices, we can maximize environmental and economic performance. Green construction methods provide the most significant benefits when integrated with eco-friendly design and construction.

The environmental benefits of green building can be listed as follows:

  • It reduces water and energy waste.
  • By protecting natural resources, it improves the quality of resources such as water and air.
  • It protects biodiversity and the ecosystem.
  • It uses renewable energy sources such as solar energy.
  • It takes measures to reduce pollution and waste, as well as to reuse and recycle materials.
  • The materials used are non-toxic, ethical, and sustainable.
  • The environment is taken into account in its design and construction and its adaptation to the changing environment is ensured.

The economic benefits of green building can be listed as follows:

  • It reduces costs and increases value.
  • Increases user productivity.
  • Green building is not just for the environment, but buildings that support healthier, happier, and more productive lives.
  • It focuses on creating. These; include cost savings in electricity bills for tenants or households through energy and water efficiency.
  • It creates a market for other green products and services.
  • Green building operations promote material and water recycling and also generate returns for real estate investors.

The social benefits of green building can be listed as follows:

  • It increases the quality of life. In the design, construction, and operation of green buildings; users’ quality of life is taken into account.
  • It improves health and comfort.
  • It minimizes the load on the local structure.

Why Are Green Buildings Important?

In an increasingly globalized world, climatic changes, pollution, water problems, and the disappearance of natural resources due to global warming make the concept of sustainability more and more important today. When we look around, we see that more and more buildings and skyscrapers are being built every day. Many natural resources are consumed during the construction of these buildings and skyscrapers, and serious damage is caused to nature by the release of waste into the environment. Since we cannot stop the construction sector, we must produce solutions that aim to reduce the environmental pollution and energy consumption caused by this sector. One of these solutions and the most effective are green buildings. Green buildings aim at the effective use of energy, efficient and regular use of resources, and elimination or reduction of waste emissions to the environment, hence people living in healthy and comfortable buildings and environments. In summary, green buildings aim to leave a clean environment for future generations.

What is Green Building Certificate?

Certain standards are required to confirm that the buildings have green building characteristics. These features are; saving energy, using renewable resources, and harming nature as little as possible. If these conditions are met, a green building certificate is given. Many countries have developed their green building criteria according to their lifestyle. These criteria are flexible and broad and have continued to be developed over time. This is why there are many different green building certification systems in the world. The most preferred certification system in the world and Turkey is the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) system, which can be applied at the building and city scale. Another system used in Turkey is BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), which is a UK-based rating method.

How to Get Green Building Certificate?

For a building to receive a green building certificate; The site selection for the construction of the building, the design of the building project, the characteristics of the building materials used, and the reuse of waste materials are taken into account. The certificates of systems such as LEED or BREEAM are given by the institutions that develop the systems, through the auditing and reporting of the authorized institutions.

What is LEED Certification and How to Get it?

The most preferred environmentally friendly building today, LEED, which is the green building certificate, was developed by the USGBC (American Green Building Council) established in 1995 and has been given since 1998. Within the scope of the rapidly expanding and growing LEED program, thousands of projects were evaluated in more than 50 states in the USA and more than 135 countries around the world. LEED is the most used green building certification system in Turkey.

USGBC accredited organizations inspect and evaluate buildings that apply for LEED Certification. Buildings that meet certain standards are scored separately for each criterion and reach a total value. LEED Certifications; There are 4 plain, silver, gold, and platinum and according to the collected points, the rank is determined. The criteria of the LEED system, their purposes, and the maximum points that buildings that meet the criteria can receive are as follows:

  • Sustainable Sites – 10 Points: Reducing pollution from construction, preventing soil erosion, protecting and enhancing natural areas, and reducing carbon emissions.
  • Water Efficiency – 11 Points: Reducing the amount of using water and reusing the wastewater to nature through recycling.
  • Energy and Atmosphere – 33 Points: To reduce the amount of fossil fuel consumption during the construction, material supply, and operation of buildings and to turn to renewable energy sources.
  • Materials and Resources – 13 Points: To give minimum harm to the environment and to recycle waste materials during the supply and use of raw materials for building construction.
  • Indoor Environmental Quality – 16 Points: Indoor living standard, material quality, reducing pollution, increasing clean air.
  • Innovation – 6 Points:  Innovative solutions for green building values.
  • Regional Priority Credits – 4 Points: Solutions that can change according to regional conditions
  • Location and Transport – 16 Points: The interaction of the location of the building with the environment and the ease of access of people to the building

The ranges of points to be taken for certificate degrees are as follows:

  • LEED Certificate (LEED Certified) 40-49 points,
  • LEED Silver (LEED Silver) 50-59 points,
  • LEED Gold (LEED Gold) 60-79 and
  • LEED Platinum (LEED Platinum) 80-110 points.

What is BREEAM Certificate and How to Get It?

BREEAM is one of the world’s leading green building rating systems. It was developed in the UK. BREEAM was first introduced in 1990. Since then, more than 561,100 certified buildings have been used in 78 countries in total. BREEAM; evaluates the building within the scope of design, construction, and materials, including all the natural, artificial and local environments surrounding the building. Certification of a structure entering the BREEAM certification process takes place in two stages. These; are design phase evaluations, this work results in an intermediate certificate. Post-construction evaluation, the final certificate is obtained.

The determining criteria and weighted percentages valid for Europe are as follows:

  • Building Management: Environmental standards based on management (12%)
  •  Health and Comfort (14%): Human health and comfort are taken into account. Natural ventilation and the use of daylight come to the fore among the criteria sought.
  • Energy: It is aimed to minimize the energy consumption of buildings (19%)
  • Water: Systems that reduce water consumption (6%)
  • Field Use and Ecology: It is aimed not to damage the lands and to protect biodiversity(10%)
  • Transportation: Bicycle and public transportation incentive (8%)
  • Material: Environmental impact of the materials used (12.5%)
  • Wastes: Amount of waste and recycling rate (7.5%)
  • Pollution: Studies are supported to prevent harmful behaviors that affect global warming, light-noise pollution, soil and water resources pollution (6.5%)
  • Innovation: Innovative sustainability ideas (10%)

Buildings evaluated according to these titles are rated at Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent, or Exceptional.

The BREEAM degrees and the minimum percentages required for these degrees are as follows:

  • BREEAM Pass > 30%
  • BREEAM Good > 45%
  • BREEAM Very Good > 55%
  • BREEAM Excellent (Excellent)> 70%
  • BREEAM Outstanding > 85%

What Are The Examples of Green Building in Turkey?

The concept of sustainability in Turkey has emerged as a result of environmental problems and energy needs, as in other countries, and concrete applications have started since 2008. The process of accession to the European Union has been an important step in ensuring sustainable development, but considering only energy and not being able to be legally molded has slowed the process. In Turkey regulations related to energy efficiency are guiding the green building process. Energy efficiency; supply assurance, national resources-oriented, low-cost, greenhouse gas emissions, etc. It is a concept that is based on combating problems and defines national strategic goals with environmentally friendly policies. With the increasing importance of sustainable development, energy efficiency has also gained value. From this point; Increasing efficiency at all stages, preventing waste, and reducing unnecessary energy use in every sector has become the most important component of our country’s energy policy.

Examples from Turkey are listed below:

  • Harran Houses, Sanliurfa
  • 01 Burda Mall, Adana
  • Sabiha Gokcen Airport Terminal Building
  • Palladium Antakya Shopping Centre, HATAY.

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