Protecting Environmental Sustainability with Green Building

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Introduction

The excessive greenhouse gas emissions of British buildings will be discussed in this essay, which led to the absence of relevant laws to regulate the climate change performance of UK buildings through design and technology. On March 28, 2013, the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change released a preliminary estimate of greenhouse gas emissions for 2012. In 2003, the British government issued an energy white paper, for the first time explicitly proposed the development of a 'low carbon economy.' In order to promote the UK's transition to a low-carbon economy as quickly as possible, the UK government has set up a carbon trust fund to jointly finance the public sector, develop low-carbon technologies, and help organizations reduce carbon emissions. In the same year, the City of London issued “the Mayor's Climate Change Action Plan”.(Yuanlin, 2013). Formally adopted the Climate Change Act in 2008, becoming the first country in the world to establish a legally binding long-term framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change to achieve a low carbon city.(Lord Rooker and Hilary Benn, 2008).

UK Buildings

UK housings are not suitable for the future. UK housing reduces greenhouse gas emissions and improves the quality, design and use of homes to meet the challenges of climate change, we need to improve the UK as a whole. Doing so will improve health, well-being and comfort, including the elderly and vulnerable groups. According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development(2007), buildings account for 40% of total energy consumption. In addition to energy consumption, buildings also generate greenhouse gas emissions, which is responsible for global warming(Washington, 2010). By 2035, the carbon emissions of buildings around the world will reach 42.4 billion tons, an increase of 43% over 2007. In addition, renovation of buildings will involve the consumption of natural resources and energy; greenhouse gas emissions; generation of noise and other pollutants. At the end of the building's life, the treatment of the building is also related to energy consumption and waste generation. This study aims to critically review related research in green buildings. This article explains how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from UK buildings by changing technology and design to fulfil the green building.

The meaning of green building

Public awareness of green building is increasing, however, there has been a wide debate about what is green. Indeed, the lack of a clear definition of green building will present further challenges in promoting and implementing green building to achieve low-carbon cities.

Green Building Inspection Tools

Nowadays, many tools have been developed to assist in the development of green buildings. It is worth noting that green buildings in different countries are designed and built according to local climatic conditions to meet the requirements of local people, so the criteria for evaluating these green buildings are different. Last decades have witnessed growing concerns on social sustain-ability in buildings. This is due to the fact that the construction activities are a social process. In the construction context, the quality of living, occupational health, safety and so on are the main factors for the development of the society, which means providing a healthy and safe environment to all people involved in personal interests.

Carbon Emissions Figures

However, the most important factor is the impact of the environment on the realization of green buildings. As we all know, carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas, accounting for about 83% of the total UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2011(Yuanlin, 2013). In 2012, the UK's net carbon dioxide emissions were initially estimated at 479.1 million tons. This is 4.5% higher than the 2011 emissions of 458.6 million tons. However, buildings account for almost 50% of total CO2 emissions, which is much higher than in transportation and industry.(Yuanlin,2013). According to the figures, building is one of the most CO2 emitting factors, which will lead to many negative effects, such as harm to human health,as well as environmental and economic impacts. Therefore, green building is a very important factor to achieve low-carbon city planning.

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Environmental Aspects

From an environmental perspective, green buildings help improve urban biological diversity and protect ecosystems through sustainable land use (Henry and Frascaria-Lacoste, 2012; Bianchini and Hewage, 2012). Building and demolition waste reduction is a key component of sustainability(Akadiri and Olomolaiye, 2012; Yeheyis et al, 2012). In fact, for the same environmental impact of construction and demolition waste, the recycling rate must be higher than 90%, which means recycling and recycling materials in new buildings. Some scholars argue that green buildings have other benefits that are not directly related to costs. These studies focus on the human dimension and the benefits of green building. This is because humans have been in buildings for a long time.

Social Aspects

The study also found that health and productivity levels improved when residents moved to green buildings(Singh et al, 2011; Pan, Yin and Huang, 2008; Gou et al, 2012). It is recommended not to overlook the economic benefits of green building in terms of productivity and absenteeism(Ries et al, 2006). Because their study found that when residents moved from traditional to green buildings, productivity increased by 25 percent and absenteeism dropped significantly. Deuble and de Dear(2012) took steps to incorporate the health and productivity of the occupants into the post-accommodation assessment process. This will help bridge the gap between customer expectations and future design solutions for green building development. So energy savings should not be at the expense of user health, satisfaction and productivity(Wedding and Crawford-Brown, 2008; Ortiz et al, 2009; Korkmaz, Riley and Horman, 2010). To sum up, more research is needed to provide evidence for a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of green buildings to better understand the decision-making process. Green buildings will be fulfill low-carbon cities by two main methods: improving building technology and housing design.

Technology

Innovating with renewable energy technologies is key to achieving green building goals and certification(Shi et al, 2013). The use of renewable energy in buildings helps to reduce energy consumption and emissions. The lack of infrastructure to connect the electricity generated by construction sites to the grid is one of the most significant challenges. Renewable energy commonly used in buildings is: solar hot water, solar photovoltaic, small wind turbines, geothermal heat pumps, etc(Yuan and Wang, 2013; Li, Yang and Lam, 2013; Praene et al, 2012). In fact, the use of renewable energy plays a crucial role in achieving zero-energy buildings(Marszal et al, 2011; Berggren, Hall and Wall, 2013). Using a solar desiccant cooling system can save up to 60% in energy related costs(Baniyounes et al, 2012). Therefore, building integrated renewable energy has become an important part of green building design and development(Hashim and Ho, 2011; Chang et al, 2013). The research found that although there is no energy storage system, the environmental benefits are significant. One of the key elements of sustainable building design is to reduce resource consumption and increase resource efficiency(Webster and Dunn, 2011; Poon et al, 2013). One common method is to reduce, recycle and reuse or construct and dismantle waste(Yeheyis et al,2013;Danielle and Buick, 2012). Encouraging green building materials and technology is a common practice for governments to minimize waste from construction and demolition(Jaillon, Poon and Chiang, 2009; Lu and Tam, 2013). However, what is now being introduced is the use of solar water heater technology and small wind turbine technology to improve British architecture.

Analyze the Solar Water Heater

But depending on the UK's climate, solar water heaters and small wind turbine technologies have both advantages and disadvantages. First of all, the design of solar water heater is a major trend in the development of energy-efficient buildings. On the one hand, it can improve the level of building design. On the other hand, it can also give full play to the role of solar water heater technology in building energy conservation and reduce the adverse impact of residential buildings on the ecological environment(Liu Xi and Yao Yujuan, 2012). In contrast, solar water heater also has disadvantanges. Poor heat transfer and installation location is limited. However, the most important thing is the British climate. Perennial rainy weather hinders the role of solar water heaters.

Analyze the Small Wind Turbine

In addition, the second small wind turbine technology is favored because it has two advantages. The first advantage of a small wind turbine is its small size and flexibility for easy installation and use. The small wind turbine has a compact body, which is convenient for carrying and transporting, and the installation method is relatively simple. Its second advantage is energy saving and environmental protection. Because small wind turbines rely entirely on wind power to generate electricity, it meets people's requirements for environmental protection.According to estimates by the British Wind Energy Association, the installed capacity of small wind turbines in the UK in 2008 was 7.24 megawatts. If the policy is right, the installed capacity will reach 1,300 megawatts by 2020. In 2008, the power generation of the British small wind turbine industry reached 24.5 GWh. If the growth barrier can be resolved, by 2020 the UK's small wind turbine industry will generate 1,700 GWh of electricity. By 2020, the installed capacity of small wind turbines in the UK will exceed 600,000 units (Lzweekly, 2012).

Conclusion

The study provides a rigorous review of existing research related to global green buildings. Extensive literature reviews indicate that most green building research focuses on sustainable environmental aspects such as energy consumption, water efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions, and technical solutions. The review also showed that there are certain initiatives to focus on the interaction between the building itself and the building and the user. Providing education and training to occupants will help regulate the behavior of buildings that use buildings that may significantly affect building performance.

Most of the existing research on green buildings is based on current weather data, such as modeling energy savings based on historical climate information(Field et al, 2012). Similarly, current occupancy patterns, such as population and density, are used to optimize building design and construction. This may not be enough to cope with future climatic conditions. Therefore, the design and construction of green buildings need to consider future proofing. This is very useful considering the fact that extreme weather will be more severe and last longer. Students will become future practitioners and even leaders in various fields. Teachers play a key role in shaping students' attitudes and behaviors toward issues related to sustainability, such as how buildings are used. The above issues are future agenda items for green building related research.

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