Green Building Construction Technology'S Effects On Jamaican Construction Industry

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Table of contents

Problem Statement

The purpose of this study is to identify the significant impacts of Green Building Technology on cost-effectiveness, durability employee productivity, and social benefits of green building construction.

Research Questions

In order to have an organised research guided by well-sorted objectives, the following questions will be asked:

  1. Would the construction of green buildings structure benefit the occupants and the building owners?
  2. What are the operating costs of the traditional building compare to a green building?
  3. How can Green Building Technology help ton reduce the improve air and water quality and reduce waste streams in Jamaica?
  4. What are the factors contributing to Green Building Technology construction in Jamaica?
  5. What are the major environment concerns that the construction of Green Building Technology in Jamaica will help to reduce?


The construction industry is one of the most important sectors as it creates several opportunity for skilled and unskilled workers. It contributes to national socio-economic development by providing the buildings, which are used in the production of all goods and services in the economy. The design concept of a building, is done in a manner, where it is located clearly affects the users of the building, the community, and the environment. Thus it can be implied that the construction industry can influence the competitiveness of enterprises within the economy. Construction can also affect the ability of the nation to attract foreign investment. For these reasons, efforts should be made to ensure the continuous improvement of the industry especially in this era of globalisation since all nations are competing nations in order to attract foreign investment. Notably, the construction industry performs poorly with regards to environmental considerations (Ofori, 2012).

Green building is growing rapidly across the world as it becomes viewed as a long-term business opportunity. A recent study conducted by McGraw-Hill Construction and United Technologies Climate, Controls, and Security, reveals that 51% of international firms, including architects, engineers, contractors, building owners, and building consultants around the world are focusing on sustainable design and construction as at least 60% of their projects were ‘green’ by 2015, up from 28% in 2012 (Bernstein & Mandyck, 2013).

Would the construction of green building structures benefit the occupants and the building owners

While it may initially seem like the only benefits of 'green building' efforts go to the environment. Proponents of eco-friendly architecture take a holistic approach to the concept of environmental health, including human well-being in their calculations. Aims or goals of green constructon are to: Increase efficiency in the use of water, energy, etc. ; to protect the health and increase the productivity of the building's residents; and to reduce pollution and waste.

It has been said many times already, but decreasing energy use is not only good for the environment it's good for the wallet. When a building is more energy efficient, less HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) equipment is necessary. Since heating and cooling the air accounts for roughly half of a building's energy expenditure, improving efficiency can significantly reduce operating costs. Other small measures, such as upgrading insulation and sealing any air leaks, can make a big difference in a monthly electricity bill.

The high costs commonly associated with going green are usually a result of installing new technology in a new building or retrofitting an older one. On-site renewable energy generators from sources such as photovoltaic solar panels or wind power can include prohibitive start-up costs and may not be feasible for every structure. However, efficient appliances with the Energy Star label often cost the same as traditional appliances, and installing ceiling fans to reduce the need for air conditioning is a simple step that makes a measurable difference. For new buildings, passive solar heating principles that take advantage of the orientation of the sun and the landscape go a long way toward improving the energy efficiency of the structure. Naumann et al. (2011)

Another goal of green building is to improve air and water quality within structures, as well as the productivity of their occupants. One EPA report states that indoor air pollutant levels are about two to five times higher than those of outdoor air. Some of these pollutants, such as radon gas, are attributable to natural conditions, while others such as second-hand smoke are a direct result of human behavior. However, many of these pollutants are a byproduct of the materials used to construct or furnish the building. Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, can cause serious health consequences in large enough concentrations. These chemicals may occur naturally, but they can also be manmade, and are found most commonly indoors in products such as paints, solvents, carpets, cleaning products, and some household appliances. (Garman et al., 2011).

Asbestos is another dangerous pollutant. While this thread-like mineral is no longer used in the manufacture of new building materials, it was widely used in nearly every aspect of construction until the 1980s and can still be found in most of these buildings. When breathed in or ingested, asbestos fibers can cause serious health problems such as lung scarring, asbestosis, and mesothelioma cancer. Mesothelioma symptomsinclude shortness of breath, coughing, and pain in the chest, very similar to other, less fatal lung conditions, which can mean that the cancer often goes undiagnosed until its later stages. Green building efforts take into account the human costs of building with certain materials – though asbestos makes for an effective source of insulation, it is severely dangerous to a structure's occupants, and thus alternative materials are used instead.

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One simple way that green architecture produces less waste is by using renewable materials, such as plant matter and sustainable lumber, or reusing traditional materials, such as recycled stone or metal. It is even possible to reuse industrial byproducts like coal combustion products, foundry sand, and demolition debris. Ecologically responsible construction can also help the occupants of the building waste fewer resources when going about their daily lives – greywater can be used as irrigation, or treated and used for other non-drinkable purposes.

Moreover, green building furthers the concept of 'smart growth, ' an umbrella term for architecture and urban planning that takes into account sustainability, human health and safety, and economic expansion. It is not enough to simply substitute one building material for another; an entire change of outlook is necessary if we want to be able to sustain our quality of life, and green building is one way to start. The benefits are highly visible – mesothelioma symptoms, for example, can be prevented almost entirely by avoiding exposure to asbestos. Looking beyond individual health, the EPA estimates that buildings contribute 38. 1% of the country's carbon dioxide emissions, but this figure can be reduced through the use of environmentally responsible architecture and urban planning.

What are the operating costs of the traditional building compare to a green building

Based on the previous premise, it goes without saying that the terminology “green” would indicate a high level of sustainability especially when one should look at future costs. From an operation standpoint, green buildings are said to have benefits such as reduced energy costs and reduced lifecycle costs (Lyons, 2017). Energy efficient systems such as solar water heaters, heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and passive solar design are amongst the various methods that are implemented in green building construction.

Reddy (2016) states that “buildings including construction, operations and deconstruction impacts, use approximately 15% of the world’s fresh water resources, 40% of the world’s energy and produce approximately 30% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. ” On the other hand, the construction of green buildings would utilize resources more efficiently than buildings that are built to zoning and building codes. The savings would be $8. 50 less per square feet of building in green construction than in traditional construction (Reddy, 2016).

According to a report by The World Green Building Trends 2016 SmartMarket Report by Dodge Data & Analytics and United Technologies Corporation, it stated that “green buildings offer significant operational costs compared with traditional buildings” (Dodge Data & Analytics, 2016). This conclusion was made after a survey of 1000 participants across 69 countries and included 13 country-specific profiles. The report further went on to state that respondents expected “a 14% savings in operational costs over five-year savings for new green buildings” (Dodge Data & Analytics, 2016). The long term benefits would definitely ease the costs for families and even companies at large when carefully looked at. In implementing solar heating, solar efficient strategies and passive cooling strategies on a common traditional home, one is expected to see a reduction there without implementing a wide scale transformation of a traditional home into a green one.

Although it would be costly to implement such strategies, the long term benefits outweigh the immediate financial investment that is taken when the lifecycle is taken into keen consideration (Nalewaik et al, 2008). The restructuring of the mind is critical for such financial undertaking to not seem like a burden and negative factor when considering green construction.

Additionally, the cost to construct green buildings at times equate to the same amount or a fraction less of the cost of constructing a traditional building. This green building must however be constructed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified of LEED silver standards. As a result of green or sustainable products and services being made available to the construction and household market at large, the high costs are eliminated as going green becomes more mainstream (Lyons, 2016).

Knowledge without application of acquired is simply stupid. Many reports and studies have shown that yes, green construction has reduced operational costs attached to it than traditional construction but there are building owners who do not taking full advantage of the perks of the green building and as such, are incurring more costs to themselves (Kapelina, 2010). It would be redundant to have a fully functioning solar powered home and still utilize the Jamaica Public Service on a monthly basis due to negligence or ignorance. In order to maximize the benefits and see a reduction in operational costs, the average man would need to be fully educated on how to utilize the green home.

How can Green Building Technology help ton reduce the improve air and water quality and reduce waste streams in Jamaica

The construction industry significantly impacts upon the natural environment and society. The global construction industry consumes 40% of total energy production, 12-16% of all water available, 32% of non-renewable and renewable resources, 25% of timber, 40% of all solid wastes and emits 35-40%of carbon dioxide (Co2) Son, et. al. (2011). Green Building Technology can help to reduce these negative impacts on the environment, hence over the past years, the construction industry has attempted to enhance the sustainability of its activities through the implementation of Green Building Technology (Zhang et. al 2011).

Ahmad et. al (2016) cited that Green Technology that are incorporated into building design to make the end product sustainable such as solar system technology, optimization of building envelope thermal performance and green roof technology. Green Building is greater energy efficiency. This is echoed with previous investigations and it is not surprising because energy saving has become a high-priority all over the world and the building sector is considered as one the biggest contributors to energy consumption worldwide (Pacheco et. al. 2012).

Most of the energy consumed in building is the cooling, heating and lighting purposes. Green building technology utilization of the natural resources such as the sun and wind. This can aid in the reduction in the building energy. Adopting roof mounted wind turbines for example can result in the generation of about 10% of the total building energy needs.

Wong 2012 cited that the use of light emitting diode (LED) bulbs rather than incandescent light can save 70-80% of electricity consumption with lighting in the building. Air condition systems are responsible for sizable amount of building energy use, however the use of a water-cooled air-conditioning systems can reduce electricity consumption by 20-30% (Wong 2012). The reduced energy consumption will hence led to cost saving from the implementation of Green Building Technology. This can be important economic benefits for the building stake holder throughout the life of the building.

The second most important factor driving the implementation of Green building technology is ‘reduce the environmental impact of buildings’ Ahn et al. (2013). In fact, sustainability in construction has only become crucial because of the built environment’s impact on climate change and natural resources, which affects the natural environment. Thus, environmental concern has triggered stakeholders to consider the advantages of sustainable options, such as renewable energy systems. It is not surprising to identify that reduction of environmental impacts is an important factor driving stakeholders in the implementation of Green building technology.

This concurs with the literature that stakeholder or managerial environmental concern is an important driver for the implementation of green technology (Qi et al., 2010; Wang et al., 2014). Most of the building sector’s impact on climate change and, hence, the environment is attributable to its pivotal role in carbon emissions. The high energy consumption in the industry contributes to excessive CO2 emissions, meaning that the application of energy-efficient technologies can reduce the environmental impact of buildings. Love et al. (2012), for example, demonstrated that the application of active chilled beams including floor by floor zoning and thermal zoning of air handling units can reduce CO2 emissions, because it minimizes energy consumption. It can save approximately 447. 3/tne of CO2 annually.

Usually, building emissions are discussed in relation to the production of greenhouse gases and consumption of resources throughout the lifespan of the building. Building construction impacts upon the environment by excessively consuming notable natural resources, e. g., land and water, that are usually non-renewable. The construction of buildings also pollutes the atmosphere in satisfaction’ is the least favourable factor for implementing GB. However, 423 the finding echoes several other discussions in the literature that stakeholders are adopting Green Building Technology, because they have realized the benefits of enhancing the health and comfort of occupants (Werna, 2013; Roseland, 2012). The reduced CO2 emissions into the atmosphere from green building technology, for example, could be an essential social benefit that can make Green Building Technology attractive to stakeholders.

Greater water-efficiency of buildings’ Ahn et al. (2013) considered water efficiency in the building as the third most important driver for applying Green Building Technology, implying that the need to reduce water use in buildings is a typical sustainability issue reinforcing the adoption of Green Building Technology. In almost every well-known green building rating tool (such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM)), water-efficiency is an important requirement that stakeholders that are developing Green Building must satisfy. The application of suitable Green Building Technology has been suggested to be critical for stakeholders to achieve this target, which is echoed with previous research by Zhang et al. (2011b) who identified that stakeholders adopt green technologies, such as permeable surface technology and on-site sewage treatment and water purification and reclaim water, water harvesting, to improve the water-efficiency of their buildings.

Encouraging water-efficient design can bring about an added value that will benefit the end-user. A water-efficient building can reduce its lifetime economic costs (lower water bills), because of its lower water usage, and this can be more than a compensation for the higher initial investment. Through the use of reclaim water and water harvesting for the watering of lawns and flushing toilets, thus help in reducing the high-water consumption of the building. This economic benefit of cost savings can be well received by many stakeholders and thus encourage them to implement Green Building Technology.

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