Green building is a growing trend that has been gaining traction in recent years. On average, green buildings can save between 25% and 50% of energy, between 10% and 40% of water consumption, and reduce maintenance costs by approximately 12%. In addition, many green building projects use low-toxic, non-toxic materials, such as natural paints and sealants, to reduce indoor air pollution. The energy crisis of the 1970s further boosted the development of renewable energy resources, including solar, geothermal and wind energy. A survey conducted by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) found that 65% of respondents admitted that reducing operating costs was the main reason for opting for green building, while 35% said that lower water consumption was an important factor.
Green buildings are also used to create a kind of “green roof” that helps manage rainwater, insulate buildings and cool nearby urban air, among other benefits. These roofs are made from non-toxic materials obtained from natural and renewable sources that are manipulated in a sustainable way. The USGBC's LEED certification program is one of the most famous green building certification programs in the world. LEED-certified projects have eliminated more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills and have been implemented in over 96,000 projects in 167 countries. In addition, more than half of the existing buildings that are not leased in the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) currently comply with the revised Guiding Principles for Sustainable Buildings. Research on green buildings has multiple facets, and a great deal of activity has been carried out recently in the fields of construction and building technologies, energy and fuels, and civil engineering.
Green building data shows that green buildings in South Africa can save 20 to 30% of drinking water and 30 to 40% of energy and carbon emissions per year. Furthermore, green buildings increase worker and machine productivity and reduce operating costs by 25 to 30%.However, there are some challenges associated with green building. For example, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar depend on varying weather conditions which could make green buildings susceptible to fluctuations in energy supply. Developers and funders must understand cost savings throughout the building's life cycle and be willing to make a larger initial investment.
Not only does this help reduce the building's overall environmental impact, it also saves money in the long run by reducing the need for costly repairs, maintenance, and renovations.