Green Construction – Saving Energy Is Our Mission

Green Construction: Underlying Energy Conservation

The basis of green construction is conserving energy. In our contemporary world of abrupt climate changes and steep energy costs it is critical to use the least possible amount of fossil fuels and fuel by-products such as electricity generated by coal powered plants. In order to avoid the risk of energy costs rising suddenly, alternative sources of energy such as solar panels and wind powered turbines are highly recommended today.

Uncertainty and Energy Markets

The future of our energy reserves is currently uncertain. The public is confused by the contradicting news about our planet’s oil and gas reserves. Are we facing acute shortages? What prices should we expect? Experts predict that oil production will peak no later than 2020. But the record might be broken earlier than expected.

After this peak in production, the number of oil barrels produced might dive and lead to steeper prices. Fossil fuels such as oil and coal account today for 95% of the commercial energy sales in the world. Other renewable energy sources account for below 5%. So if we prefer the right solution for our home environment, it is clever to lower our fossil fuel consumption and invest in renewable and sustainable energy as soon as possible. In the next section we shall explain the concept of renewable energy in detail.

According to world experts in the field of energy efficiency, “oil shortages might be the least significant reason to refrain from consuming oil. It is more crucial to protect our planet against climate change and consider our quality of life, economic independence and national security in the future. If the current trend of oil dependency continues, the dependency of Western countries such as the United States of America and Israel on oil and its by-products might rise significantly.

Therefore, a rational plan is required according to which, powerful countries like the US commit to reduce oil dependency and invest in renewable energy sources. Such a plan can liberate the West from its reliance on foreign countries and enrich the Western economy by developing innovative job creating technology. In fact, weaning off fossil fuel paves the road for economic independence.

Green Construction – Renewable Energy

In the current global economy, renewable energy sources are widespread and constitute a great contribution to the concepts of green construction. Wind turbine farms are erected around the world to supply electricity and sell it in competitive prices. Garbage and agricultural crop waste are also burned to generate cheaper power that accounts for 5% of the global energy expenditure. Renewable energy is also produced by photoelectric cells that convert solar to electric energy. This energy source is highly beneficial and widely used in sun drenched countries like Israel. As technologies improve and governments offer incentive programs – both of which are true for Israel – the prices of renewable energy utility companies would become more competitive and fair.

Buildings and Energy Use

This information directly applies for green building contractors in Israel. In Western countries, the energy consumption of buildings accounts for 35% of total energy consumption. 64% of these 35% are spent on heating, ventilation and air conditioning, 24% are used for water heaters and 12% for lighting. Whopping sums are spent on electric appliances every year. In terms of carbon emissions, buildings account for 48% of greenhouse gasses emitted to the atmosphere in total.

Green Construction and Energy

The best approach to improving energy efficiency is based on green construction methods. Each and every component of building exteriors is equally important: siding, frames, roofing and windows are key factors of potential energy saving. Indoor energy uses should also be considered. Natural daylight and ventilation have a great impact on the amount of energy used to make domestic living comfortable so the right choice of lighting fixtures and electric appliances is as important. All these must be considered in the early stages of planning so efficiency trumps spending.

Studies often present the cases of companies that invested in energy saving buildings and as a result, saved a lot in general. In some of these cases, companies saved up to 90% in comparison to earlier expenses. Another reason to invest in green building techniques is the ability to harness natural lighting. When homes are designed properly, natural light can replace artificial lighting during the day. Green building may significantly improve the quality of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and breathable air within structures. Among the companies’ staff, eco- friendly design concepts cause higher workplace productivity, less errors and less sick days and better health. This is noteworthy because wages account for a very large part of any company’s budget. Even a mere 1% increase in productivity may save greater sums than the totals spent on energy.

This phenomenon has recently become a global trend of investment in energy efficient construction. It is a true win-win situation: energy costs plummet and workers become more productive.

Embodied Energy

It is a well known fact that energy related issues must be on the drawing board before the first load of bricks arrives on the construction site. Energy required to develop, manufacture and transport construction materials is called embodied energy. This concerns, for instance, mining and processing stone, clay, concrete and other basic materials. As an example, concrete production is accountable for 8% of carbon emitted to the atmosphere. Furthermore, many construction materials such as piping, insulated wires, paint, wallpaper and others contain minerals. Such minerals must be mined and extracted so they are quite costly. Mineral production uses a lot of energy and has a substantial impact on our environment.

The Importance of Quality Insulation Materials

One of the most important decisions in the early stages of construction concerns the amount and quality of insulation. When you have the future energy markets in mind you may realize that the more insulation on building exteriors – the better. After all, how long will the building last? How much should you pay for fuel, gas and electricity in the next 10-15 and even fifty years? If your building actually survives for so many years, you must at the very least invest in the most efficient available insulation in order to survive the predicted jumps in energy prices and become less dependent on energy suppliers.

Energy and Green Construction- Conclusion

Green construction may cut energy consumption in all respects. Firstly, less embodied energies are wasted due to (a)more efficient building planning and design; (b) a clever choice of recycled and locally manufactured construction materials; and (c) worksite waste recycling. Secondly, green methods lead to long range energy savings during the buildings’ entire existence. When windows and openings are correctly placed, electric lighting might not be necessary in the daytime. Natural airflow through proper openings can cool your homes during the night so less air conditioning is needed. High quality insulation (materials and installation) cuts the household costs of summer and winter temperature regulation and maximizes passive heating and cooling. How is this done? South facing windows with awnings may reduce heating expenses by 20-30%. Shades and natural greenery keep homes cooler in the summer. These ideas are only mere examples. A great variety of green construction techniques and opportunities can cut back your energy expenses.