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A-Z of Green Buildings

In all of Australia’s cities, apartment living provides a great option for people who want to reduce commuting time and live near the central business district. Living in a high rise can also be the best way to enjoy great views if you’re lucky enough to live near water or mountain views. In recent years the construction of new buildings in Australia has greatly increased, and many of these new apartments are in-fact green buildings that incorporate the latest green building design with highly sophisticated technology like energy management software. In this article, we take a closer look at these buildings, which may well become the most popular type of dwelling in the near future.

What are Green Buildings?

Green buildings are those with superior energy, design and material usage with respect to the environment and sustainability. Such buildings tend to use less resources, energy, and water, and make use of more sustainable materials while providing occupants with healthier environments. They also very often use home automation systems to monitor and make decisions about temperature, lighting, the use of electricity, and any other factors that affect energy and resources.

While there isn’t a formal rating system in place, in Australia the Green Building Council has introduced the Green Star rating system, a voluntary system for the construction and building industry.

Green buildings come with enormous benefits for developers, builders, owners and renters. They are usually designed by a team of specialists from different disciplines: designers, energy specialists, engineers, builders, and architects.

Key Features and Benefits

  • The site of the building usually experiences minimal impact during construction and toxic pesticides and herbicides are not used to clear the land.
  • Great waste management with an abundance of recycling facilities.
  • Green buildings use non-toxic finishes and materials
  • Minimal use of timber or other non-sustainable materials
  • Increased comfort levels for those living in the building because of more conscious design for health
  • Better indoor air quality
  • Use of environment friendly materials contribute to health
  • Marginally higher initial outlay, purchase, or set-up price in return for exponential savings through reduced energy and water costs for those living in buildings that are green
  • Solar designed – The buildings are designed to optimise natural solar heating and quality of light during the day
  • Windows are usually double glazed
  • Excellent insulation with recycled materials to reduce heating and cooling needs, including exterior doors.
  • Green buildings have much longer effective product lifecycles. Roofing and building materials are designed to last many decades to reduce need for replacement.
  • Water saving facets, toilets, and shower heads
  • They attract higher lease rates
  • High resale values – green houses and apartments usually have much higher resale values
  • More efficient heating systems, including use of solar power
  • Energy efficient appliances
  • Less waste and environmental impact during building stage as well as throughout the life of the building in maintenance
  • Higher occupancy rates for owners who rent out their green apartments as these apartments are typically more marketable
  • Reduced costs of maintenance and operation

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