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The benefits of green building techniques
Tunley Environmental23 Jan 20246 min read

The Benefits of Green Building Techniques

The construction industry plays a significant role in global resource consumption and environmental impact. “The built environment sector already responsible for 37% of global emissions” – United Nations Environment Programme. As concerns about sustainability and the finite nature of resources continue to grow, the adoption of green building techniques in sustainable construction has become crucial. Green building, also known as sustainable construction, focuses on reducing the environmental impact of buildings by utilising environmentally friendly materials, techniques, and design strategies. In this article, we will explore the methods and benefits of sustainable construction, highlighting its positive impact on the environment, economy, health, and well-being, as well as its long-term sustainability. 

What is Sustainable Construction? 

Sustainable construction involves the use of renewable energy and recyclable materials, energy-efficient technologies, and green design strategies to reduce energy consumption, minimise waste, and mitigate the environmental impact of construction activities and buildings. The primary goal of sustainable construction is to create a built environment that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. By adopting sustainable construction practices, the construction industry can significantly contribute to the global efforts of combating climate change and achieving a more sustainable future. 

Leveraging data-driven methodologies, whole life cycle assessments, and material science, we advise on eco-efficient solutions. It is important to redefine construction practices, minimising environmental impact while maximising long-term sustainability in the built environment.” 
Dr. William Beer, CEO, Tunley Environmental. 


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Sustainable Construction Methods 

To implement sustainable construction, many construction firms are now embracing a range of green building techniques and practices. These methods aim to reduce the environmental impact of construction projects and promote overall efficiency. Here are some key sustainable construction methods: 

  1. Use of Sustainable Materials
    Concrete production alone contributed to 8% of anthropogenic GHG emissions and 3% of global energy demand. Therefore, signifying the importance of the use of alternative, sustainable and environmentally friendly materials. This includes the incorporation of recycled materials, such as recycled concrete or reclaimed wood, as well as the use of renewable energy in the construction process, e.g., using electric vans for transporting materials, using electric forklifts where electricity is supplied from renewable sources These alternatives not only reduce the demand for raw materials but also minimise waste and carbon emissions associated with traditional construction materials and practices.
  2. Energy Efficiency
    Energy-efficient technologies play a crucial role in sustainable construction, targeting emission at the use stage of buildings. This involves the use of energy-efficient appliances, air source heat pumps, lighting systems, and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems. Additionally, the integration of renewable energy sources, such as solar panels or wind turbines, can help buildings generate their own clean energy, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and lowering carbon emissions.
  3. Water Conservation
    Water conservation is another essential aspect of sustainable construction. Implementing water-efficient plumbing fixtures, such as low-flow toilets and faucets, can significantly reduce water consumption. Additionally, the use of rainwater harvesting systems or greywater recycling systems can help conserve water resources and reduce the strain on municipal water supplies.
  4. Waste Management and Recycling
    Proper waste management and recycling practices are vital in sustainable construction. Construction sites generate a significant amount of waste, including packaging materials, demolition debris, and construction waste. By implementing effective waste management plans, construction firms can minimise waste generation and maximise recycling efforts, diverting materials from landfills and reducing the environmental impact of the construction process.
  5. Green Design Strategies
    Green design strategies focus on creating buildings that are optimised for energy efficiency, occupant comfort, and environmental sustainability. This includes considerations such as passive design techniques, which maximise natural lighting and ventilation, and the use of green roofs or vertical gardens to promote carbon sequestration, biodiversity and reduce heat island effects. Integrated design approaches, involving architects, engineers, and other stakeholders, ensure that sustainable design principles are incorporated from the early stages of a project. Development projects should have a measurable positive impact on biodiversity compared to the pre-development state. In England, this is law (10% Biodiversity Net Gain). However, a similar approach to development project should be reflected globally. 

Benefits of Sustainable Construction 

Sustainable construction offers a multitude of benefits, ranging from environmental advantages to economic savings and improved occupant well-being. Here are some key benefits of adopting green building techniques in construction: 

1. Economic Benefits
While the initial costs of sustainable construction may be slightly higher than traditional construction methods, the long-term economic benefits outweigh the upfront investment. Here are some economic advantages of sustainable construction: 
  • Reduced energy and water consumption lead to lower operational costs over the building's lifetime. 
  • Green certifications such as LEED or BREEAM increase property market value, attracting environmentally conscious investors and tenants. Potential for government incentives, tax credits, and grants for sustainable construction projects. 
  • Job creation and economic growth in the green building sector. 

2. Environmental Benefits
Green building techniques significantly reduce the environmental impact of construction projects. By using sustainable materials, conserving energy and water, and implementing waste management strategies, sustainable construction helps in: 

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, combating climate change, and preserving natural resources. 
  • Conserving biodiversity and promoting ecological balance. 
  • Minimising air and water pollution. 
  • Mitigating the urban heat island effect and improving microclimate conditions. 
  • Enhancing resilience to climate change impacts.

3. Health and Well-being Benefits
Green buildings prioritise the health and well-being of occupants. By incorporating features such as improved indoor air quality, ample natural light, and the use of non-toxic materials, sustainable construction contributes to: 
  • Enhanced indoor environmental quality, reducing airborne pollutants and promoting better respiratory health. 
  • Increased occupant comfort, productivity, and overall satisfaction. 
  • Reduced absenteeism and improved mental well-being. 
  • Access to green spaces, promoting physical activity and stress relief. 

4. Social Benefits
Sustainable construction also brings social benefits to communities. By creating job opportunities, stimulating the local economy, and promoting social equity, sustainable construction contributes to: 

  • Job creation and skill development in the green building industry. 
  • Enhanced community resilience to natural disasters through the construction of resilient buildings. 
  • Increased access to affordable and energy-efficient housing, addressing social disparities. 
  • Promotion of social inclusion and equity in the built environment. 

5. Long-term Sustainability
Sustainable construction practices ensure the long-term sustainability of buildings and the built environment. By designing and constructing durable, energy-efficient, and environmentally responsible buildings, sustainable construction: 
  • Reduces the need for frequent renovations and repairs, minimising waste and resource consumption. 
  • Promotes the use of renewable energy sources, reducing reliance on fossil fuels. 
  • Supports the circular economy by incorporating principles of reuse, recycling, and resource efficiency. 
  • Contributes to the achievement of global sustainability goals, such as net-zero carbon emissions targets. 

The Bottom Line 

Sustainable construction, achieved through the adoption of green building techniques, offers a wide range of benefits. By prioritising the use of sustainable materials, energy-efficient technologies, and green design strategies, sustainable construction contributes to a more environmentally friendly, economically viable, and socially responsible built environment. The methods and benefits of sustainable construction, including its positive impact on the environment, economy, health, and well-being, make it a crucial approach in addressing the challenges of climate change and creating a sustainable future for generations to come.  


Look no further, Tunley's sustainability consultants can work with you and assist you on your sustainable journey.