A green building yields high returns when it comes to energy savings, positively impacts the environment, reduces the use of natural resources and is cost-effective. Green buildings integrate numerous measures to reduce electricity consumption. Green technologies and designs focus on reducing operational energy that caters for services like powering and heating. This allows green buildings to use less operational energy which is facilitated by the use of passive solar building design for heating and lighting; wall, ceiling and floor insulation; and the use of renewable energy sources.
Zero-energy buildings refer to green engineering designs that primarily focus on the use of energy from renewable sources to ensure improved and more energy-efficient buildings and homes. Examples of renewable energy sources include wind and solar power which allows the building to operate independently of the power supply from the main electric grid. Apart from saving energy, the use of zero-energy design reduces greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
Smart glass and low-emittance windows are energy-efficient technology that are integral components of green buildings. They are glass materials coated with metallic oxide to block away the harsh solar radiation during summer and reduce heat emittance from within the house during winter. Smart glass is made to reflect the sun’s UV rays, thereby keeping the interiors cool. It allows in as much day-light as possible, considerably reducing the need for artificial lighting during the day, thereby reducing electricity bills. Smart glass is energy-efficient and at the same time, helps you increase the aesthetic value of your green structure. The result is minimised dependence on air conditioning thereby reducing electricity consumption.
Cool roofs reflect heat and sunlight. This keeps homes at the standard room temperatures as it lowers heat absorption and thermal emittance. The design makes use of reflective paints and special tiles which absorb less heat and reflect most of the solar radiation. Cool roofs can significantly reduce temperatures during summer which minimise the dependence on air conditioning.
Shades can reduce heat, glare and energy cost. While people enjoy having natural sunlight coming through the windows, the heat from the sun can affect the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning load. You can easily manage natural light with automatic motorised shades, which can be programmed to rise or lower, thus keeping the lighting, temperature and energy costs at optimum levels.
Many areas within a building might not be occupied for extended periods, such as restrooms and storage rooms. If lights remain switched on in rooms that are not being used, the total energy usage and costs can really add up. Room and area occupancy sensors can turn off the electricity when it is simply not needed. These sensors will ultimately pay for themselves in energy savings.
Light dimmers are very effective energy savers, and dimmers combined with timers or occupancy sensors are even more effective at reducing energy consumption. One common practice is to set the starting lighting level at 50%. If more light is needed, it can be turned up. Dimmers not only reduce energy usage, but they can also extend bulb life. Incandescent and halogen bulbs have been shown to last up to 20 times longer when used with a dimmer. And when used with LED bulbs, the savings can be even greater.