The Concept of Green Buildings

The Concept of Green Buildings

Green Buildings are Eco Friendly Structures

When the pre historic man constructed a hut for the first time using bamboo trees and coconut leaves to protect himself from sun and rain, he was starting to exploit nature for his humble needs. Apart from killing the trees he also disturbed the natural habitat of the insects and birds in those trees and interfered in the cycles of nature. That was a beginning.

Now, it is beyond imagination, how much damage has been inflicted on earth by the construction of various types of buildings using sand and water from the rivers, stones from the mountains, cement manufactured from the ingredients dug from the land. In addition, carbon emission from the buildings and manufacture of construction materials warm up the air and space.

But, after getting conscious about the environment and after feeling the environmental responsibilities, the way our people try to address this problem is wonderful. One of the intelligent initiative is the concept of “Green Buildings”.

The concept of Green Buildings envision a new approach to save water, energy and material resources in the construction and maintenance of the buildings and can reduce or eliminate the adverse impact of buildings on the environment and occupants.

 Concept of Green Buildings
A model plan of a Green Building

By preferring Green Building over a conventional building we help this planet earth and the people to retain nature to a maximum extent possible in three ways with reference to the location of the buildings.

1. Retain the external environment at the location of the building.
2. Improve internal environment for the occupants
3. Preserve the environment at places far away from the building

Green Buildings Retain the Environment at the location of the Building.

Suppose we propose a multi-storied office complex to accommodate thousands of officers and staff, it requires a vast area. Therefore selection of a site for such a building complex should consider retention of local vegetation, wild life, natural water courses etc. Either a site with bio diversity should be avoided or the building should be planned to reduce site disturbance.

 Concept of Green Buildings
Concept cross section of a Green Building

Land :The landscaping and the exterior design in a green building shall be in such a way that there is more shaded area, the light trespass is eliminated and local species of plants are grown.

Water : The green building by its design and shape shall not disrupt the natural water flows, it should orient and stand just like a tree. Rain falling over the whole area of the complex shall be harvested in full either to replenish the ground water table in and around the building or to be utilized in the services of the building. The toilets shall be fitted with low flesh fixtures. The plumbing system should have separate lines for drinking and flushing. Grey water from kitchenette, bath and laundry shall be treated and reused for gardening or in cooling towers of air conditioning.

Energy: The solar energy at the top of a green building is harvested to supplement the conventional energy,. The natural light is harvested in the intermediate floors to minimize the usage of electricity. Sunlight is restricted by the high grown trees outside the lower floors of the building. High efficiency light fixtures make a pleasant lighting apart from saving the energy. High-efficiency windows and insulation in walls, ceilings, and floors are used for the benefit of better temperature control.

Green buildings improve internal environment for the occupants

Light: In a designed green building the occupants shall feel as if they are in outdoor location. The interior and exterior designs shall go hand in hand by blending the natural and artificial lighting and presenting transparent views wherever possible.

Air: In the air conditioned environment, a green building shall be specially equipped to ensure the Indoor Air Quality for a healthy atmosphere. Even the nasal feelings shall be pleasant free from the odour of paints and furnishings.

A comfortable atmosphere at work stations improve the attendance of the staff and increase the productivity.

 Concept of Green Buildings
Model elevation of another Green Building

Green buildings preserve the environment at places far away from the buildings.

We all know that a building is constructed using cement, sand, steel, stones, bricks, and a lot of finishing materials. These materials are quarried or procured from far way from the location of the buildings. Building materials are responsible for about 20 percent of the greenhouse gasses emitted by a building during its lifetime,.

Green buildings shall use the products that are non-toxic, reusable, renewable, and/or recyclable wherever possible. Locally manufactured products are prefered so that the collective material environment of the locality remains a constant and moreover the fuel for the transport of materials is saved.

As we see, our food and domestic products are tagged with green as a fashion of eco-friendly practices, building materials are also going green. The futuristic green buildings are to use green materials which are in research stage now.

Green wood : A Stanford team has done a research for wood alternate. Hemp fibers and biodegradable plastic when pressed together and heated form layers and this material is as strong as wood. When buried in land fill, it degrades faster. This wood creates more raw materials when it breaks down. Microbes produce methane gas when they decompose this wood substitute and other debris thrown into landfills. Another type of bacteria absorbs this gas and turns it into plastic that can be used to create a new wooden plank. By this cycle, there is a continuous source of raw material for this wood. When this material at research comes to market, it may help to control deforestation and promote the rainfall.

Green Cement: Bruce Constantz at Calera, based in Los Gatos, has developed a green method to produce both cement and aggregate, another component of Concrete. Their method sequesters Carbon Di Oxide from power plant flues and mixes the gas with sea water to produce the mineral raw materials of concrete. For every ton of green cement Calera manufactures half a ton of fly ash from coal plants is used apart from preventing production and emission of Corbon Di Oxide.

Other Green Building materials: Renewable plant materials like bamboo (because bamboo grows quickly) and straw, lumber from forests ecology blocks, dimension stone.recycled stone, recycled metal are some of the other materials used in a Green Building.

 Concept of Green Buildings
Savings due to Green Buildings


The Buildings constructed based on the Green concepts should confirm to the prescribed standards. There should be continuous assessment and monitoring from the planning/design stage up to the completion of construction, for declaring a building as a Green Building.

For this, LEED ( Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ) Green Building Rating system is followed. In this system points are awarded for adopting Green concepts in various categories and the Buildings are certified Green at levels such as Silver, Gold or Platinam based on the total number of points they get in LEED Rating.

 Concept of Green Buildings
The CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre (also known as CII or CIIGBC) earned a LEED® rating of 56 credits and became certified “LEED Platinum” in 2003;

Measurement / Audit for Green Concept in Buildings

Categories for Rating LEED points
Sustainable site 12
Water efficiency 8
Energy and atmosphere 17
Material and resources 13
Indoor Environment Quality 15
Design process and innovation 4
Employing LEED designer 1
Total points 70

Certification for Green Buildings

Level Points required
LEED Certified 26 to 32
Silver Level 33 to 38
Gold Level 40 to 52
Platinam Level 53 and above

There are only few Certified Green Buildings in India. But it is good to know that the awareness is gathering momentum and we look forward for a greener future.

Unpolluted Water,  Soil,  Mountains and thick Forests
are the Forts defending a Land

( Thiruvalluvar 742)

Written by Malarthamil on the eve of observing World Environment Day on June 5

Malarthamil is a civil engineer and writer-poet inspired by Thirukkural – a classical Tamil poetry that expounds various aspects of life.

41 thoughts on “The Concept of Green Buildings

  1. We installed a radiant barrier from and were very pleased with the results and their customer service. They have a lot of advice about installations and very detailed explanations of how radiant barriers work.

  2. Thanks Tim for your information.

    Radiantguard may have good future in India, if it can be used in the roof of the top floor to cool down the room temperature of the top floor. Most of the roof areas in the Indian houses are used for drying home made foods, pickles, cloth etc. Some grow roof gardens.And we sleep in the free air too. The summers are very hot.One may have to find out the ways of using suitable material to apply over the roof without affecting domestic use of the roof.

  3. I will come up with percentage cost after some more analysis. The debate goes on about the cost, Some estimating too high and some saying that it needs no extra budget. However we have to see tangible and intangible benefits. The benefit of Green cannot be compared.

    One of the new system in the upgrading of old buildings developed by quality circle in which I was a participant was selected for national level presentation in Singapore. It was selected competing with five other projects showing tangible benefits. A project which saved more papers and manhours rather than money was recognised to the heartburn of the rest of the competitors. That is my flash back.


    ‘A 2004 study by Davis Langdon Adamson, a construction cost-planning and management company, found that the first costs of constructing a sustainable building tend to match or only slightly exceed those of comparable non-green buildings. The study, Costing Green: A Comprehensive Cost Database and Budgeting Methodology measured the square-foot construction costs of 61 buildings seeking certification under the LEED green building rating system against those of buildings of similar type that did not aim for sustainability. Taking into account a range of construction factors including climate, location, market conditions and local standards, the study found that for many of the green projects, pursuing LEED certification had little or no budgetary impact. ‘

  4. Please send the details of Air and Water Purity Levels , Sound Levels, Lighting Perfection data , Building Orientaion to avoid high radiation Transmission into Buildings.
    or send the web site addressess in which data ias available.

  5. isn’t culture and religion another strong aspect of green buildings. Eg. as buddhist we respect life (all organisms including plant life.) our cultures are essentially intertwined with our religion. therefore could not green buildings be our religious belief and cultural practice.

  6. I need some tips on green building concepts.Along with some of my freinds Iam going for a green home project , where we are intending to build an appartment at Bhubaneswar,Orissa. Can u provide me how to proceed in this project?

    Ramesh bamidi

  7. We are a design and consultancy firm.
    I would like to know about green building products.. how the can be used for a individual bungalow or a mass housing projects.. we wish to implement/ use them at our projects.

    I would like to attained seminar on this subject in pune.



  8. Please can you tell me how green buildings can be incorporated into the cultural, religious and sociological practices in India? its for my dissertation

  9. For Helen and others

    The queries regarding Green homes and traditional green concepts have to be addressed after deep studies and I fear I cannot come up with replies immediately.

    The Chettinad homes of Tamil Nadu are examples of Green Homes. You have to visit Karaikudi in Tamil nadu to see it yourself on how traditionally the green concepts were followed in Housing

    Except for use of wood, the Chettinad houses can be called green houses for adopting natural light and ventillation concepts. You can see or any other site after searching for Chettinad homes.



  11. We are looking for building materials and methods for green buildings (multystoried ) in and around New Delhi also if you could suggest a contractor / supplier for the same. Looking forward to your reply. Thanx

  12. hi..iam very intigrued by ur site.its very nice.guess wht we are doing final year civil project on this same subject.well we need more data for the same…pls help if possible

  13. pls send me the information about environmental friendly construction matarials
    We are looking for building materials and methods for green buildings (multystoried ) in and around New Delhi also if you could suggest a contractor / supplier for the same. Looking forward to your reply. Thanks

  14. we need details about green building ,what are the raw material used in green building?(specially in hill area like Ooty)advantage and disadvantage of green building ?what are the concept in green building its not affect the environment?recent project of green building kindly help me

  15. I want latest tech. or multiple option in sustainable green buildings or technique to convert any house into energy efficient house.

  16. Could you please send me information of sustainable materials for green buildings, for example how concrete steel and masonry for instance can be manufactured in a way that is environmental friendly? Please help. I’m busy with my thesis on green buildings

    SC Jonker
    South Africa

  17. I am a Lead Auditor for QMS ISO 9001 & EMS ISO 14001 and consultant for Certification to ISO 9001 & ISO 14001. I want to have Training on Green Building Concepts and also to implement this concept in Industry. What will be the procedure.

  18. Please give me complete report about green building concept and some examples. i have to prepare a college presentation. Await your reply at the earliest.Thank you……

  19. Please send me information and if possible electrical layouts for Green Building Lighting and electrification processes.

  20. Dear all,

    I handle the interior-glasses division of Saint Gobain for Kerala. I hereby, will like to introduce to all of you a completely green designer glass which can help you fetch more points while constructing Green Buildings. Our glass is free of Volatile Components like Arsenic, Formaldehyde, Lead and Copper.

    It is called Planilaque Evolution and is the best laquered glass available on the planet. It is available in 10 shades and has a coating of imported polyurethane laquer which does not peel off or fade away and is humid resistant, making it suitable for use in kitchens and bathrooms as well.

    It can replace paint, tiles, granite, marble etc on your walls and double the aesthetic appeal as well. This glass can be used for various applications like lift area cladding, pillar and wall cladding, table top applications, partitions and more.

    These glasses add to the beauty of your interiors more than anything / everything else.

    For further clarifications please visit the Saint Gobain website or just contact me.

    My mobile number is:


  21. Is planilaque available with the Saint Gobain Dealers? I have been using back painted glass so far and that either fades off or the paint starts peeling off after some time. I read somewhere that it nowadays is replacing the local painted glass in prestigious contructions. But I want to wait for some more time before I go for it and see some more applications of it.

  22. hi,

    Thanks to Malarthamil and Mr.George for a simple explanation and valuable in puts. Really Helpful.

  23. can i have detail abt how to convert conventional buildings into green building..???
    how to evaluvate water consumption..??
    if any one know send the details into my mail

  24. this is very nice . if we want to do some projects we can retrieve information from you r site .the information’s that are taken from your site have been the main information of our project . thanks for your site….

  25. After searching for quite sometime for information on green building concept, I have come across this informatory document.
    It is very useful for understanding the green building/construction concepts.
    I wish to acquire more information on the materials and other procedures to be followed while constructing green buildings since
    we intend to construct a resort-cum-convention centre with green building concepts, very soon.
    Please advice how to get the information.

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