SUSTAINABLE BUILDING TECHNOLOGY
Sustainable building is all about energy efficient
design, conservation of resources and healthy living for you and
your family. As sustainable homes and lifestyles become increasingly
popular, "green," or environmentally friendly home building
supplies have become more common and are getting cheaper all the
time. There are a number of ways to make an environmentally friendly
house and there are alternatives and options for every economic
Frequently Asked Questions
Why sustainable building?
The building sector has the greatest potential to reduce CO2 emissions.
Currently, 30% of global CO2 emissions and 40% of global resource
consumption (3 billion tons of raw materials annually) is a result
of constructing buildings.
The concept of sustainable building incorporates
a variety of strategies during the design and construction of building
projects. The use of green building materials and products can offer
many benefits to the owner and occupants:
- Reduced maintenance/replacement costs over
the life of the building.
- Energy conservation.
- Improved occupant health and productivity.
- Lower costs associated with changing space configurations.
- Greater design flexibility.
Using green building materials and products lessens
the environmental impact of your home or business and promotes conservation
of dwindling non-renewable resources internationally. In addition,
integrating green building materials into building projects can
help reduce the environmental impacts associated with the extraction,
transport, processing, fabrication, installation, reuse, recycling,
and disposal of these building industry source materials.
What is a green building
product or material?
Green building materials are composed of renewable, rather than
nonrenewable resources. Green materials are environmentally responsible
because impacts are considered over the life of the product.
What materials are energy
- Products with identifiable recycled content.
- Materials that are harvested from sustainably managed sources
and preferably have an independent certification (e.g. certified
wood) and are certified by an independent third party.
- Products that are manufactured with resource-efficient processes
including reducing energy consumption, minimising waste (recycled,
recyclable and or source reduced product packaging) and reducing
- Building materials, components and systems found locally
or regionally saving energy and resources in transportation to the
- Materials that are salvaged, refurbished, or remanufactured.
- Reusuable and recyclable materials that can be easily dismantled
and reused or recycled at the end of their useful life.
- Products enclosed in recycled content or recyclable packaging.
- Durable materials that are longer lasting than conventional
What materials can I use
to enhance Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)?
- Low or non-toxic materials that emit few or no carcinogens,
reproductive toxicants, or irritants.
- Products that have minimal emissions of Volatile Organic
- Materials installed with minimal VOC-producing compounds,
or no-VOC mechanical attachment methods and minimal hazards.
- Moisture resistant products and systems that resist moisture
or inhibit the growth of biological contaminants in buildings.
- Materials, components, and systems that require only simple,
non-toxic, or low-VOC methods of cleaning.
- Products that promote healthy IAQ by identifying indoor air
pollutants or enhancing the air quality.
How do I make my home or
business more energy efficient?
Incorporate natural light into the house design. Energy-efficient
windows can help with heating and cooling as well as providing ample
natural light, reducing the need to use electric lights and lowering
energy costs of the house.
You can go further by using photovoltaic panels
to provide green electricity. Recent subsidies, grants and incentives
such as the Renewable Heat Incentive and the Feed in Tariff schemes,
let owners of renewable energy systems generate an income. Solar
PV (Photovoltaics) systems earn an income for all of the electricity
that is produced, whether it is used onsite or exported, for a period
of 25 years. This has made investing in green energy technologies
far more attractive.
Or you could take advantage of the energy in the
Earth using a geothermal system to heat and cool your home. You
could also install an Exhaust Air Recovery System, solar thermal
heating or under-floor heating, which all help to make your home
or business as energy efficient as possible.
You could also include a greywater system. Water
from washing clothes and showering can be reused for other purposes
such as flushing toilets. Building the greywater system is inexpensive
since it requires minimal additional plumbing, but it also reduces
long-term costs and thus makes the house or business more affordable
These days it is possible to build a home or business
that is efficient, environmentally-friendly and affordable. Whether
you are looking simply to cut your carbon footprint or looking to
reduce your domestic or commercial dependency on rising energy costs,
rising fuel prices and rising oil prices, AFA will be happy to advise
you on the best way forward.