We spend most of our waking hours, in fact, most of our lives, inside buildings – schools, offices apartments. What many don’t realize is that this time spent inside is making us sick. There is a term called Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). SBS describes the situation where the time people spend in a particular structure, results in symptoms of poor health for its residents.
There is also an impact on the surrounding environment. Poorly designed and poorly maintained buildings are responsible for almost 50% of carbon emissions.
Modern, mass-produced building materials that emit volatile organic chemicals (VOC’s), combustion pollutants from poorly maintained heating systems, bioaerosols from inadequate moisture control, poorly designed ventilation systems, heavy metals in the paint of older buildings, and toxic cleaning supplies are a few of the causes of bad air quality and illness.
Green Diamond Builders
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Chris Jafarieh is the co-founder of Green Diamond, a division of Blaqk Diamond Group. He is making both the moral and business case for buildings that are cleaner and more sustainable. He believes that buildings should be designed and operated to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment
There will always be a need for more housing and more office buildings. Doesn’t it make sense to bring more light, air, and sustainable practices to these spaces? The answer is, it does. From both a business and health sense.
The problem is that real estate investors, architects, builders and residents are different stakeholders with different interests. For the investors, many of which are hedge funds, the internal rate of return is the most important aspect of the building process. How that building will impact the health of its residents and of the community 5,10, or 20 years from when it’s completed is not usually part of the design and construction process.
Chris has created a financial model that allows builders to create structures where design, location, rain capture, raw materials, energy usage, and waste consumption all enter into the equation.
LEED-certified green buildings, green hold their value better than conventional construction. When owners resell them, green buildings are 40% more valuable per square foot.
Bringing The Outside In
There is growing demand for making sustainability a part of the building process. But it needs to happen more quickly. Employees, consumers, tenants, and neighborhood residents must all demand that the spaces they’re working in and living around, should be green. When we say “green,” we are talking about buildings that replicate, as close as possible, the benefits of being outside.
The government has a role to play in the form of tax subsidies to builders who build green.
Older buildings could also be retrofitted with more energy efficient windows and HVAC replacements.
Construction material selection, the location of the building site to take advantage of energy efficiencies, using renewable energy sources, becoming carbon neutral, a water reduction strategy, and an energy efficiency plan are all ways to make the space better for its residents and the community, and more profitable for the investors.
Learn more about their important work at BlaqkDiamondGroup.com
Original story with transcripts can be found at www.theurbanmonk.com