This paper purports to dig into affordable, sustainable housing through a project in which both the environment and affordability are key factors. In an all-encompassing effort to abridge the environmental impact of building, this paper assays that both affordability and sustainability can complement each other in a project to establish an eco-friendly environment.
Part one of this paper, “Sustainability and affordability in the design” lunges a functioning distinction between affordability and sustainability and proceeds to proffer a fabric of green building objectives. Additionally, it is discovered that the green building program excels in the following areas: durability, indoor environmental quality and efficiency. Furthermore, the program is depicted as being extremely progressive with regards to its long-term sustainability courtesy of the continued in-depth research that is focalized on industry transformation and the analysis of the environmental impact of energy use in a panoptic context.
Part two of this paper, “Sustainable materials that are both attractive and affordable,” discourses anteceding experiences in building and current projects which have incorporated the green building program. An attempt is made to expatiate on cost, sustainability, durability, attractiveness and eco-friendliness of the materials which can be used in green housing. The following observations are thus put forward:
• In the formative stages of the design process, the green building objectives should be addressed exhaustively.
• Collaborative efforts with green building programs can inspire market transformation.
• Green building programs can present an effectual method of on-site quality assurance.
With a basis on these observations, the following recommendation is drawn:
• Builders should embrace green home construction activities – In spite of the possible challenges, green building programs can be used in securing builder commitment to advanced research in coming up with affordable and sustainable eco-friendly homes.
If due consideration is accorded to the recommendation above, green building programs can shift the paradigm of the residential housing towards affordable, sustainable eco-friendly homes.
Global warming is a grievous problem that poses serious threats not only to the present world, but to the future world, as well. In order to reverse or halt this problem, it is a prerequisite that the society must learn how to alter what they utilize in order to minimize the harmful effects it may be having on the environment. Engaging in green housing is a plausible effort towards providing a solution towards this pandemonium (Yudelson 2008).
Green building is gradually becoming a force to reckon with in the construction industry. Over the past couple of years, there has been an upsurge in green building programs for new housing. Consumers are being enlightened on the benefits of green housing; product manufacturers are progressively becoming cognizant of the environmental benefits of their products; constructors are adopting new technologies and techniques that intend to scale down on environmental impact, and design professionals are recasting their roles in order to streamline them with green design objectives.
In contrast to mature industry products, green buildings are not readymade. Therefore, builders are compelled to sell the environmental properties of their products within the market conditions instituted by the consumer demand. The compounding of an altering marketplace and external bionomical and social imperatives poses the residential building industry with a chance to offer a new, valuable contribution to society. Moreover, an in-depth comprehension of environmental issues and the known reactions to them is likely to be necessitated if the current environmental problems are to be addressed in a meaningful and timely way. This project proposes to explore affordable, sustainable housing in which the environment is a key factor. Moreover, it proceeds to prove that both affordability and sustainability can complement each other in an effort to create an eco-friendly environment.
Sustainability and affordability in design
Sustainable design practices make substantial contributions towards affordable housing. As is known, the construction of buildings contributes approximately 40-50% of the aggregate greenhouse gas emissions. It is also crucial to note that transportation of building materials to the site accounts for approximately 20%. (Wells 2007) In the light of this, housing providers can no longer vindicate constructing buildings that do not denigrate their carbon footprint. Furthermore, it is decipherable that sustainable practices can oftentimes significantly conduce towards long-term affordability.
Many a times, it has been presumed that affordability can be preponderantly achieved by utilizing economies of scale and cutting down on design and material cost. As a result, affordable housing developments were contrived based on bottom-line instrumental metrics (Quale 2012). This happened at the expense of the creation of energy efficient, context-responsive, convivial and healthy environments. These housing units were inefficient in their use of materials, energy and water, and often created unhealthy interior environments due to degradation.
Sustainable design and architecture can cut back on the annual operating costs for housing developers. In turn, this may render them capable of constructing more or affordable units that are eco-friendly. It can be accomplished through a wide range of means, such as designing efficient housing units that scale down energy use (Roaf 2007); minimize the construction waste; and use durable and inexpensive materials to repair equipment, hardware, fixtures and finishes.
Sustainable, attractive and affordable materials
A relation exists between sustainability and high cost. However, this is not always the case. Through the years, companies involved in architecture and design have come up with several materials that offer alternatives to the traditional materials normally used. Through embracing integrated interior design, an affordable, durable and eco-friendly environment can be achieved (Yudelson 2008). As an interior designer, it is necessary to be able to identify affordable, durable yet beautiful materials that can be used to decorate a room (Burnham 2009).
Flooring is an elemental part of interior design. It brings comfort alongside aestheticism to any space. Flooring is done using several different materials. They include hardwood, marble, tiles among others. The traditional materials used in flooring have however, brought about environmental degradation. For example, in order to provide hardwood floors deforestation takes place, thus leading to a decline in the forest cover consequently resulting in global warming. In a bid to promote green housing, the LEED has proposed the use of eco-friendly materials for flooring. Among these is bamboo flooring. Bamboo is a plant that grows in mountainous areas and along river banks. It grows like grass but nevertheless it has a very hard stem. When the stem is strand woven, it results in a hard material which can be used for flooring purposes. This floor is said to be two and a half times as hard and as durable as oak. Additionally, it does not require much maintenance thence it is cost effective and saves energy. Another alternative is coco tiles that are created from recycled coconut shells discarded during harvesting. Normally, these shells would be burnt resulting in environmental and air pollution. These coco tiles can be used to decorate furniture and walls. Other options include cork flooring that provides slip resistant and durable floors which are not easily stained. Bamboo flooring, coco tiles and cork flooring are very attractive. They provide a rustic yet classy feel to the house. They are highly long-lasting and easy to clean.
Paints are well known for the beauty they bring to a room. They set the ambience of the room thus affect the mood of the individuals in the room. Despite their obvious benefit in interior design, they have proven to be hazardous. Paints contain chemicals such as VOCs (volatile organic compounds), biocides, fungicides and pigments. These chemicals function to increase the shelf life of paints; they prevent the formation of mildew on the painted surfaces and give the paints their pigmentation. They contaminate the indoor and outdoor environment. They are believed to cause health problems such as cancer and problems with the heart, kidneys and lungs (Kats 2009). However, in a bid to promote environmental friendly and healthy alternatives to the traditional paints, paints such as Natura paints have been developed. This paint has zero VOC concentration thus it does not have the same strong smell produced by paints that are produced by paints that contain VOCs. However, this comes at the expense of the variety of colours available. In spite of this shortcoming, Natura paints are easy to apply, durable and eco-friendly providing a safe indoor and outdoor environment.
A ceiling is an overhead surface of an interior space. There are different ceiling designs. They include cathedral ceilings, barrel vault ceilings, tray ceilings and many others. The design used usually depends on the type room and what it is used for. For instance, it is ideal to have a cove ceiling in a dining room. Traditionally, materials such as plaster and plasterboards, wood, metals and ceiling tiles were used to make ceilings. Use of these materials incorporated the use of toxic substances that are not environmental friendly. They include PVC, phthalate and plasticizer content. In addition, they have high VOC concentration. These contribute to polluting the air within that room. However, eco-friendly alternatives such as bio based tiles are now available. These tiles have the same aesthetic value as the traditional VCT but they are less toxic as they have very little or no VOCs. They are made from recycled limestone and bio stride which is an organic compound created from plants. They are thus more affordable than the traditional VCT. Another environmentally friendly alternative is the use of skylights. Skylights are a fenestration through which there is transmission of light. It may cover a part of the ceiling or may be the whole ceiling. Skylights allow the entry of natural light in a room thus there is enough lighting and heat. This reduces the use of artificial light thence resulting in reduced cost of energy. Additionally, the natural light provides a relaxed and warm ambience in the room thus adding to the beauty of the room.
Lighting plays a vital role in the ambience of the room. It affects the moods of the people in the room and contributes to the desirability of the room. During the daytime, internal lighting can be provided by natural sources such as the sun. In the field of design this is referred to as day lighting. At night, light bulbs and other artificial sources of light may be used. Day lighting can be achieved through the use of windows, skylights, clerestory windows and light reflectors. The use of natural light contributes greatly to the ambience of a room and to the health of the inhabitants of the room as they are provided with vitamin D. Additionally, day lighting is cost effective as it integrates the use of a free source of energy, the sun. The sun is renewable thus there is no risk of its depletion. Thus it is more durable and sustainable than artificial sources of lighting. Natural sources of energy such as solar energy, wind energy and hydro energy are also used for other energy requirements such as heating (Roaf 2007). Moreover, eco-friendly bulbs can also be used for lighting. These bulbs are energy efficient and also more durable than traditional incandescent light bulbs.
Unimpeachably, green building is progressing rapidly in both popularity and importance. It has also been proven to be successful. For instance, in Pittsburg Pennsylvania, a precast concrete manufacturing factory was constructed using eco-friendly materials. Upon close observation, it was realized that the facility`s productivity had increased by 25% and its energy usances had declined by 30%.
Contrary to antecedent practices in building, it can be deduced that the adoption of green building program reduces the construction cost and environmental degradation since the materials used are readily available are eco-friendly. Furthermore, the program is depicted as being extremely progressive with regards to its long-term sustainability courtesy of the continued in-depth research that is focalized on industry transformation and the analysis of the environmental impact of energy use in a panoptic context. Therefore, in spite of its challenges, builders and designers should embrace green home construction activities
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