Most people now recognize the energy savings benefits of green buildings. These buildings use less water, energy and other natural resources. In some cases, they can increase biodiversity, produce their own energy and reduce the urban heat island effect.
Recent research shows that green buildings can also improve the health and productivity of those who live or work inside them. In some cases, green buildings can have the same benefits as spending time in nature, which can benefit people living in cold climates.
Green buildings cost five to 10 per cent more than a conventional buildings. Some planners might worry about the added design and construction costs of a green building. But detailed analyses show that the small increase in building costs has noticeable benefits on the health and wellness of those working or living inside the building — or nearby.
Buildings with green roofs, green walls, green interior decoration or those surrounded by green infrastructure are all considered to be green buildings. These buildings usually contain algae, grass, herbs, vegetables or other leafy green or micro-green plants on their interior or exterior surfaces.
Covering the roof of an uninsulated building with plants reduces the amount of energy used in heating by up to five per cent in the winter, and the cooling energy by as much as 33 per cent in summer, which saves money. It also reduces daytime indoor temperature fluctuations in the absence of air conditioning.