What is a green building and why is it important?

What is a green building and why is it important?

The construction sector is responsible for 37% of total energy-related carbon emissions worldwide. According to forecasts, by 2050 almost 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas, which will require twice as much building stock. The negative impact of the construction sector is the result of the production and processing of building materials, as well as the process of construction and operation of buildings. With this in mind, green building practices are a critical part of the global fight against climate change and environmental protection. This requires urgent action to reduce the negative impact and use more sustainable and resource-efficient construction practices.

Here are some principles that green building should meet:

• efficient use of energy, water and other resources;

• use of renewable energy sources;

• reduction of pollution and waste, while increasing the possibility of reuse and recycling of materials;

• use of environmentally friendly, sustainable materials;

• taking into account the impact on the environment during design, construction and operation;

• taking into account the quality of life of residents and users in the design, construction and operation.

Advantages and investment potential of green building

While green buildings still require a certification process and can potentially have higher capital investments, they have a number of potential advantages over traditional buildings. Benefits include preferential insurance and loan rates, lower operating costs, clearly defined certification standards and increased resilience to climate change and extreme weather events.

On average, green buildings in the United States consume 25% less energy, and operating and maintenance costs are 10-20% lower than traditional buildings, which increases the potential long-term return on investment. According to IFC, green buildings achieve at least 20% higher energy efficiency compared to a traditional building that does not have an energy efficient design.

Achieving the goals of the 1.5C Paris Agreement requires no less than a complete transformation of how buildings and infrastructure are designed, built and operated. From an investment point of view, the market for new green buildings will represent an investment potential of $ 24.7 trillion in developing countries by 2030.

Improving the energy efficiency of buildings in Ukraine

Ukraine has gradually implemented programs to stimulate renovation and energy efficiency of buildings. In 2014, the government introduced loans for home insulation. Insulation of old buildings can reduce heating consumption by an average of 19.5%. In 6 years, more than 850 families have benefited from the Warm Loans program. Also, in Ukraine the insulation of public buildings was actively carried out. In 2019, the Ukrainian government, with the support of the EU and the German government, established an Energy Efficiency Fund to support condominiums. As of March 2021, almost 400 projects are being implemented under the Energodim program, and these projects unite more than 30,000 families.

Why it is important to consider green building in the reconstruction of Ukraine?

In Europe, more than 75% of buildings were built before the entry into force of green building legislation. The EU requires Member States, city and regional authorities to renovate a small percentage of buildings each year to meet their 2030 emission reduction targets. These efforts are expected to lead to a 20-fold increase in the pace of green building renovations across the region over the next decade. It is important for Ukraine to implement European approaches to strategic planning and implementation of state policy in the field of energy efficiency and construction, and to develop new sectors of production for environmentally friendly construction. After winning the war, Ukraine has a chance to rebuild public and residential buildings according to new principles. Reconstruction of public and residential buildings must comply with the principles of green building. Increased energy efficiency, modern materials, new communication systems, bomb shelters and fortified car parks all require significant investment, but are financially viable in the long run, as living standards will rise, utility costs will fall and housing will become safer.

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