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Ajay K Gupta Managing Director Kamtech Associates Pvt Ltd., Jaipur General Design Strategies – Siting, Land Use, and Landscaping – Energy Systems – Products and Materials Environment friendly, use of local materials and better energy management concepts and low cost. "I'd like to include green features, but the budget just isn't high enough." "Green building is just for wealthy clients." All too often we hear these claims. And, indeed, a lot of elements of environmentally responsible building do cost more - at least in the short term. We're talking about first-cost here - how much more (if any) it costs to incorporate green features into a building project. Life-cycle costs are different. Environment friendly, use of local materials and better energy management concepts and low cost t. It would be wonderful if life-cycle costs were considered as a matter of course in building design today - but they are not. Most of us in the building profession are forced to deal almost solely with first-cost in justifying our projects. To address this issue - and to counter the perception that building green has to cost more – this paper addresses various issues and checklist of design strategies, building practices, and material substitutions that will cost no more than - or actually cost less than - conventional practice. By no means should this list be considered complete in terms of what can be done on a tight budget. With good integration of all the disciplines on a design team, it is possible to incorporate, within budget, many strategies that taken alone would increase costs. Some Cautions on a Low-Cost Agenda As we examine green design strategies and construction practices that reduce (or at least do not increase) construction costs, it is important to point out that limiting oneself to only those strategies that keep first-costs low may not be in the best long-term interest of the client. Sure, we can create better buildings (from an environmental standpoint) while spending less money, but realize that too strict a policy on avoiding those strategies that increase first-cost may result in lost opportunities for even more significant savings down the road. Yes, we should pay attention to low-cost strategies, but we should also pay attention to some of the higher first-cost strategies that can significantly reduce life-cycle costs. As the green design field matures, it becomes ever more clear that integration is the key to achieving the energy and environmental goals we desire - especially if
Involving a landscape architect early in the site planning process may reduce the need for (and cost of) plantings by identifying ways to protect what is already on the site. For example. = RESIDENTIAL = COMMERCIAL Integrate the Integrated building design can often result in planning and first-cost savings. that presents an opportunity to do something better . but savings design process. but it also depends on the envelope upgrade to satisfy the building's needs. for Regulatory obstacles often pose significant challenges to green design. Create smaller Smaller. Integration is more than using the savings from one change to pay for another . A smaller chiller. including the general contractor in early discussions with the architect and engineer may identify ways to streamline the construction process.like porous pavement reduction of impervious . Depending on the design. less land during sitework. In addition to reducing project costs. Low-Cost Green Design and Construction Practices GENERAL DESIGN STRATAGIES Renovate buildings.it's about making changes that allow other changes to happen. Look opportunities created regulatory hurdles. and use less energy during operation. This is certainly the case with energy design (see below). can also be achieved in other areas of building design through careful integration. for example. thus benefiting the environment. While integration can keep construction costs down. we generally save significant quantities of materials and energy. makes money available to upgrade the envelope. older When we renovate older buildings instead of building new. disturb buildings. there may also be significant savings in time and money associated with not needing as extensive regulatory review and approvals.cost is a major driver. though the cost per unit area may be higher. but they can also by provide opportunities in some cases. if a regulatory body proposes that you spend a lot of money to put in a rain harvesting roof pond. more space-efficient buildings require fewer resources during construction. the total cost is generally lower. For example. it usually requires more time to be spent in up-front design.
Most (not all) of these are less expensive than carpeting. Pendent light fixtures. special fireproofing measures. the environmental impacts of carpeting will be avoided. Minimize east. Eliminate dropped Savings can often be achieved by eliminating dropped ceilings. Optimize orientation. should be lower. reduced floor-to-floor height (which can reduce overall building dimensions).and To minimize cooling loads in houses. and the cost of carpet can be avoided. reduce ducting requirements for conditioned air distribution simplify the reconfiguration of . material use without compromising structural performance. It costs little.surfaces. including texturing and pigmenting. Leave floor slabs Rather than carpeting a floor slab. site a building to optimize solar orientation and access prevailing breezes. additional painting. to reposition windows and modify the orientation moderately during design. and infiltration basins. these practices reduce resource use while saving money. if anything. such as deeper day lighting penetration and. leave it exposed. By reducing material use. and exposed ducts will usually be required. offsetting some of the savings. Molds and other biological pollutants exposed. locate more of the windows on the south than other orientations. The alternatives may well be less expensive. more environmentally responsible. in some cases. There are many options for attractively finishing concrete slabs. By installing fewer windows. costs windows. ceilings. Provide layout. With houses. and ultimately more palatable to neighbors and planning officials. engineering (OVE) and Avoid structural Optimal-value advanced framing are strategies for reducing over design. but other opportunities may open up as well. open Provide an open room layout in buildings to facilitate distribution of natural day lighting. rainwater catchment. will be avoided. reduce the area of windows on east and west west-facing facades. When feasible.
. undeveloped land is preserved. eliminate the need for water supply piping. and reduce material use. Save water Select sites that make use of existing infrastructure or that require minimal extension of infrastructure. and utility lines are already in place or require minimal extension. A better approach responsibly. sewer lines. By clustering buildings and preserving larger areas of open space. and so forth. we reduce the costs (and environmental impacts) of pavement. There is usually little. Optimize material use by standardizing dimensions. minimizing roadway width. is to allow that water to soak into the ground to replenish aquifers and reduce downstream flooding. Pay attention to sound control. by reducing on-site labor (for measuring and cutting). utility lines. additional cost associated with substituting water-efficient equipment. and using porous paving materials. LAND USE AND LAND SCAPING Cluster buildings. if any. Carefully planned infiltration basins and measures to reduce impermeable surfaces are generally less costly than conventional practice of rain roof harvesting and building large detention ponds. Anytime we reduce cut-off waste or use less material because we have optimized building dimensions. Waterless urinals. Design Rain Conventional practice with both residential and commercial developments is to carry rain harvesting water in underground tank. Examples include: avoiding contiguous impermeable surfaces. Where roadways. and by paying less for solid waste disposal. water. for example.space. The open space also serves to protect local ecosystems and biodiversity. the infrastructure costs of development can be significantly reduced while the environmental impacts of development are reduced and more pristine. Save water. In reducing waste we save money several ways: by buying less material. sewer. we save both resources and money. rain harvesting system.
for integrated energy example. helps preserve open space. model the energy performance of a building so that mechanical systems can be optimized. herbicides. recouped through having to spend less on plantings following construction. In most cases. by convincing the company to offer employee incentives to use public transit. the During design. shading strategies may enable you to significantly downsize . native Indigenous landscaping (prairies. Protect existing It may cost a little more to protect existing trees on a site. Protection of shade trees can allow downsizing of air conditioning equipment. though costs are variable. it costs less to landscape with native vegetation than to put in lawns. and reduces resource consumption .all while saving money. Avoid cut-and-fill.). avoid or minimize cut-and-fill practices that either carry soil off-site or bring soil onto the site. Restrict cut-and-fill to on-site movement. woodlands.) support wildlife and biodiversity far better than conventional turf. for example. paved Minimizing the driveway or access road length to a building reduces impervious surfaces. In site planning and grading plans. because cooling loads can be reduced. Also keep streets and driveways narrow. but that cost can easily be vegetation.Minimize area. Large trees around a new house may also significantly boost the property value. The latter might be done in commercial building projects. DESIGN ENERGY SYSTEMS Provide an By carrying out integrated design. . pesticides. and look for ways to reduce parking area requirements. Native landscaping also does not require irrigation and chemical treatments (fertilizer. etc. Model building. a tight. Use plantings.or even eliminate conventional heating and/or cooling equipment. etc. desert gardens. well-insulated building envelope with high-performance glazings and design.
and . reduced floorto-floor height in multi-story buildings. significant energy savings for lighting and cooling can often be achieved even while first-costs are reduced. Consider floors.). while high SHGC glazings make sense on south orientations when passive solar and day lighting are being utilized. easier reconfiguration of spaces.be obtained at lower prices than new (virgin) materials. Construction costs are most likely to be reduced if integrated design with access floors enable savings elsewhere (elimination of dropped ceilings.because less ducting will be required. etc. PRODUCTS & MATERIALS Use salvaged Salvaged materials can often . In commercial buildings.but not always . faster construction. . because cooling loads can be high even in the winter. . occupant comfort can be increased with less cooling than is typically required. reduced cooling of under floor supply air. Provide lighting.often reduction of first-cost. Expand the comfort envelope and downsize cooling equipment. Do not run ducts Keeping ducts away from exterior walls will improve energy performance and save money to exterior walls.Tune glazings to There is usually little if any additional cost in specifying different glazings for different orientation. access Access flooring offers opportunities for energy savings. By providing operable windows for natural ventilation or ceiling (paddle) fans to increase air flow in buildings. In houses. for example. improved indoor air quality. low SHGC glazings may be appropriate for south-facing glazings as well. Good energy performance of the building envelope is necessary for this to succeed. Reliance on such practices can permit downsizing of mechanical cooling equipment. low solar-heat-gaincoefficient (SHGC) glazings should be used on east and west orientations. orientations. task By minimizing ambient lighting in commercial spaces and providing task lighting. when the sun is low in the south sky and heat gain from the south is significant. reducing equipment costs.
pigmenting and texturing concrete). true-divided-light windows.. Masonry costs are highly variable and may not always be less expensive than decks. or brick patios. Use structural Whenever we can use structural building materials as finish materials as finish materials. Finally. thicker glass requirements will increase costs. don't sacrifice energy efficiency by reusing old windows on exterior walls. most wood decks are made instead of wood from pressure-treated wood or from rotresistant types of wood . stone. require less maintenance. and tiltup concrete panels. certain plumbing fixtures. be aware that higher labor costs might be associated with use of salvaged materials. or faucet aerators. resources and dollars. disposals require significant Avoid garbage Garbage quantities of water for their operation. install windows with large. they result in high organic loading of sewage treatment plants or septic tanks Composting .g. It may be necessary to spend more on the structural component to satisfy design and aesthetic objectives (e. from old-growth forests that are in limited supply. millwork.the best of which are decks. showerheads. but those costs are usually far lower than the costs of separate finish materials. and don't sacrifice water efficiency by reusing old toilets. however. Consider patios For durability. and hardware. Make sure salvaged materials are safe (test for lead paint. A lower-cost alternative (in some parts of the country) is to build concrete. are more durable. and cost less. and disposals. panes.Instead of multiple-pane. single pane windows. concrete floor slabs. These generally offer better energy performance. Over a certain size. asbestos. Examples of salvaged materials we can use include lumber. Avoid multiple. we eliminate a building component that is costly both in materials. Examples include exposed beams.materials. Also. and other contaminants). Salvaged materials are beneficial environmentally because their use saves natural resources and reduces pressure on landfills.
the extra cost of doing this can be recovered through sale of the materials. or. the savings can be dramatic. In either case. In large commercial projects. Some construction waste materials can be sold. More significant savings are often achieved through avoided land filling expense. Recycle construction waste. Salvage materials. salvage materials removed from an existing building for reuse. through advertising the availability of free materials. consider worm bins. . Generally. it may be possible to save on labor costs by having the salvaged material recipients do the salvaging. When outdoor composting is not an option. usable With renovations. moderate savings (depending on local tipping fees) can often be achieved through avoided disposal. thus recovering the investment in separation and separate storage.is a much better option for organic wastes. Carry out a comprehensive job-site waste recycling program.