Climate Change: Building Green to Reduce Global Warming

August 2, 2008

Climate Change: Building Green to Reduce Global Warmingby MIKE HIRN

Building green, the practice of designing and constructing buildings in an eco-friendly way, is one way to combat global warming. Houses contribute to global warming by emitting carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. In the United States, houses are responsible for 38% of the country’s total carbon dioxide emissions.

Building green starts with the materials that are used. Renewable and local materials are both good choices. Bamboo and straw are two examples of building materials that are easily renewable. Using materials that originate near the building site, such as stone or logs found on or near the building site, cuts down on transportation, another source of carbon dioxide emissions. Recycled materials represent another green building practice. Wood can be used from an older home that has been torn down, preventing further deforestation and the use of energy required to process trees into lumber.

Minimizing the energy use needed to sustain a comfortable indoor temperature helps lessen the carbon dioxide emissions given off by houses. Heating and cooling both represent big pieces of the pie in terms of household energy consumption. Solar panels, wind power, or hydroelectric are alternative power sources and are capable of powering the household with far less of a contribution to global warming than traditional energy sources. Installing enough insulation and installing it properly is another important way to cut down

on energy used for heating and cooling. Orienting the house with a southern exposure utilizes passive solar energy to warm the house in cold weather. Positioning windows in ways to enhance cross-ventilation helps the house to keep cool during hot weather.

There are several organizations in the US that encourage building green. The Green Building Initiative is a non-profit group that fits this category. They address both houses and commercial buildings. Governments are coming on board as well. Since 2005 the state of Washington has required builders of buildings larger than 5000 square feet to use green building practices.

Green building techniques are important in reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases by houses and commercial buildings. If it can help stop global warming, perhaps it is time for everyone to build green.

Knowledge is the key to solving problems associated with the Climate Change and Global Warming situation.


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