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Going Green; Nigeria and sustainable architecture

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How do we design, build and operate homes without exessively impairing or depleting natural environmental features and resources?

Going green refers to conscious efforts taken in practice to reduce the harmful effects of various human infractions and activities on the environment.

Globally, buildings of all kinds are the largest contributor to greenhouse gases leading to global warming and invariably triggering ozone depletion.

Nigeria been the largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa with evident limitations in the power sector support, though endowed with large oil, gas, hydro and solar resource with potential to generate 12,522 megawatts (MW) of electric power from existing plants but only able to generate around 4,000 MW, which is insufficient compared to estimated 40,000 MW – 50,000 MW needed to run the economy.

The obvious deficiency should thus triggers the need for optimal management of the available power.
Green buildings lessens the emission of greenhouse gases in our environment through energy and resource efficienct practices and methodology with great health benefit and viable return on investment.

Passive designs, energy efficient fittings, waste reduction options, reuse of some material and renewable energy options are various simple option of green practices that can adopted at various scale.
Social Benefits of Green Building
The societal importance of green building can not be undervalued, social benefit is the total benefit to society from producing to consumption of a good and/or service.

Green buildings provide not only environmental benefits but also social benefits. The social benefits of green building includes its focus on the well being of its occupants that enhances their health and comfort. It has been proven that green building improves occupancy satisfaction, comfort and also their productivity.

Research conducted in Michigan State University shows that those living in green buildings take less sick days. Green buildings generate a lower amount of pollution and other disturbances. These improvements will likely lead to improved public health safety and well being.

The Hidden Health Benefits of Green Building
Green Buildings doesn’t limit to environmental and social benefits alone. It also extends to the health sector as there are also health benefits derived from Green Buildings. Majority of our time is spent inside an indoor environment and this makes our environment a crucial factor in our overall well-being.

Green buildings enhances cognitive performance according to a study conducted by Syracuse Centre of Excellence in collaboration with Harvard University. Green buildings provide optimized environments that are helpful to human health through features like natural lighting and better air quality.

Green buildings create a conducive environment for our well-being by providing space for physical exercise, provision of fridges for healthier food like vegetables, fruits and non-carbonated drinks. Private research proves that the mortality rate is lower in a LEED-certified or other standard rating tools Hospitals in comparison with a conventional hospital under the same condition. Overall, Green Buildings improve comfort, satisfaction and the well being of its occupants.
Together, Let’s save the world, spend less and live healthier by going green.

Emmanuel Falude is a leading voice in environmentalstewardship and sustainability across Africa, a Chattered Architect in Nigeria, an environmentalist and a sustainability leader by the faculty of supply chain management at Rutgers University, U.S.A.


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