Buildings and the construction industry are together responsible for 40% of the world’s CO2 emissions. At the same time, urban areas are growing faster than ever. By 2030, 60% of the world’s population will live in urban areas. It’s more important than ever that buildings are built in a sustainable way with little to no impact on the environment.
The concept of sustainable development is based on three pillars: society, economy, and environment. Sustainable development is the combination of two terms, sustainability and development, which indicates a growth pattern that improves and strengthens both national capabilities to care for their people in relation to the resources on earth.
As part of their efforts to improve environmental conditions, leaders from 193 countries developed sustainable development goals (SDGs). There are 17 SDGs set up to eradicate poverty, hunger, and protect the world from the worst effects of climate change within 15 years.
Green Building and Sustainability
A ‘green’ building is a building that, in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts, on our climate and natural environment. Green buildings preserve precious natural resources and improve our quality of life.
Green buildings are the most cost-effective way to achieve global sustainable goals. Apart from environmental benefits, green buildings help to create economic, health, and community benefits. Economic benefits are like Low utility bills for occupants in the building because of greater energy and water efficiency. Health and community benefits like indoor air quality improvement, better thermal comfort, and quality of life.
Green Buildings provide foundations towards meeting several Sustainable Development Goals.
How Green Buildings help to meet 14 of the total 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)?
End poverty in all its forms everywhere:Building sustainability creates jobs and empowers people through local solutions and capacity strengthening, job creation in clean technologies and reduced economic effects of ill-health due to air pollution.
3.Good Health & Well Being
Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages: Green design has proven to have a positive impact on the health and well-being of people living in buildings. It enhances indoor daylighting, air quality, and greenery. Reducing the emissions from buildings – particularly in large cities – will also reduce pollution, which will benefit the overall health of the population.
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all: Building sustainably helps to promote awareness of sustainable development in the construction industry and property industry
6.Clean Water & Sanitation
Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all :green building can incorporate efficient and sustainable water and sanitation systems that reduce potable water usage, treating rainwater or greywater, and allow reuse of processed water
7.Affordable & Clean Energy
Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all: green building structures promote efficient use of renewable energy. Another benefit of using renewable energy is that it produces no carbon emissions, which means it has minimal impact on the planet
8.Decent Work & Economic Growth
Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all: The construction industry is one of the top contributors to any economy. Economic growth can be inclusive and sustainable through sustainability. A green building’s lifecycle – from conception to construction, operation to renovation – impacts a wide variety of people, providing new employment opportunities.
9.Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation: green buildings allow space for innovation and continuous development in the planning process. It strives for sustainable mobility and energy infrastructure fostering open access to all. Green buildings can be a catalyst for innovation for decades to come, they are the future of sustainable living.
11.Sustainable Cities & Communities
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable: Building urban resilience is crucial to avoid human, social and economic losses while improving the sustainability of urbanization processes is needed to protect the environment and mitigate disaster risk and climate change.
Green buildings are key for sustainable cities and communities. This SDG helps to fight both climate change and prepare for rapid urban growth. Resource efficient cities combine greater productivity and innovation with lower costs and reduced environmental impacts, while providing increased opportunities for consumer choices and sustainable lifestyles
12.Responsible Consumption & Production
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns: Building sustainability supports the concept of eco-sufficiency and circular economy by choosing the best materials. Green buildings use circular principles, which means that resources aren’t wasted. Plus, green buildings are built to be resilient and last for decades.
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts: Buildings are responsible for over 30 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and are therefore a major contributor to climate change. But by the same token, green buildings have huge potential to combat it, offering one of the most cost-effective ways to do so, through measures such as energy efficiency
14.Life Below Water
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development: building sustainably helps to promote transparency and the targeted use of raw materials to minimize environmental impacts such as the overfertilization of inland waterways and the acidification of oceans.
15.Life on Land
Protect forests, save water resources, and enhance biodiversity: Building Sustainably helps to protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
16.Peace,Justice & Strong Institutions
Foster peace by promoting healthier mental health and can even improve our cognition and decision-making skills: building Sustainability helps to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.
17.Partnership for the Goals
Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development: building sustainability leverages the strengths of networks and international partnerships to develop shared solutions that result in actual implementation
The construction industries need to take initiatives to implement the SDGs in their business platforms.
As green building overlaps with many socioeconomic and ecological goals, it plays a critical role in meeting the SDGs. As a result, it is determined that the construction of any infrastructure must be based on the use of environmentally friendly materials if one is to achieve maximum results.
The goals should be set with time-bound targets. The goals should be monitored, evaluated, reported and communicated among the stakeholders.The industries are to be prepared accordingly.
SDGs should be taken seriously by businesses. The availability of natural resources is essential for all of us. It is impossible for businesses to operate without them, and with the right Corporate Social Responsibility strategies, organizations can gain brand awareness, increase profitability, and reduce resource spending.