Going green is more than a slogan, it is a way of life for diminishing the carbon footprint of man-kind on the environment. There is an entire 21st century industry that has evolved from this all-important concept. The construction industry has made impressive strides with realizing and acting upon this premise while achieving exceptional results.
Civil Engineer Professionals
Civil engineers do not just develop buildings. They create infrastructures that are man-made, and manipulate nature in a sustainable fashion. This includes buildings, road and water ways. It is the second engineering discipline created by man. There are a myriad of sub-disciplines such as environmental, waste water, architectural, structural, and materials to name a few. Needless to say, they play an integral role in the green construction industry. Those interested in working in this industry should consider getting an online master’s degree civil engineering.
Each green structure, whether residential or commercial, has been rated by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The ratings review the blueprint, construction, on-going operation and maintenance. These ratings take in to account the energy efficiency as well as sturdiness. This is followed by a certification. LEED homes and buildings are green homes and buildings. They meet rigorous standards that have undergone a Life Cycle Assessment or (LCA) to determine the impact or footprint on the environment. One example used to construct them includes bricks that are termite, water, mold, fireproof and more. Structures made from this type of material can withstand winds in excess of 200 mph. In addition, they have a 45 thermal mass and 21 R-Value. This translates into no insulation, drywall or wood.
There are materials made from recycled products or even chemicals that reduce the use of natural resources while contributing to a smaller carbon footprint. They can be found on the outside with building construction or the inside with paints, and flooring. They include polyurethanes and plastic resins used to manufacture vinyl flooring, carpets and more. Insulation, paints, sealants or items used with windows including glazing and frame cladding are more examples of materials that are found in green construction.
On the inside of all green structures are energy efficient appliances. This includes everything in the kitchen, bathroom, and the HVAC and water systems. Energy Star is the label given by the government agency EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to products that meet a specified standard. Some of the criteria include energy efficiency with verifiable measurements with testing, and development with technology that is non-proprietary. For the kitchen, refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers and more have all received this distinction. In the bathroom, low flow toilets and shows are included. For energy resources, furnaces and hot water heaters make the grade.
The construction industry and civil engineering professionals have teamed up with tangible efforts that are saving our environment. For the global citizens, this means an opportunity to be good stewards with green technology for many generations to come.
Anita Ginsburg, the author of this post, is a freelance writer from Devner, CO.
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