Why sustainability is important?

A building can be compared with a human body. As much as a human body need skeletons, muscles and body fluids to function properly, for a building beams, columns and foundations are similarly important. These components are enough to structurally satisfy a building. But nowadays modern buildings are built with numerous sustainable elements. Sustainable elements are like the nutrients for a human body. It helps a building to look visually attractive, thermally comfort and energy efficient.

Why important is Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka, a country lying close to equator usually have a hot climatic condition. Long summer with higher temperature is very common here. Therefore, during the daytime higher temperature can lead to discomfort for the people living in the building. Interior temperature can be reduced by introducing some passive concepts to the building. The idea here is to increase natural ventilation and reduce direct sunlight penetration. This while giving thermal comfort, also cuts a certain amount of money spent on energy consumption on cooling and lighting the building. Orientation of the building, size of the opening, shading devices and use of colours for painting the walls are few of the other factors considered.

Any other advantages?

In many western countries, buildings are built utilizing the spaces like rooftops and glazing to generate power. Solar panels / Photo Voltic Panels and double-glazed windows are commonly used for this purpose. Also, for the partition walls as an alternative to the conventional materials like brick or cement blocks, CSEB (Cement Stabilised Earth Block) or Durra Panels are used.

These materials are very effective for thermal insulation, easy to build and also doesn’t need a plaster finish which can save the cost. Availability of some of these materials locally is an advantage as it cuts down a good portion of transportation charges and also it helps in encouraging the local markets to sell these products.

Having a proper landscaping around the building can provide a good appearance to the building meanwhile reducing the heat that enters. Plants which require less amount of water will be ideal for such landscaping. This will reduce the water consumption and building a tank to collect rainwater will be ideal for such water usages including vehicle washing. A garden can also be a ‘mini vegetable farm’ by planting suitable crops from where required fresh vegetables or fruits can be cultivated.

The advantages of green buildings not only limited to building level, but also helps at a larger scale in reducing carbonic gas emissions, conservation of natural resources and saving the economy. A sustainable building is not only comfortable, healthy and energy conservative it also has a higher resale value due to its sustainability.

Make Earth a better place

With the ongoing global warming and climate change happening at a rapid pace, it is our duty as the children of Earth to heal her. There is a saying that says, “without water drops there can be no oceans”. A simple action everyone take can make this world a better place. Let’s promote sustainable construction in any way here onwards.

Written by
MM.Amzal Ahamed 
B.Sc ( Hons ) Civil Engineer 
University of Moratuwa 

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