At a time when environmental issues such as global warming and fresh water supply are becoming increasingly serious, the concept of eco-friendly / sustainable building is gaining popularity. Indeed, research has shown that globally buildings are responsible for nearly 40% of the energy consumption, and about 30% of the water consumption. Moreover, humans spend almost 90% of their life in buildings. All these factors highlight the need for eco-friendly buildings that consume fewer resources, are more efficient and livable.
Eco-friendly buildings do not only save energy and water. Great importance is attached to the health and comfort of the inhabitants as well. As eco-friendly buildings are designed, components with a direct impact on human health such as indoor air quality, natural lighting, temperature and humidity control, and waste management are planned, and methods used in their construction are geared toward leaving a cleaner environment to the end users. According to some international research, people that work or live-in eco-friendly buildings get sick less frequently and have a higher work performance compared to those who do not.
Why Do We Build Eco-Friendly Buildings?
Buildings constructed with conventional methods consume 70% of energy and materials, 17% of water, and 25% of forests, and increase CO2 emissions by 33%. The share of recycled materials in conventional buildings is only 5%.
Green Buildings reduce healthcare costs of employees, as well as operation and maintenance costs by saving above all energy and water, reducing waste, improving indoor air quality, and increasing the comfort and efficiency of inhabitants. On the average, Green Buildings consume around 30% less energy compared to conventional buildings. The water consumption of Green Buildings is also quite low – using non-water urinals, efficient flush tanks as well as basin and shower mixers, they can save up to 50% water. Thanks to various strategies applied in landscaped areas of green projects, 50% of water savings is easily accomplished.
Eco-Friendly (Green) Building Certification
LEED “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design”
Introduced in 1998, the LEED certification system is an eco-friendly building certification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
The LEED system is a long process that starts with the design stage of the building and continues till its completion. Throughout this process, it covers issues pertaining to many disciplines. The LEED system has various categories, currently in use and being improved, that apply to different types of buildings. These are the following:
- New Construction
- Core & Shell
- Commercial Interiors
- Existing Buildings: Operation & Maintenance
- Retail New Construction / Retail Commercial Interiors
- Neighborhood Development
The LEED system examines and rates buildings under the following 7 headings:
- Sustainable Sites
- Water Efficiency
- Energy and Atmosphere
- Materials and Resources
- Indoor Environmental Quality
- Innovation in Design
- Regional Priority
Each heading has its own prerequisites and credit descriptions. First, the prerequisites have to be met, and then points under each credit category have to be calculated. Based on the points collected under these categories, the project is awarded one of the four levels of certification, namely Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum.
Below are some of the items assessed and scored under the LEED categories:
- Encouraging public and alternative ways of transport
- Using specific methods to facilitate water savings and efficient use of water
- Preferring a design and system that increases energy efficiency
- Improving and controlling indoor air quality
- Preventing usage of materials which contains considerable volatile substances and prohibiting tobacco use in buildings and fresh air inlet areas to minimize the harm to human health
- Benefiting from daylight.
FOURPOINTS BY SHERATON ISTANBUL KAGITHANE PROJECT and LEED SYSTEM
Four Points by Sheraton Istanbul Kagithane Project targets for GOLD level certification in the LEED NC category. In this context, many environmentally and human-friendly features have been integrated into the project design and construction.
Some of the predicted sustainable strategies and solutions implemented in the Four Points by Sheraton Istanbul Kagithane project within the scope of the LEED System are as follows;
SUSTAINABLE SITES AND LOCATION
- Four Points by Sheraton Istanbul Kagithane building was handled with the principle of creating a healthy and ecological working and accommodation environment.
- In order to reduce carbon emissions, public transportation is encouraged with bus stops within walking distance of the Four Points by Sheraton Istanbul Kagithane building.
- Bicycle parks for employees and visitors are located in secure areas in the car park.
- Preferred parking spaces are reserved for low-emitted and shared vehicles in the parking lots.
- By using efficient water flow and flush fixtures, 20% saving is targeted for indoor water consumption
- 24% energy saving is targeted with the use of energy efficient mechanical equipment and lighting fixtures.
- Heating, Cooling, Ventilation and Lighting loads can be measured separately, and energy consumption can be monitored.
MATERIALS and RESOURCES
- Most of the waste generated during the construction of the building was sent to recycling and/or reuse, reducing the amount going to the landfill by 75%. In this context, all domestic wastes and recyclable wastes generated during the construction process were regularly monitored.
- Within the scope of the project, Recycled Content and Regional Materials are preferred.
- During the operation of the building, recyclable wastes will be collected separately in the building and sent for recycling.
INDOOR AIR QUALITY and OCCUPANT COMFORT
- With mechanical ventilation throughout the building, fresh air was provided to the spaces is %30 above the values specified in the ASHRAE standard.
- Temperature set values in accordance with the ASHRAE standard have been determined in all locations.
- The comfort and health of building users are among the main elements evaluated by the LEED system. In this context, construction chemicals (paint, primer, adhesive, sealants, etc.) to be used indoors during the construction of the building were preferred among those whose VOC (volatile organic compound) ratios comply with the international limits.
- The facade design of the building provides the maximum benefit from daylight