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By Darryl Banton, Glalienation Expert (Uprooting Values)

Sustainability touches on what humans all need to think about the natural resources that we use, and the way we use the land that we depend on for shelter and sustenance. This is also focused on the way that we care for and about the world’s environment, as well as the way we adapt to the changes and challenges present in both climate and resources. Sustainability calls for us to be careful and diligent stewards of the resources present in the land, water, and air that we rely on here on Earth.

There is much interest, and many examples, around the world about designing and constructing self-sufficient, or green, buildings in which to live and work. In addition to being sturdy and practical, much attention is given to these structures being carbon-neutral, or as close to it as possible. This means that the energy needs and uses within the building and by its occupants will be met internally, and not be a drain on outside resources or the environment itself. Such a feat includes providing for electricity generation and storage, the collecting of rainwater or limited access of freshwater which is then recycled and/or purified after use, and provisions for heating and cooling the interior of the structure. Respect for the surrounding landscape, terrain, and water sources are important considerations when planning a green building.

The particular needs and circumstances of the building’s use and location also dictate the most sensible and practical requirements for a green, or self-sustaining structure. An example of this is the Shanghai Tower, in Shanghai, China. This building utilizes a series of wind turbines built into the façade of the 2,073 foot skyscraper to produce electricity to power the structure’s external lights. Another example is that of the Bullitt Center, in Seattle, Washington, USA. Solar panels coating the outside of the entire building provide its source of electricity. The building also features an advanced graywater treatment system that includes a capability for composting toilet waste. Technology is an important component in the overall effort of a self-sustaining, or green, building.