Green or sustainable? Do you know the difference?

“Go green”- the most common and trending topic of the present time and infact is going to be more in demand in days to come. But why so much craze? We all know it but sometimes fail to understand that at the pace we are going, we will someday deplete our natural resources.

A green building is the one that reduces the impact it leaves on the environment from construction and use. It typically includes energy efficiency measures, following an approach by maximizing the performance of the building fabric to not use energy in the first place plus the additional use of renewable energy sources such as wind, water or solar.  Green building is built by using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource efficient.

A sustainable building is the one that strives to reduce the impact it leaves on the environment through its total lifecycle, so after construction and use, it looks at the whole life of the building including demolition or ‘deconstruction’. A sustainable building also looks to ensure that the resources used have low embodied energy, that they have been sustainably sourced, and can be used in another way or recycled at the end of their useful life as part of the building.

The words “green” and “sustainable” are often used interchangeably, but there are several differences between them.

A “green” building is not always “sustainable.” Green is limited to direct exposures from products or services. Sustainability is a broader term that concerns about the implications of those products and services used over a much longer period, and takes into account social and financial impacts as well.”

A very clear example of the difference between “green” and “sustainable,” can be the popular “green” bamboo flooring. There is no doubt that a lumber product made from a renewable resource is green, but most bamboo flooring is made in China and transported by ships and trucks to different countries all around the world. The air pollution caused and the fuel used to transport the material turn it into the opposite of a sustainable material, since it contributes to global climate change.

So before you take something at the store because it has a label with huge letters proclaiming it’s a green product. Look deeper. Does it strive to minimize waste? How far did the item travel to get to the store? Does this company use recycled products to make new ones?

Green is like a layman’s term which has got the attention whereas sustainable is the more technical and broader term. Learn more about the products you buy, and see how earth-friendly they really are. You’d be surprised what you might find once you dig deeper.

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