Building Green for a Better Future by Mariama Djambony Badji
We spend up to 90% of our time in buildings. We need buildings to house us, to work and for our basic daily activities. At a very young age, I was concerned about climate change.
"My passion for the environment pushed me to start building green."
These principles are at the heart of DNA SARL, whose main mission is to design living environments that respect nature. As a CEO, it is a daily work to raise awareness, to convince and participate in the changes through ecological and sustainable construction.
In various forms, buildings have impacts on the environment including high energy consumption, waste production, indoor air pollution . The construction sector accounts for about 40% of greenhouse gas emissions, 36% of total energy consumption, and 40% of the waste produced.
Indeed, energy consumption in the building is from production through materials processing to use. Extracting the resources needed to manufacture building materials requires a lot of energy, as does the transformation of these materials into finished products. However, the energy consumption included in the use stage is the largest contributor to climate change. This includes lighting, air conditioning and/or heating.
Fortunately, there are many alternatives today. It is possible to choose building materials with a very low environmental footprint for your building, a sure way to limit environmental damage.
Ecological constructions allow reducing the building's impacts through the use of natural materials such as earth, which is a healthy material with great insulating properties.
Earth is the oldest and most used building material. Thanks to empirical knowledge, easily transferable, construction on earth has been done for millennia. Today it is an alternative to concrete and offers major architectural and ecological perspectives.
It is a renewable raw material (it comes from the degradation of the rock), which is easily recycled. Its extraction and transformation are done without chemical processes, without waste, and at low energy costs. Among its many advantages, we retain:
Accessibility: Earth is found everywhere on the planet. This significantly reduces transportation costs.
Healthy air quality: no clearances or chemicals to avoid certain allergies and respiratory illnesses.
Energy Sobriety: reduction of energy needs at all levels of the building.
Natural air-conditioning: the great inertia of the bricks reduces temperature variations! The air conditioning savings are real, and the comfort of the occupants is increased.
The availability of the raw material and the use of local labor gives the material its societal impact.
Also, it is necessary to adopt Eco gestures that allow for the reduction of energy consumption in buildings during the use phase. It is necessary to :
Look at the energy label on your appliances when making purchases. Prefer appliances rated A+, A++ or A+++. Although they may be more expensive to purchase, in some cases, the resulting electricity savings are undeniable.
Use energy-saving light bulbs and turn off lights that are turned on unnecessarily.
Turn off your standby devices and unplug unused ones.
Raise the awareness of those around you because an eco-citizen informs about good practices.
At a time when global warming is becoming alarming, it is more than urgent to reduce energy consumption. These few eco-friendly gestures will never be in vain; they will allow you to contribute, at your own level, to the reduction of greenhouse gases. A reduction that will be even greater if we combine them with constructions that, while ensuring the comfort of the occupants, control their impact on the environment and ensure optimal energy performance, using renewable energies and natural and local resources as much as possible. A sure way to preserve our planet and develop without damaging our environment.
About the Author
Mariama Djambony Badji (she/her) is an SDG Young Leader Class of 2020. She is the co-founder and CEO of DNA SARL, a construction company that offers living environments using natural and local materials. As a civil engineer and passionate about the environment, she’s currently working on the construction of safe, comfortable and eco-friendly housing. Read Mariama's full profile here.