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Bioethics: Building Green
Transcript of Bioethics: Building Green
For or Against?
There are almost no organizations dedicated to eradicating building green. Online, there are small gatherings of people banded together via another website, but they are not part of official organizations opposing green building. What prevents (or at least does not encourage) green building the most is the government, greedy companies, and the lack of knowledge by people on the subject.
There are, however, many organizations that support green building and try to spread the word.
EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency)
FOE (Friends of the Earth)
Small websites such as webecoist.com
According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in 2014 within the United States, buildings have a huge impact of...
39% total energy use
12% total water consumption
68% total electricity consumption
38% carbon dioxide emissions
Clearly, buildings have a large impact, and the number of buildings, especially houses, is shooting up
7.2 million houses between 2005 and 2009
As building green is still a developing trade, technologies continue to grow and advance. There are countless methods of having a "smart" or "green" edifice, ranging from basic to complex.
*No trees were cut down to complete this project.
Pros & Cons of Building Green
(flip side to issues)
Reduces long-term costs in businesses
Green technology is constantly advancing for the better
Improves quality of water, air, etc. which improves health
Creates a new market for the economy; adds jobs also
Conserve more natural, renewable resources instead of using up nonrenewable ones
Will decrease pollution & unattractive environment as well as dangers as time goes on
Can be expensive for individuals in short-term
Not quite advanced enough to cover everything
Can sometimes be unhealthy to people
Inconvenient and changes current lifestyle
Materials needed are harder to come by; needs prerequisites (e.g., location)
Complementary features can be unattractive in the environment
While green bioethics have a more medical focus, their purpose is shared with building green
They are proactive
They do not depend on other things to change like environmental bioethics does
Initiative must be taken to be carried out
Green bioethics take other scientific questions and determine their morality but in a stance of "how does this affect the environment?"
Building green encompasses constructing everyday edifices
To be sustainable and energy efficient
While still remaining durable, safe, and productive
By using natural, renewable resources and/or recycled materials
I hope you enjoyed!
So what does this mean?
It means that houses use up a LOT of energy that doesn't necessarily have to be used.
But are there issues with building green, too?
Pros & Cons
Issues with Building Green
Issue #1: Cost
A great amount of money needs to be spent on building green, especially at the beginning.
The materials are more expensive
Green building is not a very common trade; therefore, it takes specialized people and businesses and often takes up money that way
Also, many green houses are custom, which is expensive
Sometimes maintenance and conservation are required
Issues with Building Green
Issue #2: Health
While building green is great for the environment, sometimes it focuses too much on the outside of a building rather than the inside.
Homes are sealed well, but then that can lead to indoor air pollution
Recycled materials chosen over non-recycled materials can be unsafe — sometimes toxic
Efficient light energy sources contain more radiation
Issues with Building Green
Issue #3: Too Demanding
One problem with green building is that the practice is very particular, making it harder to accomplish.
Focuses on earth-friendly features as opposed to a normal house
Some materials are not always available when needed
The green market is not very wide, so usually the right materials are not nearby and options are limited
work better than others
Green resources have to fit the environment
In the case of using sustainable energy for the built house, sources like wind, sun, and water are not prominent in every area
Technologies for Building Green
Same function but less energy-consuming
Example: washing machine
Green insulation, smart glass, & cool roofs
Insulation reuses materials like glass & newspaper
Smart glass has settings to adjust amount of light to naturally heat/cool buildings
Cool roofs share function with smart glass
Natural, renewable energy sources
Solar power (through panels on rooftops; heats water & air)
Hydropower (water flow turns turbines to generate electricity)
Geothermal (pipes run in ground to collect thermal heat from Earth)
Wind power (wind turning turbines creates electricity)
Can be disposed of but do not pollute or contaminate ground
Technology is predominantly used in improving green building.
There is hardly any technology used the other way around; the reason for the issues in green building is because of lack of technology (that is in the process of being developed or soon to come).
Organizations: Educating the Public
The most common way that green building is being promoted is through the internet
The EPA has an extensive website that goes into great detail about many environmental topics, and they have many facts, general information, and comparisons to help
Locally, there are clubs that reach out to the community and undertake projects to spread the word
Even at Hidden Valley High School, there is a club, and also there are many cans all around the school for recycling
Many clubs do not specifically focus on just building green, but recycling and using the right resources draws a connection
Many blogs and social media write about these topics and going green
Events are put together ranging from Clean Valley (cleaning the water supply) to Habitat for Humanity (reusing items to provide a shelter)
What are the ethical questions that arise from these issues?
Ethically, there is not much to challenge with building green. It is not as open to debate as other topics are; it is hard to use morals to support a case of not helping the planet stay healthy.
However, some may be able to argue:
Should the government be allowed to force an expensive project in each home when not everybody has the money?
Force is not necessary. Gradual encouragement is okay too. However, in the long run, money will actually be saved.
Should green technology hold off until it is not longer a health risk?
No. Then the scientists will not be able to see the impacts and outcomes. The current state does not provide life or death situations, so they can still be experimented with.
Should we use it or should it be done? Why?
Building green involves tending to human needs but still helping the earth so that life can continue to thrive for a long time. The planet will steadily decrease in physical shape if building green is not pursued. There are flaws, but green building is already very efficient and amazing and can only improve from this point on!
What happens if we don't build green?
If the community fails to build green, it will most likely decrease the ability of the planet to put up with as much. Pollution can deteriorate the ozone layer which is bad for both nature and people. Resources will dramatically decline, and the overall health of people will also take a toll.
It is crucial for the survival of the world to continue to build green. Recycling and reusing resources for other purposes besides simply building is also very beneficial. This could make the difference between saving the planet in the future or not.