Once, only tie-dye-clad hippies opted for green homes. But, according to CNN Money, the eco-friendly house has gone mainstream. CNN cites a recent survey by The American Institute of Architects, in which 90% of people indicated that they’d be willing to invest in a green house.

The US Green Building Council defines a green home as one which uses less natural resources and toxic chemicals in its construction, and less energy to build and maintain. Eco-architecture – also termed sustainable architecture or green architecture – is architecture which makes use of ‘environmentally conscious design techniques’. Green buildings feature:

  • Efficient heating, cooling and ventilation systems
  • Renewable energy generation – solar panels, solar water heating, wind turbines etc.
  • Sustainably-sourced or recycled building sources.

The benefits of a green building include:

  • Lower heating and cooling bills
  • A healthier indoor environment, including indoor air freer from harming Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  • Lower carbon footprint.

And it’s not just US buildings which are going green. Other countries where eco-architecture has mainstreamed include the UK, Scandinavia, Germany, France, Australia and New Zealand.

Green buildings in South Africa:

Government is currently working on a Green Building Programme. A draft Green Building Framework has been submitted to the Department of Public Works for final review.

Vodacom is currently investing in a green building in Midrand, Gauteng. They won’t be the last big corporate to invest in sustainable architecture. The eco-architecture trend presents entrepreneurs with several business opportunities. Here are some business ideas:

  • Architects, take advantage of the swing towards eco-architecture and re-position as an eco-architect
  • Building suppliers, ensure that you can supply sustainable building materials
  • Paint manufacturers, stock VOC-free paints
  • Green energy suppliers, get ready for a surge in requests for renewable energy systems
  • Educators, there will be a need for training programmes in all aspects of eco-architecture once the Green Building Programme is adopted by the State.

For more information about eco-architecture in South Africa: