GBCSL to launch ‘Greening Sri Lanka’ campaign | Sunday Observer

GBCSL to launch ‘Greening Sri Lanka’ campaign

The Green Building Council of Sri Lanka (GBCSL) plans to launch the ‘Greening Sri Lanka 2030’ campaign shortly with the help of professional institutions, the public and the corporate sector to implement key principles of environmental sustainability and green building practices throughout the country, a senior official of the Council said on Friday.

Alumni of Certified Green Professionals of GBCSL President Dr. Kasun Nandapala said the endeavours of the Council are directed to inform the construction industry in Sri Lanka with green building practices and to fully adopt sustainability as the means by which our environment flourishes, economy prospers, and society grows to ensure the future wellbeing of the country.

The Alumni of Certified Green Professionals of GBCSL is working hand-in-hand with industry experts to provide peace of mind to CEOs and principals seeking solution on how to safely re-open offices, hospitality, recreational, education, and other facilities while ensuring good health and good working environments to their employees, customers and students.

The Council provides free consultation sessions and seminars for industrial and non-industrial entities such as schools, universities, offices and military compounds.

“While people spend 90% of their time inside, indoor air quality (IAQ) has not been a major concern in facilities management and for tenants until recently,” said Assistant Treasurer and Steering Committee Member of the Alumni of Certified Green Professionals of GBCSL, Mahen Hewawasam.

Buildings are home to many sources of air contamination, including volatile organic compounds (from cleaning agents, furniture and other materials), and bacteria, mold, and viruses. Poor ventilation exacerbates the presence of these contaminants.

Contaminants in buildings are so widespread that virtually every building contains one or more recognised contaminants.

GBCSL notes that the overall result of these pollutants can be Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), which is diagnosed when over 20 percent of the building’s occupants complain of symptoms such as headaches, upper respiratory irritation, or eye irritation, and when these symptoms disappear after leaving the building on weekends. Symptoms may also include irritation of mucous membranes, dizziness, nausea, throat irritation, and fatigue. Although the specific causes aren’t identified, the symptoms coincide with time spent in a particular building and disappear when the sufferer leaves.

The related term ‘Building Related Illness’ (BRI) is also used to describe the same range of ailments, from mild allergic reactions to more serious infections such as pneumonia and severe respiratory diseases; the difference is that BRI is applied to those cases where the specific cause of the ailment is known.

SBS and BRI are largely the result of poor IAQ. Indoor Air quality was originally ignored in the quest to produce energy-efficient buildings, leading to concentration of contaminants at levels that threatened public health. This feeling of ill health increases sickness, absenteeism and causes a decrease in efficiency and productivity of the workers.The most susceptible people are those who spend the most time indoors, including children, elderly people, and people with chronic illnesses. Allergies and asthma are also rising dramatically, and may be caused by contaminants in a sick building.

The coronavirus outbreak is bringing indoor air quality into the spotlight as hospitals work to mitigate the spread of disease and offices, retail, and education facilities are considering strategies to reopen safely and minimise infection.

Frequently, IAQ problems in large commercial buildings cannot be effectively identified or remedied without a comprehensive building investigation.

If a professional company is hired to conduct an investigation of a commercial building, the building’s owner should select a company on the basis of its experience in identifying and solving IAQ problems in industrial and non-industrial buildings, as the methods and standards are different for each setting.

New technologies are enabling greener buildings to reduce energy consumption and support occupant health and comfort. 

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