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Eco-tourism has been defined as tourism that is simultaneously oriented towards conserving the environment and supporting the welfare of the local people in which the tourist facility is located (Green Turtle, 2010).
Modern buildings have been associated with a lot of adverse impacts on the environment. Such unintended consequences include high carbon emissions (for example from the use of high emission paints), high energy consumption, and destruction of fragile ecosystems such as wetlands when the buildings are constructed there, among other consequences. For example, in most of the developed nations, carbon emissions make up 50% of the national carbon emissions and waste from the constructions make up to 40% of the nations' waste every year. In Australia, more than a fifth of all carbon emissions are said to originate from domestic home buildings while in the UK, the average person consumes 6000 kilograms of construction materials each year. As a result, constructed tourism has been viewed as being inimical to the very concept of ecotourism (Green Lodge, 2010; "The sustainable," 2010).
While that may be the case, recent advances in the science of building - which have spawned the idea of the green building- increasingly suggest that constructed tourism is not necessarily adversarial to ecotourism, but that it can actually help to facilitate ecologically -themed tourist facilities. A good example of this is provided by the Green Lodge. All the buildings in this tourist resort are constructed from local, natural as well as sustainable material, all the power used at the lodge is generated from solar power sources, and all the toilets are self-compositing, with water from the shower being recycled to irrigate the plants (Green Lodge, 2010).
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Such buildings incorporate a number of techniques which help to advance ecotourism. One of these is passive solar design, where the buildings are made in such a way that they exploit the daily and seasonal movement of the sun to naturally light the indoor environment of the building. Another way such buildings help perpetuate the preservation of the environment is through avoiding the use of high-emission paints for the walls ("The sustainable," 2010). Additionally, many modern buildings are constructed around the concept of building orientation. For instance, in cold climates, the buildings is "elongated on its east-west axis, with glazing and the areas needing the most heating facing south when in the Northern hemisphere, and facing north when in the Southern hemisphere" ("The sustainable," 2010, p.175). This helps to maximize heat gain and therefore reduces energy consumption which is good for the environment. Conversely, in hot climes, the idea is to reduce the heat and the building is "elongated on an axis perpendicular to prevailing wind" with the use of techniques such as cross-ventilation, u-shaped buildings, and so on ("The sustainable," 2010, p.175). Other techniques which have been used to enhance environmental conservation include daylighting, direct gain, tremble walls, the use of sustainable materials for the building, and the use of renewable energy sources such as solar energy ("The sustainable," 2010).
Research shows that the use of sustainable design has the capacity to lower energy consumption by up to 80%. A study carried out in 1996 shows that more than 40 million Americans are ready to pay a premium of up to 8.5% just to patronize an ecologically-friendly tourist resort ("The sustainable," 2010).
As these illustrate, constructed tourism is not necessarily adversarial to ecotourism, but cam actually help to reinforce ecotourism, especially given the increasingly popular concept of the green building.