What is "Green Building?"

Definitions

Research

Links

 

Definitions

Green building is a holistic concept that starts with the understanding that the built environment can have profound effects, both positive and negative, on the natural environment, as well as the people who inhabit buildings every day. Green building is an effort to amplify the positive and mitigate the negative of these effects throughout the entire life cycle of a building.

While there are many different definitions of green building out there, it is generally accepted as the planning, design, construction, and operations of buildings with several central, foremost considerations: energy use, water use, indoor environmental quality, material selection, and the building's effects on its site.

Green buildings incorporate environmentally preferable practices into their design, construction, operations, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.  The goals of a green building are:

  • Reverse contributions to climate change
  • Enhance human health and wellbeing
  • Protect and restore water resources
  • Protect biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • Promote sustainable and regenerative resource cycles
  • Build a greener economy
  • Enhance community, social equity, environmental justice, and quality of life

 

Research

Here's research that tells us why green building is better!

Numerous surveys and studies have researched the performance of green buildings.

Recently, the University of Guelph produced research declaring that: "environmentally friendly office buildings have higher rents and occupancy rates as well as more satisfied tenants."

We can all use this type of research to justify our projects and to encourage owners and developers to utilize the systems we work with such as LEED, BOMA BESt and ENERGY STAR.

Also, an economic impact study done in 2015 by Booz Allen Hamilton concluded green building as a sector provides over 2 million jobs and $167B to the US economy over the past three years. LEED buildings alone account for 1.1M jobs and $81B in GDP between 2011 and 2014

Another earlier study, conducted by the General Services Administration (GSA) (a United States agency which is the landlord of much of the federal government's facilities), concludes that: "The results of the study confirmed that, on average, GSA’s sustainably designed buildings use less energy and water, emit less CO2 , cost less to maintain, and have occupants who are more satisfied than those working in typical buildings. In short, the GSA’s 12-year commitment to green building practices is paying off."

 

Links

For more information on green buildings visit:

US Green Building Council (USGBC)

Green Building Information Gateway (GBIG)

Environmental Protection Agency

Living Building Challenge

Passive House Institute US (PHIUS)

WELL Building Standard

Resilient Design Institute

Architecture 2030