Why Build Green? Green Building US EPA

Importance Of Green Building

Although, many of these higher costs can be mitigated by using integrated design early in the project and getting contractors on board as early as possible. Many states and localities offer tax incentives for green building projects.

However, building as a process is not as streamlined as an industrial process, and varies from one building to the other, never repeating itself identically. In addition, buildings are much more complex products, composed of a multitude of materials and components each constituting various design variables to be decided at the design stage. A variation of every design variable may affect the environment during all the building’s relevant life-cycle stages. According to the National Resources Inventory, approximately 107 million acres of land in the United States are developed. The International Energy Agency released a publication that estimated that existing buildings are responsible for more than 40% of the world’s total primary energy consumption and for 24% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore, it might also come to availability issues of green construction materials, especially if you live in a region where green construction is still considered to be rather exotic and the infrastructure for green building is missing.

As water becomes scarcer and more expensive in many parts of the world, firms need to focus on conservation. They can install water-conserving irrigation systems and plumbing, waterless urinals , and native and drought-tolerant landscape plants, and they can use recycled water for landscaping needs. Other cosponsors include EPA, HUD’s Office of Economic Resilience, FEMA, and the Office of Infrastructure Protection of the Department of Homeland Security. Building energy intensity is measured in British thermal units per gross square foot. Greenwashing refers to the false or exaggerated promotion of a product as green or sustainable. A firm believer in architecture and research, when combined with design thinking, it helps in strengthening our society and has a positive effect. If not reading, you will always find her sipping coffee and capturing the sky.

Creating a Green Basement Environment for a Healthier Home

Just five or six years ago, the term “green building” evoked visions of barefoot, tie-dyed, granola-munching denizens. For example, LEED has developed a Neighborhood Development rating system to assess sustainability of the built environment at the neighborhood scale. Executive Orders and were signed by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama respectively. Both directed federal agencies to bring a portion of the federal real estate inventory into compliance with the “Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Building,” among other provisions. If Congress wishes to take additional action on such questions, it could do so through appropriations, new statutory requirements, and tax law.

What are 4 elements of buildings using green architecture?

  • Increasing energy efficiency.
  • Materials selected for building your home.
  • Increasing the efficiency of water usage both in and outside of your home.
  • Improving air quality, which improves the health and productivity of your family.

To reduce the impact on wells or water treatment plants, several options exist. “Greywater”, wastewater from sources such as dishwashing or washing machines, can be used for subsurface irrigation, or if treated, for non-potable purposes, e.g., to flush toilets and wash cars. Furthermore, embodied energy comparisons can help deduce the selection of building material and its efficiency. Wood production emits less CO2 than concrete and steel if produced in a sustainable way just as steel can be produced more sustainably through improvements in technology (eg. EAF) and energy recycling/carbon capture. Taipei 101, the tallest and largest green building of LEED Platinum certification in the world since 2011. Green construction has become quite popular over the past years and will likely become even more popular in the future since people become more aware of our environmental problems and want to contribute their part to solve those issues.

Durability For The Green Homeowner: Built To Last

In locations commonly subject to winds, buildings can be oriented to capture the breezes through rooftop clerestories and other windows that provide cross-ventilation. Selection was based on the perceived prominence and influence of those programs on the implementation of green building. IgCC is developed in cooperation with the American Institute of Architects, ASTM International, ASHRAE, the Illuminating Engineering Society, and USGBC. The ICC has also developed the International Energy Conservation Code focused primarily on encouraging building energy efficiency. Energy efficiency means using less energy to perform the same function, whereas energy conservation refers to practices that reduce consumption, often by changing behavior. Using a lightbulb that produces the same amount of light with less energy would be an example of energy efficiency, while turning off the light when leaving a room would be an example of energy conservation. The whole-building approach promoted by the site involves not only integrated design but also integration of the teams of people involved, including architects, owners, contractors, operators, community members, and other stakeholders.

Green facilities can also produce some of their own electricity with alternative technologies. The experimental green Wal-Mart Supercenter in Aurora, Colorado, has a 50-kilowatt wind turbine, natural gas microturbines, and photovoltaic systems attached to the rooftop clerestories.

Importance Of Green Building

The layout of the interior of the building is just as important as the exterior, if not more so. An optimally laid out space can actually promote physical health by encouraging employees to get active. What were once considered old-fashioned and out of vogue in office space design are now experiencing a resurgence as a proven method of increasing exercise. In 2010, the Active Design Guidelines were published with the idea of providing designers and architects with strategies for creating healthier buildings. One such strategy was incorporating stairs into a design in order to help tackle the obesity epidemic.

The Shift to Green

Some agencies have reported challenges in complying with federal green building requirements due to the number of special-use buildings in their inventories. Executive Order requires 15% of existing federal buildings to be brought into compliance with the Guiding Principles by FY2025. DOE’s large number of data centers, laboratories, and accelerators; EPA’s scientific laboratories; and the VA’s hospitals have all proven challenging to bring into compliance with the Guiding Principles. The concept of net zero has also been applied to other resource areas, as in net-zero water and net-zero waste buildings. Executive Order directed federal agencies to design all new buildings greater than 5,000 gross square feet to be net-zero energy, and, where feasible, net-zero water or waste by FY2030.

  • Chicago, for example, awards floor area ratio density bonuses for downtown buildings that have green roofs.
  • Their construction minimizes on-site grading, saves natural resources by using alternative building materials, and recycles construction waste rather than sending truck after truck to landfills.
  • Because other rating systems are not as prevalent in the United States, little information is available on the performance of buildings constructed under those systems in the U.S. market.
  • A similar concept is natural building, which is usually on a smaller scale and tends to focus on the use of natural materials that are available locally.
  • In addition to the comprehensive green certification systems discussed above, some additional programs exist to certify that a building has taken steps to improve environmental performance for a single element or in a limited number of performance areas.

Many of the certification programs require additional costs for certifying a project. These costs can include registration fees, submission of documents, third-party inspection fees, and certification fees once a project is approved. There may also be higher project costs when it comes to reaching project goals such as energy efficiency or water conservation.

What Is Your Carbon Footprint and How Can You Reduce it?

The process of accession to the European Union has been an important step in ensuring sustainable development, but considering only energy and not being able to be legally molded has slowed the process. In Turkey regulations related to energy efficiency are guiding the green building process. Energy efficiency; supply assurance, national resources-oriented, low-cost, greenhouse gas emissions, etc.

Thus, it might be hard for you to get a loan for green construction projects since banks may put a rather low valuation on your home in their books. Since green construction often uses the latest technologies, the maintenance of those devices might be difficult since technology becomes increasingly complex and very few craftsmen keep their knowledge up to date. Moreover, since plenty of natural and sustainable materials are used for decoration and flooring, this will lead to further health benefits since our body will often react much more positive to natural materials compared to synthetic ones. Compared to conventional building, a much higher fraction of recycled materials is used for green construction. For instance, when it comes to the material that should be used for flooring, bamboo or other sustainable woods are used in green construction in order to ensure to meet the sustainability goal. For green construction, it is also crucial to use renewable plant materials as often as possible. Thus, by taking all phases of the lifecycle into account, architects that operate in the green building sector could vastly improve the overall ecological footprint of a building.

Improved Indoor Air Quality

It positively influences our climate and overall ecosystem by reducing water use and energy sources that pollute our environment, such as coal and carbon dioxide discharged into the atmosphere. Green building not only decreases water waste, but may also contribute to enrich water reserves, preserves natural resources, defends biodiversity and enhances air and water quality. Green building also reduces your carbon footprint by producing less waste and decreasing the amount of toxic gases set free into the air. In this way, buildings may contribute positively to saving our environment and slowing the pace of climate change. According to the 2018 World Green Building Trends SmartMarket Report, many in the building and construction industry expect the majority of projects in the next three years to be green buildings. Looking ahead, creating spaces that support our health and well-being, as well as the economy and environment will be vital to accelerating sustainable development and delivering a better standard of living. Green buildings, like those that are LEED certified, are a global solution for cities, communities and neighborhoods.

How can green buildings help climate change?

Green buildings generate less greenhouse gas

Green buildings and communities reduce landfill waste, enable alternative transportation use and encourage retention and creation of vegetated land areas and roofs.

Thanks to its green design and energy efficient technologies, it uses 55% less energy than a standard building of similar size. It is no secret that most buildings today are vastly under-ventilated, says Toyin-Ann Yerifor. This makes them less energy efficient, which increases their carbon footprint.

In a region that imports most of its water, the South Campus consumes 60% less water on its 40-acre, drought-tolerant landscaped site than the typical turf-planted and sprinkler-watered business campus. Its use of recycled water for landscape irrigation, building cooling, and toilet flushing saves 20.7 million gallons of potable water a year. Using a mainstream budget of $90 per square foot, architects from LPA in Irvine, California, designed 624,000 square feet of space in two three-story office buildings.

They don’t look at the on-going operations of a building to see how it performs once it is occupied. This can give some projects a false certification of sorts, as they can be designed to be green but don’t end up living up to that mark in actual use. Recertification of projects or using certifications that look at end-user occupancy data can help to prevent these issues. Living Building Challenge –The Living Building Challenge is a certification program based on a building’s performance over a twelve-month period. It includes certification of the building’s materials and construction methods. Once the data has been submitted, projects are subject to an audit to confirm their certification.

Site development using standard design and construction practices can severely reduce such services. This involves establishment of an energy performance goal for the entire building, including reduction in energy costs of 20%-30% below existing standards; and measures to track performance in comparison to Energy Star benchmarks. In 2015, the ICC and ASHRAE announced a partnership to fully integrate Standard 189.1 to serve as the technical content of the 2018 version of the IgCC. The new code will also be aligned with the LEED rating system, providing the market with a streamlined set of beyond-code tools.89 In addition to such national efforts, several state, local, and tribal authorities have developed their own green building codes. Therefore, whether one or another is more appropriate may depend on local conditions and priorities. Systems also differ in the types of buildings for which they offer guidelines and certification; some focus primarily on new construction, while others are more geared toward existing buildings. Rating systems assign points to buildings for meeting established criteria in various green building design categories.

  • It reduces the stress we put on the usage of these resources and even makes it more sustainable and long-lasting.
  • Certification is available for many types of projects, including homes, existing buildings, new construction, retail, and core and shell projects.
  • These water-based, solvent-free innovations, which are third-party verified, contain special polymers and additives that ensure they are ecologically friendly, and comply with the most stringent international health and environment regulations.
  • Thus, in order to improve sustainability, we should try to save natural resources whenever possible.
  • Ideal locations for sustainable development include in-fill properties like parking lots and vacant lots, redevelopment sites like rail yards, and remediated brownfields.

This data may include material data sheets, energy bills, simulation reports, and either photos or an inspection of the project once it is complete. By requiring this data, the programs ensure that buildings are truly meeting their standards, not just claiming they are. For example, the evaluator may request product certifications from manufacturers to help sort out possible exaggerated environmental product claims.


Most of the construction workers out there are quite experienced in the conventional construction of buildings, but lack experience and knowledge when it comes to green buildings. Thus, it might be a good idea to have a backup option so that green buildings can use conventional energies as an emergency resource. For example, green construction often implies pretty high initial building costs which are usually higher compared to conventional construction practices. Apart from all the other benefits related to green construction, you will likely also have a clean conscience by engaging in this eco-friendly building style since you know you made a big contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generation. Buildings have to meet minimum energy efficiency requirements before the construction of those buildings is granted. Moreover, a bigger emphasis will be put on the air circulation, which will further improve the overall indoor air quality in homes that have been constructed in a green manner. For instance, for green buildings, solar panels are often used to generate energy so that the building will not need to use energy that is produced with the help of fossil fuels.

There are a number of motives for building green, including environmental, economic, and social benefits. However, modern sustainability initiatives call for an integrated and synergistic design to both new construction and in the retrofitting of existing structures. Also known as sustainable design, this approach integrates the building life-cycle with each green practice employed with a design-purpose to create a synergy among the practices used. Second, hundreds of U.S. and international studies have proven the financial advantages of going green.

Importance Of Green Building

Green building is an effort to amplify the positive and mitigate the negative of these effects throughout the entire life cycle of a building. By protecting Importance Of Green Building natural resources, it improves the quality of resources such as water and air. Daylight-controlled lighting systems have sensors that can detect daylight.

A reduction in the use of fossil fuels through green construction also implies a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. In order to reduce our waste production even further, it is also crucial to improve recycling processes in the construction sector. Green building can be defined as building processes that aim to be eco-friendly and resource-efficient. Construction of a new tunnel under the Netherlands Passages, with an angled cutting, to replace an existing twin-bored tunnel, at a cost of HK$17 billion. The project includes direct link between the Western Harbour Crossing and the Island Eastern Corridor. The project incorporates construction of the WHC underpass and linking the existing tunnel on both sides of New High Street Road to form a single continuous tunnel.

One of the most salient features of green building is integration of the various elements. To accomplish these goals, green buildings use natural materials, land, energy, and even water to help improve wellbeing for both occupants and the environment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *