Green Building Practices
What are Green Building Practices?
A process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle. Many of these techniques can lower operating costs and use fewer natural resources.
Siting and Structure Design Efficiency & Energy Efficiency
- Use high-efficiency windows and insulation in walls, ceilings, and floors
- Orient windows, walls, awnings, porches, and trees for effective seasonal shade or solar gain
- Use solar water heating, solar power, wind power, or hydro power
- Use dual plumbing that recycles water in toilets
- Utilize water conserving fixtures
- Use point of use water treatment and heating
- Use non-sewage and reusable water (generated from laundry, dishwashing, and bathing) or rainwater for on-site use
- Use lumber from forests that have been certified to a third-party forest standard
- Use rapidly renewable plant materials like bamboo and straw, dimension stone, recycled stone, recycled metal, and products that are non-toxic, reusable, renewable, and/or recyclable
- Use recycled industrial goods such as coal combustion products, foundry sand, and demolition debris in construction projects
Indoor Environmental Quality Enhancement
- Choose construction materials and interior finish products with zero or low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions
- Control moisture accumulation leading to mold growth, bacteria, viruses and dust mites
- Create a high performance luminous environment through the careful integration of daylight and electrical light sources
- Use solid wood products, particularly flooring, to control allergies to dust or other particulates
Operations and Maintenance Optimization
- Operate and maintain the building responsibly and properly
- Use new green technologies such as recycling and air quality enhancements
Reuse materials from demolished sites
Environmental Protection Agency: www.epa.gov
Database of State Incentives for Renewalables and Efficiency: www.dsireusa.org
Did You Know?
- Buildings built primarily with wood have a lower embodied energy required to extract, process, transport and install building materials and lower operating energy than those built primarily with brick, concrete or steel.
- Most green buildings add <2% to construction costs, but yield 10 times as much over the entire life of the building through operation cost savings.
- Over a 20 year life period, LEED and Energy Star certified buildings have yielded $53 to $71 per square foot back on investment through rent or sale prices and occupancy rates.
- Savings in money come from more efficient use of utilities which result in decreased energy bills.
- Re-use of existing buildings as opposed to new construction reduces environmental impact, as existing buildings already use more than 40% of the world’s total primary energy consumption and emit 24% of global carbon dioxide.
- In California nearly 60% of the state's waste comes from commercial buildings.