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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
Water Efficiency
  • 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
Materials Efficiency
  • 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
Waste Reduction

Reuse materials from demolished sites

Addtional Resources:

Environmental Protection Agency: www.epa.govexternal link icon
www.sustainablesites.org
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.