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Green & Sustainable Construction

Green/Sustainable Construction

The most prevalent measurement standard for “Green” buildings is the USGBC’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Program. LEED, a design tool and guide for “Green” construction, establishes standards that are verified through a third party rating system.

The guide focuses on five major areas of environmental concern as follows:

  • Site development
  • Water efficiency
  • Energy efficiency
  • Material selection
  • Indoor environmental air quality

Environmental concerns are not limited to the above but these areas address the most significant elements. Another purely energy related rating system is “Energy Star.”

Green building construction means designing a building, including its placement on the site to reduce resource consumption, augment resource supply and enhance the quality of life. For example, simply facing the long side of a building within 15 degrees of true south (and using proper shading to block summer but not winter sun) can save up to 40% of the energy compared to the same building turned 90 degrees.

A green design should not be an afterthought in the design process. The program should at its outset include a commitment to sustainability. The design process for green requires greater interaction among design team members to accomplish the green objectives at little or no additional cost.

The economic benefits of green have been clearly established. Sometimes the saving and ROI (return on investment) are immediate; it other cases it may be necessary to perform a life cycle cost analysis to demonstrate the benefits. In either case given the worlds limited resources and expanding populations we cannot ignore sustainability.


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