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What is a green, sustainable building?

A green or sustainable building is a building that can maintain or improve

  • The quality of life and harmonize within the local climate, tradition, culture
  • The environment in the region
  • Conserve energy, resources and recycling materials
  • Reduce the amount of hazardous substances to which human and other organisms are exposed to
  • The local and global ecosystem throughout the entire building life-cycle

Definition of Green Building according to Wikipedia: A sustainable building, or green building is an outcome of a design philosophy which focuses on increasing the efficiency of resource use — energy, water, and materials — while reducing building impacts on human health and the environment during the building’s lifecycle, through better design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal. Though green building is interpreted in many different ways, a common view is that they should be designed and operated to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by

  1. Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources,
  2. Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity, and
  3. Reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation

Below is a substantial list of possible elements, which can contribute to a development receiving “Green” designation:

  • Building site positioning to take advantage of energy efficiencies.
  • Materials selection – Sensitivity to indoor air quality conditions; avoidance of use of volatile, organic compounds.
  • Use of renewable energy sources – Solar electric; wind generated electric; geothermal, or solar thermal, heating.
  • Carbon neutral – the property’s operations will not result in carbon dioxide emissions released into the atmosphere, either incurred directly by the building, or indirectly by suppliers of energy to the building.
  • Energy efficiency – Materials providing isolative qualities in roofing, walls, windows, or energy absorption in extreme climates; reflective coatings in warm climates.
  • Sharing of parking structures with other uses (i.e. as in a mixed-use development).
  • Low energy usage – High SEER rated air conditioning; energy efficient lighting, and appliances.
  • Building Design – Making use of daylight to illuminate interiors; use of natural ventilation.
  • Water Use Reduction – Rainwater retention systems; drought-tolerant plantings; low water usage showerheads and toilets.
  • Public Transportation Proximity – Public transit-served locations allowing residents to travel by public transportation to and from their occupation or entertainment venues without need for automobile travel.