Factors to Consider for Green Building Design

When it comes to creating the new schools and workplaces of the future, designing sustainable buildings must be one of the main considerations for architects, designers and building planners. Sustainable design emphasizes the needs for infrastructure, efficient energy consumption, durability and air quality to ensure environmental sustainability and the health of those who use the space. Proper insulation of your home, high-efficiency doors and windows, the use of adequate wraps against moisture and wind, heat exchangers, insulated hot water pipes, and the use of appropriately sized high-efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment are all major components of building green homes. Low-emission products, such as construction materials and furniture selection, are also an important part of achieving good indoor air quality.

Choosing products and finishes made from materials certified for low chemical emissions ensures that a minimum of toxins are released into the building. Surface materials must be considered for their moisture retention properties and their ability to resist the formation of mold, which also plays an important role in building air quality. The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) is the coordinating organization of the Cascadia Green Building Council and the Living Building Challenge. This page provides an introduction to some commonly used terms and an overview of the most recognized green building product standards and building qualification and certification programs currently in use, highlighting their variations and some of the aspects to consider when selecting them.

The California Code of Green Building Standards (CalGreen Code) is part 11 of the California Building Standards Code and was the first state green building code in the U. S. EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) is a green building certification system for new residential and commercial buildings in emerging markets. 100% of the energy needs of these buildings are supplied by on-site renewable energy on a net annual basis.

Both new buildings and existing buildings and interiors can be evaluated using Green Globes, whether commercial or multi-family. Within the broader framework of the Living Future challenge, which encompasses the creation of living buildings, communities and food systems, the Living Product Challenge focuses on manufactured products. Projects at the macroeconomic level include districts, neighborhoods and infrastructure projects, while at the microeconomic level, a wide range of building typologies are evaluated, such as commercial, residential, sports, health, school, educational, hotel and industrial buildings. The operating costs of green buildings can also be reduced by 8 to 9% and, at the same time, increase their value by up to 7.5%.

The Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh was one of the first major buildings to obtain LEED certification, earning it LEED Gold certification. These green devices and other energy- and water-saving technologies benefit building owners and the planet. In addition to evaluating a product's ecological performance to verify UL and ETL safety, durability and fire resistance standards should also be taken into account. With the use of this standard, points can be earned for using quarries and natural stone manufacturing facilities certified with LEED or Living Building Challenge.

Architects and engineers recognize the benefits of sustainability and develop environmentally friendly devices and structures to preserve the environment. There is a proliferation of standards, classifications and certification programs in the market that help guide, demonstrate and document efforts to build sustainable, high-performance buildings.