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02-03-2013, 10:35 AM
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Green Building pdf
Green Building

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What is green?

The term “green” refers to environmentally
friendly practices from building design to the
landscaping choices. It also encompasses
energy use, water use, and stormwater and
wastewater reuse.
Buildings can be rated for their environmentally
sustainable construction. One such rating
system is the LEED (Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design). This building rating
system was developed by the U.S. Green
Building Council (GBC) and was created to:
• Define “green building” by establishing a
common standard of measurement;
• Promote integrated, whole-building
design practices;
• Recognize environmental leadership in
the building industry;
• Stimulate green competition;
• Raise consumer awareness of green
building benefits; and
• Transform the standard building market
to a green building market.

Why Going Green Makes Sense

A green building may cost more up front but,
in the long run, will save money through lower
operating costs over the life of the building.
The green building approach applies a project
lifecycle cost analysis to determining the
appropriate up-front expenditure. This analytical
method calculates costs over the useful life
of the asset.
The integrated systems approach ensures that
the building is designed as one system rather
than a collection of stand-alone systems. Some
benefits, such as improving occupant health,
comfort, productivity, reducing pollution and
landfill waste, are not easily quantified.
Consequently, they are not adequately considered
in cost analysis. For this reason, consider
setting aside a small portion of the building
budget to cover differential costs associated
with less tangible green building benefits or to
cover the cost of researching and analyzing
green building options. Even with a tight
budget, many green building measures can be
incorporated with minimal up-front costs, and
they can yield enormous savings.

Retrofitting Existing Buildings

It’s not impossible to transform an existing
building to a green one, but it can be difficult.
There are some easy items that can be retrofitted
into an existing building at relatively low
cost and, in time, often pay for the retrofit.
Existing buildings require an upfront investment
to replace something that already exists
and is, presumably, in working order.
However, not all of the necessary alterations
need to be done at once.

Current Water Consumption

Knowing the existing water consumption for the last
12 months will set a base line and show the future
savings of both water and money. The easiest way
the existing consumption can be figured out is by
looking at the water bill for the previous year. If the
building has its own water source, such as a well, it
is a good idea to install a water meter if one does
not already exist. This meter can help determine
water consumption as well as indicating leaks and
helping with treatment dosages if any treatment
such as disinfection with chlorination is required.


Designing a building with cleanability in mind
can reduce the amount of cleaning products
and water needed—limiting the potential for
occupants or the environment to be harmed by
exposure to chemicals. Designing for cleanability
carries another bonus: it saves money that
would otherwise go to products and staff time.
Design decisions involving a building’s flooring
are among the most significant in determining
its cleanability. Hard-surface or resilient flooring,
such as poured concrete, terrazzo, stone,
rubber, or natural linoleum are much easier to
clean than carpeting. Avoid flooring materials
that need to be stripped and rewaxed regularly.

Plants and the Indoor Environment

EPA ranks indoor air pollution among the top
five environmental risks. Unhealthy air is
found in up to 30 percent of new and renovated
buildings. Of hundreds of EPA-regulated
chemicals, only ozone and sulfur dioxide are
more prevalent outdoor than indoor.
Introducing plants to the indoor environment
can help maintain humidity, increase productivity,
and scrub the air of dangerous chemicals.
The most widely touted claims for indoor
plants focus on their ability to clean the air of
harmful chemicals, particularly volatile
organic compounds.
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