Green buildings increase the efficient use of energy, environmental, and human resources. They also incorporate practices that significantly reduce or eliminate adverse environmental impacts, increase efficiency and translate into an economic benefit. Green buildings cost less to operate because, among other things, they use less energy and water, and require less maintenance. They have better indoor air quality because they minimize chemicals, mold and other harmful substances. And they have excellent resale value-because green buildings are quality buildings and they're built to last.
Making improvements to design when renovating or building is very cost effective. A one-time investment premium of less than 1% has been shown to increase energy efficiency over standard building code practices by 20-30%. Green buildings or buildings that meet the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) third party certification process, may be built with little increase in first costs. If green concepts are incorporated early in the design process, a certified green building may cost no more to build than a code compliant building.
Green building gives careful consideration to three main elements:
- Healthy indoor environment
- Maximum energy efficiency and conservative
- Conservative and thoughtful use of natural resources
In the United States, and now worldwide, green buildings are certified through an independent third party, the US Green Building Council’s program, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®). More information on LEED can be found at their website.
In the United States, buildings account for:
- 39% of total energy use
- 12% of the total water consumption
- 68% of total electricity consumption
- 38% of the carbon dioxide emissions
Check back this week for more on Green Building.