In this a rebuttal post to The Green Building Adoption Rate is Slow, Find Out The Practical Reasons Why, Richard argues that in fact the growth rate has been very high, citing for example that in late 2010, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) celebrated its first billion square feet of LEED certified green buildings. He makes the argument that the growth rate in the green building space is actually quite high especially considering the background of economic recession and tight capital in which it has occurred.
This, the fifth and final article in our series on green (sustainable) buildings examines the importance of using green and sustainable materials; to focus on re-cycling and prefer re-use where possible. It continues by looking at ways to promote occupant health and safety, which is an important consideration for green buildings. This final installment concludes by addressing the importance building operations and maintenance to ensure that they function as intended over time.
For new projects where the building site is not already decided, an important green consideration is the selection of a location for the building that fits into the existing urban fabric, especially the existing mass transit network of the city. Prospective sites should also be selected based on how easily they can integrate into the existing electric, gas, water, and sewage utilities. Fitting into a city’s existing infrastructure so that a project has the smallest impact on the existing energy, water, sewage and road systems is the first point at which the green decision making process comes into play. In addition to siting a green building should be oriented and landscaped to make the most of its site ant to integrate into the urban fabric so that it organically fits into it and enhances its surroundings. Orientation and landscaping can have major impacts on a buildings water and energy efficiency as well as on its environmental impact.
Many green buildings also seek to promote a green aesthetic and ambiance in their design and in how they are sited within the urban fabric they will exist within. Often these other additional design considerations flow from and are achieved in a synergistic manner by the structure’s other central design goals of reducing energy impact, water impact and providing a healthy inner space for its occupants. Sustainable buildings often promote a more livable environment and ambiance within and around them; enriching both the inner and the outer spaces.