What is Green Construction?
WOODMARK HOMES on GOING GREEN!
In 2007 a previous customer, The Bernd Group of Dunedin came to us with a remodel project for a new office in their existing building. Mr.& Mrs. Bernd asked me if we could do the build out with a green concept. I had heard of green building concept but had never done any. With it being our first venture into it, we learned a lot and that started our future towards green building. As we were working on the project we attended classes to obtain more information about green building and took a Lee certification course. On this project we used green drywall, low voc paint, recycled trim and added natural light with sola tubes and green cabinets from Armstrong. By using low voltage lighting and an instant hot water heater the new office was energy efficient. The finished product was really something to be proud. Their staff loves their new environment and takes pride in coming to work in there energy efficient green office. Thank you again to the Bernd's for the start of a new future into green building.
At Woodmark Homes now one of the first things we ask our customers is if they would consider going with some green concept ideas in mind from recycling to low VOC paints and glues, green seal products and recycle all of the construction debris. Our new model home in Citrus County was built with green products and energy star rated fixtures and appliances. Armstrong Cabinets supplied us with the highest rated green cabinet on the market and because of the appearance and quality of them they are now our preferred cabinet.
For more information on green products visit this page for our best links or feel free to call us for help. Woodmark Homescontinually is learning and trying to help the environment.
OUR favorite GREEN Websites:
Just what is GREEN Construction?
Going green means our environment stays CLEAN AND GREEN. The green concept is very easy, if it can be recycled or has been recycled. The paints and solvents and glues must have a low VOC content. All paint companies have green products. There are so many green seal and green certifications that we have found some to be a joke. The links I use are to us green because they are made in a green factory and are made from natural products or recycled. Going green means using less energy by using energy seal products from fixtures to appliances. The lawn even can be green from plants that are drought tolerant and grass that is drout tolerant. There are so many ways to help the environment by going green and some cost are to much but go as far as you can afford. Going green is not cost effective but the products are coming down in prices.
Buildings, infrastructure and the environment are inextricably linked. Energy, materials, water and land are all consumed in the construction and operation of buildings and infrastructure. Environmentally and economically sound design and development techniques are critical to design buildings and infrastructure that are sustainable, healthy and affordable. Education and awareness raising is a starting point in achieving sustainability in the built environment. It attempts to answer the question: So what is happening? Why is this emphasis on green construction and sustainability? What are the problems we are facing?
What is a green or sustainable building?
A green or sustainable building is a building that can maintain or improve: (1) the quality of life and harmonize within the local climate, tradition, culture, (2) the environment in the region, (3) conserve energy, resources and recycling materials, (4) reduce the amount hazardous substances to which human and other organisms are (or may be) exposed and (5) the local and global ecosystem throughout the entire building life-cycle
Introduction to Green Construction
Buildings, infrastructure and the environment are inextricably linked. Energy, materials, water and land are all consumed in the construction and operation of buildings and infrastructure. These built structures in turn become part of our living environment, affecting our living conditions, social well-being and health. It is therefore important to explore environmentally and economically sound design and development techniques in order to design buildings and infrastructure that are sustainable, healthy and affordable, and encourage innovation in buildings and infrastructure systems and designs.
The concept of sustainability in building and construction has evolved over many years. The initial focus was on how to deal with the issue of limited resources, especially energy, and on how to reduce impacts on the natural environment. Emphasis was placed on technical issues such as materials, building components, construction technologies and energy related design concepts. More recently, an appreciation of the significance of non-technical issues has grown. It is now recognized that economic and social sustainability are important, as are the cultural heritage aspects of the built environment.
Still, sustainable or 'green' construction adopts different approaches and is accorded different priorities in different countries. It is not surprising that there are widely divergent views and interpretations between countries with developed market economies and those with developing economies. Countries with mature economies are in the position of being able to devote greater attention to creating more green buildings by upgrading the existing building stock through the application of new developments or the invention and use of innovative technologies for energy and material savings, while developing countries are more likely to focus on social equality and economic sustainability.
Green construction is a way for the building industry to move towards achieving sustainable development, taking into account environmental, socio-economic and cultural issues. Specifically, it involves issues such as design and management of buildings, materials and building performance, energy and resource consumption - within the larger orbit of urban development and management.
The key need here is to look at appropriate tools and concepts for the design and assessment of the sustainability impacts of materials, components and technologies used in buildings and their construction. We need to develop a better understanding of the appropriateness of technologies that is used in buildings and for construction, including indigenous materials and technologies currently being used.
By networking with other organizations and institutions, we need to develop capacity – in terms of education, knowledge and experience – to use the materials, technologies, and tools for sustainable construction. This also includes related issues such as regulatory systems, institutional structures, market incentives, socio-economic and historical aspects. Ultimately, it is the broad involvement of all concerned stakeholders in the process of adoption and implementation of green construction principles, that will drive sustainability in the sector.
Architecture and Green Construction
People today talk of designing not architectural artifacts, but of designing systems that generate architecture. Christopher Alexander professes that planning and construction should be guided by a process which allows the whole to emerge gradually from the local acts
Thus within the scope provided by the basic urban fabric, each individual carves out his own niche in his won way, to which he identifies and by which he belong to the community. The built form is used as a media to express his artistic and economic aspirations fully.
Nowhere are these expressions better brought forth than in the home of an individual. Underlying these factors is the subtle and subjective 'human factor' in the built environment. This is of course an oxymoron, since any 'built environment' for humans has to have a human factor.
But somewhere along the way, there has come about an erosion of values, of traditional ways of building and manipulation of space, that were so cherished by earlier generations.
Building and construction has now become institutionalized by private developers and local governments alike, neglecting and disregarding the human factor - a mere exercise in technology where humans are pressed to live in an anonymous environment.
Much of the anonymity of urban architecture has been primarily driven by physical, sociological and cultural dimensions. But a new dimension has risen recently - that of environmental issues. As cities and urban areas grow, the demand that it places on its hinterland for resources and for land to absorb the wastes it generates, goes beyond its administrative boundaries and covering areas beyond even national boundaries. This 'footprint analysis' demonstrates for example, that London needs a land area that is equal to the entire UK to support it; Tokyo requires a land area 3.2 times the land area of Japan as a whole.
A deeper and broader understanding of the environmental implications of urban activities and consumption patterns, and of the local beginnings of global environmental problems, has resulted in a rethinking of how we look at cities and urban areas - and of the built environment within these areas.
Developing and instituting environmental management systems or EMS for a building or a cluster of buildings, is becoming increasingly popular in order to reduce the environmental impacts of such structures, whether, for example, through the consumption of energy or through the use of building materials. The EMS fosters a systematic and holistic approach to managing a building's environmental impact.
Another tool - Life Cycle Assessment - is enabling a cradle-to-grave approach of understanding the material flows into the built environment and the savings that can be instituted. Indeed, a more detailed and comprehensive approach is necessary, starting from the design and construction stages to the use and demolition stages: a conception-to-resurrection approach that takes all stages, and effects and impacts into consideration, including what happens when a building has to be demolished - that stage too has an environmental impact!
But buildings do not exist in isolation. Individually and collectively, buildings and other structures form an intrinsic part of the urban fabric, constituting what we can call a city. Therefore, the environmental dimensions of cities are equally important in order to contextualize the ecological ambience within which buildings exist.
The complexity of managing the local environment in cities and urbanized areas, present a challenge that goes beyond the capacities and capabilities of any one urban stakeholder - whether governmental or non-governmental.
This calls for a complete and comprehensive rethinking of the way we look at cities. Much as we look at mountains, and rivers, and deserts as ecosystems, cities are also increasingly being looked at as urban ecosystems where resources are input, processed and wastes are output. Looking at cities as 'sustainable ecosystems' enables the objective, multidisciplinary study of urban and economic systems based on the integration of scientific, technological, environmental and management disciplines.
Looking at cities (and its natural and built environments) as sustainable ecosystems is critical in providing a long-term vision for cities based on sustainability. It empowers people and fosters participation and inter-generational equity. It recognizes and builds on the characteristics of cities including their human, cultural, historic and natural systems. Besides environmental dimensions, an ecosystem approach also helps achieve long term economic and social security. It enables communities to minimize their ecological footprint, and enables continual improvement, accountability and transparency. Effective demand management and appropriate use of environmentally sound technologies for cities can be systematized, and a range of approaches and tools can be used to assist cities adopt such sustainable practices. On the whole, it recognizes the intrinsic value of biodiversity and natural ecosystems and their protection and restoration from within an urban perspective.
These issues are critical to the professions represented here today -architects, planners, developers and designers. All of us have a role to play - we need to go beyond our buildings and designs, and remember to contextualize our work within a larger urban ecosystem. By doing this, environmental impacts can be reduced, and less resources consumed, in order to achieve broad long-term sustainability: both at the level of a building and at the level of a city.
please visit for more information on Green Resources
Green Building Will Account for 50% of New Homes by 2010
According to a survey of home builders conducted by McGraw-Hill Construction in 2006, between 40% and 50% of the homes built in 2010 are expected to be green, containing at least three of five green building elements*. This prediction marks a significant upsurge of activity, as the residential green construction market in 2006 was at about 2%.
Motivated by the nation’s overall focus on doing the right thing for the environment, the movement is gaining momentum, making both builders and home buyers feel good about doing their part. The green building movement has evolved in recent years from energy-efficient appliances in new construction homes to the adoption of overall green construction practices for their long-term value in operating and maintenance costs, as well as healthy living factors.
When surveying green home buyers, eighty-five percent of those surveyed indicated they were more satisfied with their new green homes than with their previous, traditionally built homes. And, sixty-three percent of the green home buyers in the poll indicated that their motivation was long-term savings in operating and maintenance costs.
McGraw-Hill research on the size and other characteristics of the green building market also found that:
New green home owners tend to be affluent and well-educated, in their mid-40’s and married.
50% of the buyers surveyed indicated that environmental concerns and their family’s health was a significant motivating factor for buying green, in addition to the lower operating and maintenance costs
More than 50% of those polled felt that the biggest obstacle to overcome for continued growth of green construction is consumer education on its benefits and current availability
Additional cost and the limited availability of green homes are additional obstacles that need to be overcome
*Green Building Elements:
Energy (high efficiency HVAC equipment)
Indoor environment (allergen-free, chemical-free building materials0
Resource management (recycled or salvaged building materials)
Site management (use or native and/or drought-resistant plants)
Water efficiency (water conserving appliances)
The information source for this article is Nation’s Building News, the official online weekly newspaper of the National Association of Home Builders, sponsored by McGraw-Hill Construction.
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This article is about green buildings. For the building on the MIT campus, see Green Building (MIT).
US EPA Kansas City Science & Technology Center. This facility features the following green attributes:
*LEED 2.0 Gold certified
Green building is the practice of increasing the efficiency with which buildings use resources — energy, water, and materials — while reducing building impacts on human health and the environment during the building's lifecycle, through better siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal.
Green buildings are designed to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by:
Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources
Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity
Reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation
A similar concept is natural building, which is usually on a smaller scale and tends to focus on the use of natural materials that are available locally. Other commonly used terms include sustainable design and green architecture.
The related concepts of sustainable development and sustainability are integral to green building. Effective green building can lead to 1) reduced operating costs by increasing productivity and using less energy and water, 2) improved public and occupant health due to improved indoor air quality, and 3) reduced environmental impacts by, for example, lessening storm water runoff and the heat island effect. Practitioners of green building often seek to achieve not only ecological but aesthetic harmony between a structure and its surrounding natural and built environment, although the appearance and style of sustainable buildings is not necessarily distinguishable from their less sustainable counterparts.
Green building practices aim to reduce the environmental impact of buildings. Buildings account for a large amount of land use, energy and water consumption, and air and atmosphere alteration. In the United States, more than 2,000,000 acres (8,100 km2) of open space, wildlife habitat, and wetlands are developed each year.
As of 2006, buildings used 40 percent of the total energy consumed in both the US and European Union. In the US, 54 percent of that percentage was consumed by residential buildings and 46 percent by commercial buildings. In 2002, buildings used approximately 68 percent of the total electricity consumed in the United States with 51 percent for residential use and 49 percent for commercial use. 38 percent of the total amount of carbon dioxide in the United States can be attributed to buildings, 21 percent from homes and 17.5 percent from commercial uses. Buildings account for 12.2 percent of the total amount of water consumed per day in the United States.
Considering these statistics, reducing the amount of natural resources buildings consume and the amount of pollution given off is seen as crucial for future sustainability, according to EPA.
The environmental impact of buildings is often underestimated, while the perceived costs of green buildings are overestimated. A recent survey by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development finds that green costs are overestimated by 300 percent, as key players in real estate and construction estimate the additional cost at 17 percent above conventional construction, more than triple the true average cost difference of about 5 percent.
Green building practices
Green building brings together a vast array of practices and techniques to reduce and ultimately eliminate the impacts of buildings on the environment and human health. It often emphasizes taking advantage of renewable resources, e.g., using sunlight through passive solar, active solar, and photovoltaic techniques and using plants and trees through green roofs, rain gardens, and for reduction of rainwater run-off. Many other techniques, such as using packed gravel for parking lots instead of concrete or asphalt to enhance replenishment of ground water, are used as well. Effective green buildings are more than just a random collection of environmental friendly technologies, however. They require careful, systemic attention to the full life cycle impacts of the resources embodied in the building and to the resource consumption and pollution emissions over the building's complete life cycle.
On the aesthetic side of green architecture or sustainable design is the philosophy of designing a building that is in harmony with the natural features and resources surrounding the site. There are several key steps in designing sustainable buildings: specify 'green' building materials from local sources, reduce loads, optimize systems, and generate on-site renewable energy.
Green building materials
Building materials typically considered to be 'green' include rapidly renewable plant materials like bamboo and straw, lumber from forests certified to be sustainably managed, dimension stone, recycled stone, recycled metal, and other products that are non-toxic, reusable, renewable, and/or recyclable (eg Trass, Linoleum, sheep wool, panels made from paper flakes,compressed earth block, adobe, baked earth, rammed earth, clay, vermiculite, flax linen, sisal, seagrass, cork, expanded clay grains, coconut, wood fibre plates, calcium sand stone... ). Building materials should be extracted and manufactured locally to the building site to minimize the energy embedded in their transportation.
Reduced Energy Use
Main articles: Low-energy house and Zero-energy building
Green buildings often include measures to reduce energy use. To increase the efficiency of the building envelope, (the barrier between conditioned and unconditioned space), they may use high-efficiency windows and insulation in walls, ceilings, and floors. Another strategy, passive solar building design, is often implemented in low-energy homes. Designers orient windows and walls and place awnings, porches, and trees to shade windows and roofs during the summer while maximizing solar gain in the winter. In addition, effective window placement (daylighting) can provide more natural light and lessen the need for electric lighting during the day. Solar water heating further reduces energy loads.
Finally, onsite generation of renewable energy through solar power, wind power, hydro power, or biomass can significantly reduce the environmental impact of the building. Power generation is generally the most expensive feature to add to a building.
Green architecture also seeks to reduce waste of energy, water and materials. During the construction phase, one goal should be to reduce the amount of material going to landfills. Well-designed buildings also help reduce the amount of waste generated by the occupants as well, by providing on-site solutions such as compost bins to reduce matter going to landfills.
To reduce the impact on wells or water treatment plants, several options exist. "Greywater", wastewater from sources such as dishwashing or washing machines, can be used for subsurface irrigation, or if treated, for non-potable purposes, e.g., to flush toilets and wash cars. Rainwater collectors are used for similar purposes.
Centralized wastewater treatment systems can be costly and use a lot of energy. An alternative to this process is converting waste and wastewater into fertilizer, which avoids these costs and shows other benefits. By collecting human waste at the source and running it to a semi-centralized biogas plant with other biological waste, liquid fertilizer can be produced. This concept was demonstrated by a settlement in Lubeck Germany in the late 1990s. Practices like these provide soil with organic nutrients and create carbon sinks that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, offsetting greenhouse gas emission. Producing artificial fertilizer is also more costly in energy than this process. United States
Main article: Green building in the United States
The United States has established several sustainable design organizations and programs.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a non-profit trade organization that promotes sustainability in how buildings are designed, built and operated. The USGBC is best known for the development of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system and Greenbuild, a green building conference that promotes the green building industry. As of September 2008, USGBC has more than 17,000 member organizations from every sector of the building industry and works to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. To achieve this it has developed a variety of programs and services, and works closely with key industry and research organizations and federal, state and local government agencies. USGBC also offers a host of educational opportunities, including workshops and Web-based seminars to educate the public and industry professionals on different elements of the green building industry, from the basics to more technical information. Through its Green Building Certification Institute, USGBC offers industry professionals the chance to develop expertise in the field of green building and to receive accreditation as green building professionals.
The National Association of Home Builders, a trade association representing home builders, remodelers and suppliers to the industry, has created a voluntary residential green building program known as NAHBGreen (www.nahbgreen.org). The program includes an online scoring tool, national certification, industry education, and training for local verifiers. The online scoring tool is free to builders and to homeowners.
The Green Building Initiative is a non-profit network of building industry leaders working to mainstream building approaches that are environmentally progressive, but also practical and affordable for builders to implement. The GBI has developed a web-based rating tool called Green Globes, which is being upgraded in accordance with ANSI procedures.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program rates commercial buildings for energy efficiency and provides Energy Star qualifications for new homes that meet its standards for energy efficient building design.
In 2005, Washington State became the first state in the United States to enact green building legislation. According to the law, all major public agency facilities with a floor area exceeding 5,000 square feet (465 m²), including state funded school buildings, are required to meet or exceed LEED standards in construction or renovation. The projected benefits from this law are 20% annual savings in energy and water costs, 38% reduction in waste water production and 22% reduction in construction waste.
Charlottesville, Virginia became one of the first small towns in the United States to enact green building legislation. This presents a significant shift in construction and architecture as LEED regulations have formerly been focused on commercial construction. If US homeowner interest grows in "green" residential construction, the companies involved in the production and manufacturing of LEED building materials will become likely candidates for tomorrow's round of private equity and IPO investing
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