Green Building

What is Green Building?
Green building is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction. This practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort. Green building is also known as a sustainable or high performance building.

In the United States, conventional 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

What is LEED?
LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification program developed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

What are the Benefits of Green Building?
Economic

  • The cost per square foot for buildings seeking LEED certification falls into the existing range of costs for buildings not seeking LEED certification.
  • An upfront investment of 2% in green building design, on average, results in life cycle savings of 20% of the total construction costs – more than ten times the initial investment. 
  • Building sale prices for energy efficient buildings are as much as 10% higher per square foot than conventional buildings.
  • Operating costs decrease 13.6% for new construction and 8.5% for existing building projects
  • Building value increases 10.9% new construction and 6.8% existing building projects
  • Return on investment improves 9.9% new construction and 19.2% existing building projects
  • Occupancy increases 6.4% new construction and 2.5% existing building projects
  • Rent increases 6.1% new construction and 1% existing building projects

Energy
In comparison to the average commercial building:

  • Green buildings consume 26% less energy
  • Green buildings have 13% lower maintenance costs
  • Green buildings have 27% higher occupant satisfaction
  • Green buildings have 33% less greenhouse gas emissions

Environmental

  • Enhance and protect biodiversity and ecosystems
  • Improve air and water quality
  • Reduce waste streams
  • Conserve and restore natural resources

Social

  • Increased occupant productivity and well-being
  • Higher work productivity, lower absenteeism, less health-related absenteeism
  • Progressive, creative, and innovative – attracts tenants and/or clients
  • Improve overall quality of life

Resources
USEPA Green Homes - The USEPA’s suggestions for ways to reduce your energy and water use inside your home.
USEPA Renter’s Checklist - The USEPA also provides information on how to control the environmental impact of your home if you are a renter.