Green building (also known as green construction or sustainable building) refers to both a structure and the using of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle: from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. In other words, green building design involves finding the balance between home building and the sustainable environment. This requires close cooperation of the design team, the architects, the engineers, and the client at all project stages. The Green Building practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings which was Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Although new technologies are constantly being developed to complement current practices in creating greener structures, the common objective is that 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 related topics include sustainable design and green architecture. Sustainability may be defined as meeting the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Although some green building programs don’t address the issue of the retrofitting existing homes, others do, especially through public schemes for energy efficient refurbishment. Green construction principles can easily be applied to retrofit work as well as new construction.
A 2009 report by the U.S. General Services Administration found 12 sustainably designed buildings cost less to operate and have excellent energy performance. In addition, occupants were more satisfied with the overall building than those in typical commercial buildings.