What is ‘Green’ Building?
Green building is a rising nation-wide trend. According to the USGBC, the market value of certified new green building construction was $792 million in 2000. It took just four years for this figure to multiply nearly ten times. (Certified new green building construction was valued at $7.73 billion in 2004.) Experts are projecting significant continued increases in the coming years.
Ways to Build Green
- Take advantage of renewable resources.
- Use building materials from local sources.
- Select rapidly renewable and low-impact building materials (recycled metal and VOC insulation that does not emit toxins).
- Reduce the amount of material going to landfills by recycling during construction.
- Use sunlight for energy and illumination.
- Ensure that windows, doors, and walls are well insulated.
- Use green roofs and rain gardens to reduce rainwater run-off.
- Use ‘greywater’ (recycled from sources such as dishwashing) for non-potable purposes such as flushing toilets.
- Pave with pervious concrete to filter and replenish groundwater instead of perpetuating pollution caused by run-off from concrete and asphalt.
Green building is not just good for the environment, it is also good for business. The USGBC asserts that a $4-per-square-foot investment in green construction will generate approximately $58 per square foot in savings for a building with a 20-year life cycle.
This green construction cost savings comes from several areas:
- health and productivity ($42 per square foot)
- operations and maintenance ($8.50 per square foot)
- energy ($5.80 per square foot)
- emissions ($1.20 per square foot)
- water ($0.50 per square foot)