Green Building Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.

org/wiki/Green_building Green building (also known as green construction or sustainable building) refers to a structure and using process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle: from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. This practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort. 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.

Reducing environmental impact Green building practices aim to reduce the environmental impact of buildings, and the very first rule is, do not build in sprawl. No matter how much grass you put on your roof, no matter how many energy-efficient windows, etc. Goals of green building The concept of sustainable development can be traced to the energy (especially fossil oil) crisis and the environment pollution concern in the 1970s. The green building movement in the U.S. originated from the need and desire for more energy efficient and environmentally friendly construction practices. There are a number of motives to building green, including environmental, economic, and social benefits. However, modern sustainability initiatives call for an integrated and synergistic design to both new construction and in the retrofitting of an existing structure. Also known as sustainable design, this approach integrates the building life-cycle with each green practice employed with a design-purpose to create a synergy amongst the practices used. 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 or permeable concrete instead of conventional concrete or asphalt to enhance replenishment of ground water, are used as well. While the practices, or technologies, employed in green building are constantly evolving and may differ from region to region, there are fundamental principles that persist from which the method is derived: Siting and Structure Design Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Water Efficiency, Materials Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality Enhancement, Operations and Maintenance Optimization, and Waste and Toxics Reduction. The essence of green building is an optimization of one or more of these principles. Also, with the proper synergistic design, individual green building technologies may work together to produce a greater cumulative effect. 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.

Life cycle assessment (LCA) A life cycle assessment (LCA) can help avoid a narrow outlook on environmental, social and economic concerns by assessing a full range of impacts associated with all the stages of a process from cradle-to-grave (i.e., from extraction of raw materials through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling). Impacts taken into account include (among others) embodied energy, global warming potential, resource use, air pollution, water pollution, and waste. In terms of green building, the last few years have seen a shift away from a prescriptive approach, which assumes that certain prescribed practices are better for the environment, toward the scientific evaluation of actual performance through LCA. Although LCA is widely recognized as the best way to evaluate the environmental

despite the fact that embodied energy and other life cycle impacts are critical to the design of environmentally responsible buildings. ANSI/GBI 01-2010: Green Building Protocol for Commercial Buildings.org. the ATHENA® EcoCalculator for Assemblies provides LCA results for several hundred common building assembles based on data generated by its more complex parent software. In North America.impacts of buildings (ISO 14040 provides a recognized LCA methodology). BEES 4. it is not yet a consistent requirement of green building rating systems and codes. LCA is also included as a pilot credit in the LEED system. A more product-oriented tool is the BEES® (Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability) software.) Athena software tools are especially useful early in the design process when material choices have far-reaching implications for overall environmental impact. Particularly useful at the specification and procurement stage of a project. and is part of the new American National Standard based on Green Globes. They allow designers to experiment with different material mixes to achieve the most effective combination. Although LCA is often perceived as overly complex and time consuming for regular use by design professionals. research organizations such as BRE in the UK and the Athena Sustainable Materials Institute in North America are working to make it more accessible. though a decision has not been made as to whether it will be incorporated fully into the next major revision. Siting and structure design efficiency The foundation of any construction project is rooted in the concept and design stages. the BRE Green Guide to Specifications offers ratings for 1. (The EcoCalculator is available free at www. . the ATHENA® Impact Estimator for Buildings.athenasmi. In North America. In the UK. LCA is rewarded to some extent in the Green Globes® rating system. The state of California also included LCA as a voluntary measure in its 2010 draft Green Building Standards Code. which combines environmental measures with economic indicators to provide a final rating.500 building materials based on LCA.0 includes data on 230 products (including generic and manufacturer brands) such as siding and sheathing.

ceilings. high-efficiency windows and insulation in walls. Onsite generation of renewable energy through solar power. Energy efficiency Green buildings often include measures to reduce energy consumption – both the embodied energy required to extract. is one of the major steps in a project life cycle. wind power. the objective is to minimize the total environmental impact associated with all life-cycle stages of the building project. buildings are much more complex products. building as a process is not as streamlined as an industrial process. effective window placement (daylighting) can provide more natural light and lessen the need for electric lighting during the day. hydro power. embodied energy has assumed much greater importance – and may make up as much as 30% of the overall life cycle energy consumption. Solar water heating further reduces energy costs. composed of a multitude of materials and components each constituting various design variables to be decided at the design stage. To reduce operating energy use. Power generation is generally the most expensive feature to add to a building. One critical issue of water consumption is that in many areas. Water efficiency Reducing water consumption and protecting water quality are key objectives in sustainable building. In addition. porches. or biomass can significantly reduce the environmental impact of the building. In addition. (the barrier between conditioned and unconditioned space). In designing environmentally optimal buildings. is often implemented in low-energy homes. As high-performance buildings use less operating energy. never repeating itself identically. in fact. and varies from one building to the other. and trees to shade windows and roofs during the summer while maximizing solar gain in the winter. Another strategy. transport and install building materials and operating energy to provide services such as heating and power for equipment. A variation of every design variable may affect the environment during all the building's relevant life-cycle stages.The concept stage. the demands on the supplying aquifer exceed its ability to replenish itself. To the . Designers orient windows and walls and place awnings. However. as it has the largest impact on cost and performance. process. passive solar building design. and floors increase the efficiency of the building envelope.

high quality elements. Where possible. adobe. baked earth. was created to provide comfort. and demolition debris in construction projects Building materials should be extracted and manufactured locally to the building site to minimize the energy embedded in their transportation. less noise and dust. flax linen. facilities should increase their dependence on water that is collected. expanded clay grains. calcium sand stone. etc. dimension stone. renewable. compressed earth block. wood fibre plates. vermiculite. recycled stone. better OHS management. The LEED IEQ category addresses design and construction guidelines especially: indoor air quality (IAQ). The protection and conservation of water throughout the life of a building may be accomplished by designing for dual plumbing that recycles water in toilet flushing. sisal. foundry sand. purified. rammed earth. thermal quality. recycled metal. cork. well-being. concrete (high and ultra high performance. sheep wool. one of the five environmental categories.g. seagrass. The use of non-sewage and greywater for on-site use such as siteirrigation will minimize demands on the local aquifer Materials efficiency Building materials typically considered to be 'green' include lumber from forests that have been certified to a third-party forest standard. rapidly renewable plant materials like bamboo and straw. Trass. and/or recyclable (e. Bidets help eliminate the use of toilet paper. such as coal combustion products. and productivity of occupants. panels made from paper flakes. and other products that are non-toxic. and lighting quality. reusable.) The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) also suggests using recycled industrial goods. Indoor Air Quality seeks to reduce volatile organic compounds. building elements should be manufactured off-site and delivered to site. coconut. Linoleum. reducing sewer traffic and increasing possibilities of re-using water on-site. insulating concrete forms. Indoor environmental quality enhancement The Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) category in LEED standards. roman self-healing concrete) . Waste-water may be minimized by utilizing water conserving fixtures such as ultra-low flush toilets and low-flow shower heads.. to maximise benefits of off-site manufacture including minimising waste.maximum extent feasible. Point of use water treatment and heating improves both water quality and energy efficiency while reducing the amount of water in circulation. maximising recycling (because manufacture is in one location). and other . clay. and reused on-site. used. or VOCs.

cleaning. During the design and construction process choosing construction materials and interior finish products with zero or low VOC emissions will improve IAQ. available at http://www. Personal temperature and airflow control over the HVAC system coupled with a properly designed building envelope will also aid in increasing a building's thermal quality. dry cleaners. Most building materials and cleaning/maintenance products emit gases.) from other occupancies. These gases can have a detrimental impact on occupants' health and productivity as well. filtered air as well as isolated operations (kitchens. etc. cooking. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American recommends hardwood. Avoiding these products will increase a building's IEQ. such as many VOCs including formaldehyde. some of them toxic.com/iaq.[ .or mechanically-powered) to provide adequate ventilation of cleaner air from outdoors or recirculated. Water intrusion through a building's envelope or water condensing on cold surfaces on the building's interior can enhance and sustain microbial growth.buildingecology. bathing. linoleum tile or slate flooring instead of carpet. vinyl. Creating a high performance luminous environment through the careful integration of daylight and electrical light sources will improve on the lighting quality and energy performance of a structure.asp? ref=0905-6947. The use of wood products can also improve air quality by absorbing or releasing moisture in the air to moderate humidity. Interactions among all the indoor components and the occupants together form the processes that determine the indoor air quality. are often specified in environments where occupants are known to have allergies to dust or other particulates. particularly flooring. Wood itself is considered to be hypo-allergenic and its smooth surfaces prevent the buildup of particles common in soft finishes like carpet. and other activities. An extensive set of resources on indoor air quality is available at http://www. Extensive investigation of such processes is the subject of indoor air scientific research and is well documented in the journal Indoor Air.com/journal. A well-insulated and tightly-sealed envelope will reduce moisture problems but adequate ventilation is also necessary to eliminate moisture from sources indoors including human metabolic processes. Buildings rely on a properly designed ventilation system (passively/naturally. Solid wood products.air impurities such as microbial contaminants.blackwellpublishing. Also important to indoor air quality is the control of moisture accumulation (dampness) leading to mold growth and the presence of bacteria and viruses as well as dust mites and other organisms and microbiological concerns.

. can be used for subsurface irrigation. owner/operators and individuals/homeowners looking for information on wood recycling. e. Ensuring operations and maintenance (O&M) personnel are part of the project's planning and development process will help retain the green criteria designed at the onset of the project. The site includes a variety of resources for regulators. "Greywater".com. Waste reduction Green architecture also seeks to reduce waste of energy. one goal should be to reduce the amount of material going to landfills. water and materials used during construction. for non-potable purposes. construction and demolition phases of a building's life-cycle. the CO2 Neutral Alliance (a coalition of government. To reduce the amount of wood that goes to landfill. Although the goal of waste reduction may be applied during the design. The addition of new green technologies also falls on the O&M staff. NGOs and the forest industry) created the website dontwastewood. wastewater from sources such as dishwashing or washing machines. Extending the useful life of a structure also reduces waste – building materials such as wood that are light and easy to work with make renovations easier. they are typically demolished and hauled to landfills. or if treated. to flush toilets and wash cars. Well-designed buildings also help reduce the amount of waste generated by the occupants as well. When buildings reach the end of their useful life. Rainwater collectors are used for similar purposes.Operations and maintenance optimization No matter how sustainable a building may have been in its design and construction. by providing on-site solutions such as compost bins to reduce matter going to landfills. it is in the O&M phase that green practices such as recycling and air quality enhancement take place. To reduce the impact on wells or water treatment plants. developers.g.[26] Every aspect of green building is integrated into the O&M phase of a building's life. it can only remain so if it is operated responsibly and maintained properly. municipalities. in California nearly 60% of the state's waste comes from commercial buildings During the construction phase.. contractors. Deconstruction is a method of harvesting what is commonly considered “waste” and reclaiming it into useful building material. For example. several options exist.

a number of organizations have developed standards. sale prices and occupancy rates as well as lower capitalization rates potentially reflecting lower investment risk. Producing artificial fertilizer is also more costly in energy than this process. offsetting greenhouse gas emission. In some cases.Centralized wastewater treatment systems can be costly and use a lot of energy. building professionals and consumers embrace green building with confidence. Studies have shown over a 20 year life period. Most green buildings cost a premium of <2%. codes are written so local governments can adopt them as bylaws to reduce the local environmental impact of buildings. higher worker or student productivity can be factored into savings and cost deductions.[31] The stigma is between the knowledge of up-front cost[32] vs. but yield 10 times as much over the entire life of the building. and modern technologies tend to cost more money. some green buildings have yielded $53 to $71 per square foot back on investment. An alternative to this process is converting waste and wastewater into fertilizer. Cost and payoff The most criticized issue about constructing environmentally friendly buildings is the price. further studies of the commercial real estate market have found that LEED and Energy Star certified buildings achieve significantly higher rents.[33] Also. Practices like these provide soil with organic nutrients and create carbon sinks that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. which avoids these costs and shows other benefits. LEED (United .[34] Confirming the rentability of green building investments. Green building rating systems such as BREEAM (United Kingdom). codes and rating systems that let government regulators. This concept was demonstrated by a settlement in Lubeck Germany in the late 1990s. liquid fertilizer can be produced. Regulation and operation As a result of the increased interest in green building concepts and practices. new appliances. By collecting human waste at the source and running it to a semi-centralized biogas plant with other biological waste. The savings in money come from more efficient use of utilities which result in decreased energy bills. It is projected that different sectors could save $130 Billion on energy bills. Photo-voltaics. life-cycle cost.

[38] Green building codes and standards.[39] are sets of rules created by standards development organizations that establish minimum requirements for elements of green building such as materials or heating and cooling. energy. and building materials. Some of the major building environmental assessment tools currently in use include: * Australia: Nabers / Green Star * Brazil: AQUA / LEED Brasil * Canada: LEED Canada / Green Globes / Built Green Canada * China: GBAS * Finland: PromisE * France: HQE * Germany: DGNB / CEPHEUS * Hong Kong: HKBEAM * India: Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) / GRIHA * Indonesia: Green Building Council Indonesia (GBCI) / Greenship * Italy: Protocollo Itaca / Green Building Council Italia * Japan: CASBEE * Korea: KGBC * Malaysia: GBI Malaysia * Mexico: LEED Mexico * Netherlands: BREEAM Netherlands * New Zealand: Green Star NZ * Philippines: BERDE / Philippine Green Building Council * Portugal: Lider A * Qatar: [7] * Republic of China (Taiwan): Green Building Label * Singapore: Green Mark * South Africa: Green Star SA * Spain: VERDE * Switzerland: Minergie . and CASBEE (Japan) help consumers determine a structure’s level of environmental performance. The number of credits generally determines the level of achievement. They award credits for optional building features that support green design in categories such as location and maintenance of building site.States and Canada). and occupant comfort and health. conservation of water. such as the International Code Council’s draft International Green Construction Code.

* United States: LEED / Living Building Challenge / Green Globes / Build it Green / NAHB NGBS / International Green Construction Code (IGCC) * United Kingdom: BREEAM * United Arab Emirates: Estidama * IAPGSA Pakistan Institute of Architecture Pakistan Green Sustainable Architecture * Jordan: EDAMA * Czech Republic: SBToolCZ .

cleaning and . and other resources more efficiently. offering greener resources and economically viable options.  Provision of reclaimed water systems for toilet flushing. and reused in an ecological and resource-efficient manner to meet certain objectives such as protecting occupant health.htm What Are Green Buildings? Green buildings are not a complicated or technical concept.  Installation of dual flush cisterns (a choice between "full flush" and "half flush").HK Government http://www. built. using energy.hk/en/residents/environment/sustainable/buildings. Many of the renewable energy sources are free and inexhaustible.gov. operated. thus achieving sustainability.  Installation of optimized timing self-closing taps or sensor taps in public lavatories and washing rooms. The use of natural ventilation and lighting can reduce energy consumption for airconditioning. and reducing the overall impact to the environment. Green Buildings Save Energy We can save energy through incorporating green building features and the use of energy efficiency technologies and products. They are designed. ventilation and lighting in buildings.  Reduction of water pressure of the plumbing systems to the lowest practical level. Green Buildings Save Water Green buildings save water with the following features:  Installation of flow restrictors at water taps. water. improving employee productivity. Green Buildings Reduce Waste Installing waste separation facilities such as bins or racks in green buildings together with publicity and promotional activities directed to the occupants of the building can help to recover more materials for recycling and reduce waste requiring disposal. renovated.

. Indoor Air Quality The quality of indoor air should not be overlooked. It has a significant impact on building occupants since people spend more than 70% of their time indoors. Good indoor air quality (IAQ) safeguards the health of the building occupants and contributes to their comfort and well-being. providing adequate ventilation and controlling the source of indoor air pollutants such as using low emission furnishing products.irrigation. Better IAQ can be achieved by two major approaches.

" "可持續發展樓宇在其整個生命周期內,在社區、 環境和經?等方面為其用戶和周 邊鄰里提供優質的生活,同時盡量減低其對當地、區域和全球的環境影響。" .Professional Green Building Council http://www.html Definition of Sustainable Building "A sustainable building provides a quality living amenity for its users and neighbours in terms of social. regional and global levels throughout its full life cycle.org/page1_6.hkpgbc. environmental and economic aspects while minimizing environmental impact at the local.

rather than nonrenewable resources. and disposal of these building industry source materials. an assessment of green materials may involve an evaluation of one or more of the criteria listed below.com/ Green Building Materials Green building materials offer specific benefits to the building owner and building occupants:      Reduced maintenance/replacement costs over the life of the building Energy conservation Improved occupant health and productivity Lower costs associated with changing space configurations Greater design flexibility Building and construction activities worldwide consume 3 billion tons of raw materials each year or 40% of total global use. integrating green building materials into building projects can help reduce the environmental impacts associated with the extraction. In addition. recycling. fabrication. reuse. Green building material/product selection criteria Overall material/product selection criteria: * Resource efficiency * Indoor air quality * Energy efficiency * Water conservation * Affordability Resource Efficiency can be accomplished by utilizing materials that meet the . Using green building materials and products promotes conservation of dwindling nonrenewable resources internationally. Green building materials are composed of renewable. transport.greenconcreteonline.Green Building Materials http://www. Green materials are environmentally responsible because impacts are considered over the life of the product. processing. Depending upon project-specific goals. installation.

reproductive toxicants. restoring.  Low-VOC assembly: Materials installed with minimal VOC-producing compounds. and reducing greenhouse gases. or no-VOC mechanical attachment methods and minimal hazards.  Minimal chemical emissions: Products that have minimal emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). refurbished. quality. or value of a product. or remanufactured: Includes saving a material from disposal and renovating.  Reusable or recyclable: Select materials that can be easily dismantled and reused or recycled at the end of their useful life. or generally improving the appearance. functionality. including postindustrial content with a preference for post consumer content.  Durable: Materials that are longer lasting or are comparable to conventional products with long life expectancies.  Locally available: Building materials. minimizing waste (recycled.following criteria:  Recycled Content: Products with identifiable recycled content. recyclable and or source reduced product packaging).  Moisture resistant: Products and systems that resist moisture or inhibit the .  Salvaged. components. plentiful or renewable: Materials harvested from sustainably managed sources and preferably have an independent certification and are certified by an independent third party. performance.  Natural. or irritants as demonstrated by the manufacturer through appropriate testing.  Resource efficient manufacturing process: Products manufactured with resource-efficient processes including reducing energy consumption.  Recycled or recyclable product packaging: Products enclosed in recycled content or recyclable packaging. Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is enhanced by utilizing materials that meet the following criteria:  Low or non-toxic: Materials that emit few or no carcinogens. and systems found locally or regionally saving energy and resources in transportation to the project site. repairing. Products that also maximize resource and energy efficiency while reducing chemical emissions.

Energy Efficiency can be maximized by utilizing materials and systems that meet the following criteria: Water Conservation can be obtained by utilizing materials and systems that meet the following criteria:  Products and systems that help reduce water consumption in buildings and conserve water in landscaped areas. (See Green Building Basics for more information. or low-VOC methods of cleaning.) Affordability can be considered when building product life-cycle costs are comparable to conventional materials or as a whole.growth of biological contaminants in buildings. and systems that require only simple.  Systems or equipment: Products that promote healthy IAQ by identifying indoor air pollutants or enhancing the air quality. Materials.  Healthfully maintained: Materials. components. non-toxic. and systems that help reduce energy consumption in buildings and facilities. are within a project-defined percentage of the overall budget. components. .

In addition. There are a number of different chemicals such as fluoro-polymers and plasticizers that are made use of conventional building materials. but is rather a concept that is effectual for many years on end. there is also lesser harm done to the environment.com/eco-friendly-building-materials-and-the-benefitsof-using-them. their detrimental effects only keep increasing with time. . This is not only over a limited period of time. and also beneficial to the people who work with the material.html The first reason that green building materials are better than conventional building material is the fact that these contain much lesser chemicals in comparison with conventional products and so are beneficial to the environment that is maintained within the home. Another factor that decides the eco-friendly value of a building material is the efficiency that is provided towards the energy use of the structure and also the decreased maintenance costs.Eco Friendly Building Material http://www. both through the form from which they are taken or manufactured.greenliving9. The long-term effects of these products are known to be harmful and unfortunately. A product that is capable of providing more sustainability looks to a savings in terms of either money. or energy or both.

gov/greenbuilding/materials/ Introduction The concept of sustainable building incorporates and integrates a variety of strategies during the design. Improved occupant health and productivity. Green materials are environmentally responsible because impacts are considered over the life of the product (Spiegel and Meadows. Depending upon project-specific goals. processing. 1. transport. Green building material/product selection criteria This information was based on Lynn Froeschle's article. "Environmental Assessment and Specification of Green Building Materials" (Adobe PDF. rather than nonrenewable resources. recycling.calrecycle.4 MB). The use of green building materials and products represents one important strategy in the design of a building. Building and construction activities worldwide consume 3 billion tons of raw materials each year or 40 percent of total global use (Roodman and Lenssen.Sustainable Material http://www. and disposal of these building industry source materials. Greater design flexibility. Lower costs associated with changing space configurations. construction and operation of building projects. Green building materials offer specific benefits to the building owner and building occupants: • • • • • Reduced maintenance/replacement costs over the life of the building. reuse. Using green building materials and products promotes conservation of dwindling nonrenewable resources internationally. 1999). Energy conservation. integrating green building materials into building projects can help reduce the environmental impacts associated with the extraction. fabrication. In addition.ca. in the October . an assessment of green materials may involve an evaluation of one or more of the criteria listed below. installation. What is a green building product or material? Green building materials are composed of renewable. 1995).

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is enhanced by utilizing materials that meet the following criteria: . minimizing waste (recycled. Durable: Materials that are longer lasting or are comparable to conventional products with long life expectancies. restoring. refurbished. Resource efficient manufacturing process: Products manufactured with resource-efficient processes including reducing energy consumption. functionality. Recycled or recyclable product packaging: Products enclosed in recycled content or recyclable packaging. or value of a product. Salvaged. Locally available: Building materials.. repairing. and reducing greenhouse gases. Natural. quality. components. or remanufactured: Includes saving a material from disposal and renovating. certified wood) and are certified by an independent third party. Reusable or recyclable: Select materials that can be easily dismantled and reused or recycled at the end of their useful life.g. plentiful or renewable: Materials harvested from sustainably managed sources and preferably have an independent certification (e. including postindustrial content with a preference for postconsumer content. Selection criteria similar to what is presented below was also used for the East End Project as identified in the Review of Construction Projects Using Sustainable Materials. Overall material/product selection criteria: • • • • • Resource efficiency Indoor air quality Energy efficiency Water conservation Affordability Resource Efficiency can be accomplished by utilizing materials that meet the following criteria: • • • • • • • • Recycled Content: Products with identifiable recycled content. or generally improving the appearance. performance.1999 issue of The Construction Specifier. and systems found locally or regionally saving energy and resources in transportation to the project site. recyclable and or source reduced product packaging). a publication for members of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI).

(See Green Building Basics for more information. non-toxic. and systems that help reduce energy consumption in buildings and facilities. Minimal chemical emissions: Products that have minimal emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Moisture resistant: Products and systems that resist moisture or inhibit the growth of biological contaminants in buildings.) Water Conservation can be obtained by utilizing materials and systems that meet the following criteria: • Products and systems that help reduce water consumption in buildings and conserve water in landscaped areas. components. Products that also maximize resource and energy efficiency while reducing chemical emissions. are within a project-defined percentage of the overall budget. and systems that require only simple. reproductive toxicants. (See Environmental and Economic Assessment Tools for links to resources. (See Green Building Basics for more information. Energy Efficiency can be maximized by utilizing materials and systems that meet the following criteria: • Materials. The environmental assessment process for building products involves three basic steps. 1999) . or low-VOC methods of cleaning. (Froeschle. or no-VOC mechanical attachment methods and minimal hazards. Healthfully maintained: Materials. or irritants as demonstrated by the manufacturer through appropriate testing.) Three basic steps of product selection Product selection can begin after the establishment of project-specific environmental goals.• • • • • • Low or non-toxic: Materials that emit few or no carcinogens.) Affordability can be considered when building product life-cycle costs are comparable to conventional materials or as a whole. components. Low-VOC assembly: Materials installed with minimal VOC-producing compounds. Systems or equipment: Products that promote healthy IAQ by identifying indoor air pollutants or enhancing the air quality.

LCA addresses the impacts of a product through all of its life stages. However. Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) test data. building codes. the evaluation process is more complex when comparing different products with the same function. This step involves confirmation of the technical information. This step involves gathering all technical information to be evaluated. source material characteristics. The total score of each product evaluation will indicate the product with the highest environmental attributes. It allows users to balance the environmental and economic performance of building products. government regulations. Evaluation. Research. 3. Although rather simple in principle. and other sources of product data. This step often involves the use of an evaluation matrix for scoring the project-specific environmental criteria. the evaluator may request product certifications from manufacturers to help sort out possible exaggerated environmental product claims. recycled content data. this approach has been difficult and expensive in actual practice (although that appears to be changing). environmental statements. including manufacturers' information such as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). For example. as well as filling in information gaps. For example. Individual criteria . this step may involve researching other environmental issues. The software was developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Building and Fire Research Laboratory and can be downloaded free on their Web site. a recycled content assessment between various manufacturers of medium density fiberboard is a relatively straightforward "apples to apples" comparison. building industry articles. In addition. One tool that uses the LCA methodology is BEES (Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability) software. Evaluation and assessment is relatively simple when comparing similar types of building materials using the environmental criteria. Selection. 2. model green building product specifications. product warranties. Then it may become necessary to process both descriptive and quantitative forms of data. and durability information. Research helps identify the full range of the project’s building material options. A life cycle assessment (LCA) is an evaluation of the relative "greenness" of building materials and products.• • • Research Evaluation Selection 1.

included in the rating system can be weighted to accommodate project-specific goals and objectives. .

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