The materials used for green buildings are obtained from natural and renewable sources. These sources are sourced locally to reduce transportation energy costs and are managed in a sustainable manner. Recycled content and prefabricated products reduce material use, reduce costs, and often work better than traditional alternatives. Other specifications that are considered when choosing materials include their durability, reusability and the effects on air quality.
Non-toxic materials improve indoor air quality and reduce the rate of respiratory diseases. They also have a low VOC content and are moisture resistant to prevent mold growth. Indoor air quality is also addressed by ventilation systems and materials that control humidity. Energy efficiency is the key to most green building programs.
Builders can start in the early stages of the design process to take advantage of the sun, wind and natural light to help cool and heat the building comfortably. Natural light design reduces a building's electricity needs and improves people's health and productivity. This allows for the use of smaller, more efficient HVAC systems, lighting and appliances. In green buildings, the focus is on reducing the need for water.
Water reduction can be achieved through the use of low-flow toilets and greywater systems that recycle water for irrigation. Water collection methods, such as rainwater harvesting, are also critical to installing water-saving appliances and plumbing fixtures that will help conserve fresh water and reduce utility bills. These types of appliances can include low-flow shower heads, self-closing faucets or sprinklers, low-flush toilets, and waterless composting toilets. Installing hot water systems at points of use and delaying pipes saves on water heating.
Reduce, reuse and recycle construction and demolition waste to reduce costs and improve building quality. Designed for efficient use of materials and durability, avoiding future waste. With the right setup, you can recycle some waste materials at the construction site. ZE The ILFI also offers a certification option for a zero energy (ZE) building under the umbrella of the Living Building Challenge certification.
Federal, state and municipal agencies across the country, including the General Services Administration (GSA), the Department of Energy, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Environmental Protection Agency, continue to lead in incorporating energy efficiency and sustainability by following federal mandates and green building guidelines in the design, construction, and renovation of federal facilities. Residential occupations are covered by reference to the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) ICC 700. All of its principles are mandatory, making it the most rigorous green building certification system on the market today. As ecological codes are widely adopted, their impact will change the building environment in a rapid and widespread way.
Additional rating systems have been developed that were influenced by these first programs, but that adapt to their own national priorities and requirements or seek to go beyond the limits of current building policies and practices to address broader issues of sustainability or evolving concepts, such as net zero energy, the concepts of living, regenerative and restorative construction that improve the natural environment, or those that model nature's processes. The main considerations taken into account when designing a green building are the design and development of the lot, the efficiency of natural resources, the indoor environmental quality, and the overall impact of the building on the environment. Green building qualification or certification systems extend the approach beyond the product to consider the project as a whole. The various rating systems offer options that can help the designer and the client to adapt the outcome of the project based on a wide range of objectives and approaches to address sustainability issues and other green building requirements.
The International Green Building Code (iGCC) provides a comprehensive set of requirements aimed at reducing the negative impact of buildings on the natural environment. Certification through any rating system makes it possible to verify the ecological nature of the project and can be a valuable educational and marketing tool for owners and design and construction teams through the process of creating a more sustainable building. For example, in LEED, BREEAM and other international green building classification systems, EPDs are used to encourage the purchase of low-carbon products with life cycle information. The new building recycles rainwater, uses photovoltaic panels, makes the most of natural lighting and has a one-hectare green roof containing millions of plants native to California.
Green building certification also provides incentives for customers, owners, designers and users to develop and promote highly sustainable construction practices. The following table and the expanded information just below describe several of the most used and respected green building rating and certification systems in the U. .