Green buildings are part of the broader practice of intelligent growth, also known as sustainable design and development, which advocates that the use of natural resources by this generation does not diminish the capacity of the environment to supply succeeding generations.
Green buildingis one of the tools for promoting intelligent growth. An ecological building is one in which interior and exterior environmental qualities (the environment of the house and the landscape) have been considered and protected during its design, construction, maintenance and use. In the aesthetic aspect of green architecture or sustainable design, there is the philosophy of designing a building that is in harmony with the natural features and resources that surround the site.
Also known as sustainable design, this approach integrates the life cycle of the building with each ecological practice employed for a design purpose to create a synergy between the practices used. National laboratories, private companies, universities and industry are conducting research on green buildings. This, combined with the environmental movement of the 1960s and 1970s, led to the first experiments with contemporary green construction. Numerous studies have demonstrated the measurable benefit of green building initiatives on worker productivity.
In addition, with the right synergistic design, individual green building technologies can work together to produce a greater cumulative effect. Green building rating systems, such as BREEAM (United Kingdom), LEED (United States and Canada), DGNB (Germany), CASBEE (Japan) and VerdeGBCE (Spain) and GRIHA (India), help consumers to determine the level of environmental performance of a structure. Green building technology focuses on low consumption, high efficiency, economy, environmental protection, integration and optimization. The energy efficiency of green buildings can be evaluated using numerical or non-numerical methods.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a set of classification systems for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of green buildings that was developed by the United States Green Building Council that offers another specific example of how commercial energy modernizations increase worker health and, therefore, productivity. Although the objective of reducing waste can be applied during the design, construction and demolition phases of a building's life cycle, it is in the O%26M phase that green practices such as recycling and improving air quality take place. In the United Kingdom, the BRE Green Specification Guide provides classifications for 1500 building materials based on the LCA.