A Review on Sustainable Building (Green Building)

9 Pages Posted: 17 May 2017 Last revised: 5 Jun 2017

Behnam Neyestani

De La Salle University, Civil Engineering

Date Written: 2017

Nowadays, the world faces many challenges and problems from climate change and global warming. Many scientific studies reported that different industries have huge roles to generate this condition. Specially, the construction industry has the most responsibility about these challenges on the earth. Doubtlessly, the utilization of inappropriate technologies, appliances, and materials in buildings have threatened the environment and human health today. So, there is a significant question, what is the appropriate way to solve these problems in construction industry? The engineers and technologists have realized the environmental problems are from using some technologies and materials in construction industry since over the past few decades. Scientists suggested the best way to overcome the aforementioned threats is to consider “sustainable” or “green” design for buildings. So, the main intention of sustainable building is to shift from harm to harmless technologies and materials in buildings. Thus, one of the main purposes of this study is to explore generally regarding sustainable technologies, standards, and materials, which help the buildings reduce consuming energy and resources, in order to generate the positive influences on people, nature, and society. Accordingly, “sustainable” buildings can be more friendly with environment and human, and use key resources, such as, energy, water, and materials more optimal than the conventional buildings. Furthermore, the study was to address the benefits of developing sustainability in buildings on different perspectives, based on the review and points out future directions of study.

Keywords: Sustainability, Sustainable (Green) Building, Green Technologies/Materials, LEED

Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation

Behnam Neyestani (Contact Author)

De la salle university, civil engineering ( email ).

2401 Taft Avenue Manila Philippines

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Green Building

“Green Building”

The idea originated on the United States, as they were one of the largest contributors of pollution in the world.

Due to the fact that Buildings account for a large amount of land, energy and water consumption, and also contribute hugely to air pollution, green building aims to reduce the environmental impact buildings have on the environment.

Practices and technologies used in green building are constantly improving. Many are different from region to region, however there are fundamental principles that must be followed.

Green building is an outcome of a design philosophy, which focuses on increasing the efficiency of 4 main resources:

· Materials

Along with increasing efficiency, green buildings also aim to reduce the impact buildings have on human health and the environment during the building’s lifecycle.

This is achieved by improved design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal of waste materials.

It is generally agreed that green buildings are structures that are sited, designed, built, renovated and operated to energy-efficient guidelines, and that they will have a positive environmental, economic and social impact over their life cycle. Green specifications provide a good set of guidelines for the building industry, but these are still in the process of being formalised into UK regulation and many are open to interpretation.”

(Source: www.sustainablebuild.co.uk)

Green building requires a holistic approach that looks at each component of a building and how it relates in context with the whole building. This allows us to look at the impact the building will have on the wider environment and community around it.

Green Building is a difficult approach, which needs builders, architects and engineers to think creatively, and increase the level of integration throughout the project.

There are several resources and published guides that can help builders with the green building process, such as BREEAM (Building and Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), the Code for Sustainable Homes, and EcoHomes.

In Conclusion:

“Green Building is not simply about protecting the biosphere and natural resources from over-exploitation or over-consumption, nor is it simply about saving energy to reduce our heating bills. It considers the impact of buildings and materials on occupants and the impact of our lives on the future environment.”

(Source – Tom Woolley, Sam Kimmins, Paul Harrison and Rob Harrison 1997. Green Building Handbook. Oxford: Spon Press . 5.)

Green Building Essentials

There are four main criteria that need to be considered in green building.

1. Materials.

The materials used in Green Building projects need to be:

* From a natural, renewable source that has been managed and harvested in a sustainable way.

* Obtained locally in order to reduce the embedded energy costs of transportation.

* Sourced from reclaimed materials at nearby sites.

Materials are graded using green specifications which look at their life cycle and analyse them in terms of their embodied energy, durability, recycled content, waste minimisation, and their ability to be reused or recycled.

Some examples of building materials that are considered ‘green’ include:

* Renewable plant materials such as straw.

* Timber from sustainably managed forests.

* Recycled stone

* Recycled metal.

* Products that are non-toxic, reusable, renewable, and/or recyclable eg. linoleum, sheep wool, compressed earth blocks, rammed earth, clay, flax linen, cork, sand stone, and concrete.

Building materials should be sourced and manufactured locally to the building site where possible in order to minimise the energy used through transportation.

It is also desireable for building elements to be manufactured off-site, then delivered when needed. The benefits of this include minimising waste and maximising recycling as manufacturing is in a set location.

Energy consumption is a major issue, which green building principles aim to address.

Nearly all UK houses are extremely inefficient when it comes to heating and lighting consumption.

One method of reducing heating and ventilation costs for a building is to incorporate Passive Solar Design. This is when the suns energy is used for heating and cooling various living spaces. These passive systems are extremely simple in design, having very few moving parts and usually require no mechanical systems therefore they have a minimal maintenance issue.

Common features of passive solar heating include windows that can be opened and closed. Passive solar design incorporates the use of thermal mass also. This is when materials such as masonry, concrete and water actually store heat for a period of time this can prevent rapid fluctuations in temperature.

High levels of insulation and energy-efficient windows can help to conserve a lot of energy from escaping through the buildings envelope.

In regards to lighting a building, natural daylight design reduces the need for electricity in a building while improving the occupants health and productivity.

Green buildings also incorporate energy-efficient lighting, low energy appliances, and renewable energy technologies such as wind turbines and solar panels.

Reducing water consumption in a ‘Green’ House is an important aspect in many of the green building rating systems. It is therefore essential that water can be recycled around the house. This can be achieved by installing greywater and rainwater harvesting systems which will re-use water for tasks like watering plants or toilet flushing. Incorporating water-efficient appliances in kitchens and bathrooms, such as low flow showerheads, self-closing or spray taps, low-flush toilets, or waterless composting toilets, will all aid in reducing the amount of water required for the day to day running of the house.

This aspect of Green Building refers to the health of the buildings occupants.

Using non-toxic materials in construction will help to improve indoor air quality, which can reduce the rate of respiratory illnesses such as asthma. The materials and products used in a green design need to be emission-free and have very little or no VOC (Volatile organic compound) content. They also need to be moisture resistant in order to prevent moulds, spores from growing inside the house.

Indoor air quality can be improved through ventilation systems and using materials in the construction of the house that control humidity and allow a building to breathe.

A major factor which isnt included in the main four topics I have discussed above is what happens after the construction of the building has been completed.

It wont matter how sustainable the design and construction stage of the project was if the building is not maintained responsibly. This needs to be considered at the planning stage of construction and the occupant must be briefed on the green building concept. They should also be informed that in order to keep the ‘green’ status the building will have, careful and considerate maintenance methods will need to be employed, with the possibility of the need to upgrade aspects of the building to keep up to date with changing regulations and standards.

It is also important that the occupier continues green practices such as recycling throughout the life-cycle of the building.

A green building should provide cost savings to both the builder and occupant. It should also benefit the community through the use of local labour.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Green Building

I am going to first outline some of the disadvantages of green building, as most people tend to focus only on the positive aspects. Considerations such as cost, funding, material availability and location restrictions must be taken into account when planning a green build project.

One of the most common disadvantages of Green Building is the additional cost incurred. This is due to the increase in the quality of construction methods and materials used. Although energy savings can balance the extra costs out, it is still seen as a disadvantage the fact that extra money needs to be spent at the construction stage.

Eco-friendly building materials are often difficult to find in many areas of the UK, which can lead to prices being much higher than standard building materials. While projects close to larger cities may have no difficulty finding green building materials, suppliers may be scarce in other areas.

Many materials require special ordering, which could increase costs. Some other materials may only be available through Internet orders, which will increase the cost due to shipping and handling. The green building market is becoming much more competitive due to the increase in demand for this type of construction, and Green Building costs are predicted to decrease in the near future.

Apart from the initial cost of green building, finding a mortgage company or bank that offers loans for a building that is not built in the traditional way may be difficult.

The time taken to complete a green building can also be viewed as a disadvantage. Green building projects encourage the use of recycled materials and trying to source these can add to the time to complete a certain stage of the build that the contractor and client haven’t allowed for in the project.

One overlooked disadvantage is the fact that in recent years houses have become more airtight, which has added to the problem of indoor air quality. Houses have become so sealed that there is now an increase in indoor pollution.

An example of how this can occur is if a builder decides to use some recycled material but is unaware of any chemicals that may be contained in it. The chemicals may give off volatile organic compounds, which have in fact been found toxic to humans.

Most green building guides have a section on Indoor Air Quality, ventilation, filtration systems, and suggestions for low or no VOC products in the building process to address this issue.

The benefits of green building are what most people want to know nowadays, and below are some of these advantages. They have been categorised into three main areas, Environmental, Economic and Social Benefits.

Environmental Benefits:

Reduction of emissions:.

Using green building techniques such as solar power and daylighting increase the energy efficiency of the building, and also cut down harmful emissions released by fossil fuels. This can help reduce air quality issues such as smog and acid rain.

Conservation of Water:

Significant water savings can be created by introducing methods such as rainwater and greywater harvesting. These methods use and recycle various water sources, which can then be used for irrigation in gardening and for flushing toilets. Stormwater management can also be helpful to the environment by reducing localised flooding, which can carry pollution into water sources, and erosion. Rainwater harvesting and using building materials that are permeable for driveways can help reduce this risk.

Waste Reduction:

Green building promotes increased efficiency both during and after the construction phase. Recycling and reusing waste materials will lead to a decrease in the amount of waste that needs to be dumped in landfills.

Economic Benefits:

As I mentioned above, some people believe green building to be too expensive. Previous studies have shown that costs are not substantially higher than traditional developments.

As long as the designer and client have decided to go down the route of green building, the high construction costs can usually be avoided.

Although the costs may be higher at the beginning of a projects life cycle, they can be recouped throughout the life of the building.

Due to the increased efficiency from green design and new technology, operation costs from heating, electricity and water can all be reduced dramatically, resulting in a low payback time on the money invested at the beginning of the project.

Green buildings can also be sold or rented quicker, and at a premium rate because of the low maintenance and utility bills. This will prove to be a unique selling point if the cost of fuel continues to rise.

Social Benefits:

Another very impressive advantage of a green building is its ability to improve the occupier’s health. Conditions such as respiratory problems, skin rashes, nausea and allergies, which can result from insufficient air circulation, poor lighting, mould, toxic adhesives and paints, can be significantly reduced in a green built house. This is because green building emphasises the need for proper ventilation and the reduction in use of toxic material, which will create a healthier living environment.

Another key element of green building is the need to preserve the natural environment. This can provide a variety of recreation and exercise opportunities. Green buildings also seek to facilitate alternatives to driving, such as bicycling by awarding points for providing bike docks (In the Code for Sustainable Homes), which eases local traffic while increasing personal health and fitness.

Summary of Advantages and Disadvantages of Green Building

Below are the disadvantages and advantages summarised in point form.


* Initial cost.

* Funding for projects from banks hard to get.

* Location Factor.

* Availability of Materials.

* Timescale.

* Implications on air quality due to the use of some recycled materials.


* Environmental Benefits.

* Reduction of Emissions.

* Conservation of Water.

* Reduced localised flooding.

* Waste reduction.

* Economic benefits.

* Low utility bills.

* Increase in likelihood for the property to be sold or let.

* Social Benefits.

* Improvement to the occupant’s health.

* Preservation of the natural environment.

* Increased recreation and exercise opportunities.

As you can see there are significantly more Advantages than Disadvantages of Green Building.

Green Building Rating Systems

In this section of my report I am going to give a brief introduction to the main Green Building rating systems used in the UK.

These systems review a building or construction project, and score it on different sections. Points are usually awarded for issues addressed and an accreditation is awarded depending on the amount of points scored when the project is completed.

Although I have focused on Green building in houses, I will look at some systems that are used for commercial building and civil engineering works.

Below are some of the systems I will be discussing:

BREEAM is an abbreviation for the ‘BRE Environmental Assessment Method’.

BREEAM is the leading and most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings. It sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design and has become the primary measure used to describe a building’s environmental performance.”

(Cited from the BREEAM website – www.breeam.org)

BREEAM was established by the BRE in the UK in 1990 as and aid to help measure the sustainability of new buildings.

BREEAM has grown since then with reular updates according to changes in building regulations and government legislation.

The BREEAM guidelines cover many different types of building, including Industrial, Residential, Education, Healthcare and Retail.

The BREEAM guidelines were last updated in 2008. In this upgrade, a new two stage assesment process was introduced. This means that the building will be assesed at the design stage and also after the completion of construction.

Mandatory scoring credits were introduced and a new rating level of BREEAM Outstanding was created.

The BREEAM standard is not only being used in the UK, it is fast turning into a global accreditation.

The BRE have set up a new division called BREEAM International. This division has already created versions of BREEAM for Europe and the Gulf, adapting them in accordance to local regulations.

The information below is also from the BREEAM website. This information outlines the reasons why BREEAM should be used:

BREEAM provides clients, developers, designers and others with:

* Market recognition for low environmental impact buildings.

* Assurance that best environmental practice is incorporated into a building.

* Inspiration to find innovative solutions that minimise the environmental impact.

* A benchmark that is higher than regulation.

* A tool to help reduce running costs, improve working and living environments.

* A standard that demonstrates progress towards corporate and organisational environmental objectives.”

(Cited from – www.breeam.org)

BREEAM addresses wide-ranging environmental and sustainability issues and enables developers and designers to prove the environmental credentials of their buildings to planners and clients.

* BREEAM uses a straightforward scoring system that is transparent, easy to understand and supported by evidence-based research

* BREEAM has a positive influence on the design, construction and management of buildings

* BREEAM sets and maintains a robust technical standard with rigorous quality assurance and certification”

(Information sourced from the BREEAM website – www.breeam.org)

CEEQUAL stands for, The Civil Engineering Environmental Awards Scheme.

It is a scheme for improving the sustainability of civil engineering and public sector projects, in the UK.

The aim of CEEQUAL is to encourage civil engineering companies to achieve improved environmental and social performance in the specification, design and construction areas of their projects. Launched in September 2003, CEEQUAL was mainly developed by the ICE (Institute of Civil Engineers) and various government departments and agencies also gave their support to the idea and helped to finance the initiative.

Since 2003, CEEQUAL has grown to be the main scheme for assesing the sustainability of civil engineering works. In 2008 CEEQUAL was included in the Government report “Strategy for Sustainable Construction” as a scheme to be used that can comply with the governments design agenda for civil engineering works.

Just like the BREEAM assessment, CEEQUAL uses a credits or points to score various aspects of a civil engineering project, including environmental aspects such as, water, energy and land usage, as well as other categories such as nuisance to neighbours, waste minimisation and management, archaeology, community amenity and ecology.

A project that has achieved an award from CEEQUAL will show the public that the designers, contractors and clients, have completed a project that is above the minimum environmental standards, which will portray that they care about sustainability in the construction industry.

Benefits of CEEQUAL:

* Provides a benchmark standard for environmental performance;

* Demonstrates the commitment of the civil engineering industry to environmental quality; and celebrates the achievement of high environmental standards in civil engineering projects

A CEEQUAL Award for a civil engineering project identifies an organisation that:

* Measures and compares standards of performance;

* Respects people and the society in which it operates;

* Undertakes its work in an ethical and sustainable manner;

* Acts in a socially and environmentally responsible way;

* Protects and enhances the environment; and

* Is concerned about the major impacts of construction on the environment and the earth’s resources.

Source – https://www.cpdni.gov.uk/index/guidance-for-suppliers/ceequal.htm

There are several different CEEQUAL Award levels that a project can achieve, depending on the percentage number of points scored against the scoped-out question set. These are:

* more than 25% – Pass

* more than 40% – Good

* more than 60% – Very Good

* more than 75% – Excellent

Five types of award can be applied:

* Whole Project Award, which is normally applied for jointly by or on behalf of the client, designer and principal contractor(s)

* Client & Design Award

* Design Only Award, applied for by the principal designer(s) only

* Construction Only Award, applied for by the principal contractor(s) only

* Design & Build Award, applied for the designer(s) and constructor(s) of a project.

Irish CEEQUAL Certified Projects

Below are some examples of the Civil Engineering projects that have achieved CEEQUAL Awards in Ireland in the last few years:

2008 – 2009 Awards:

* Custom House Square, Belfast

Award: Excellent

§ Derry City Centre Public Realm

§ Armagh Environmental Improvement Scheme

Award: Very Good

§ Downshire to Whitehead Sea Defences Boneybefore to Edenhalt (section 3)

Award: Good

§ Balloo Waste Transfer Station and Recycling Centre, Bangor

§ Moneymore Flood Protection Scheme

§ N229 Newtownards Road Environmental Improvements

§ Belfast City Centre Streets Ahead

§ Knockmore – Lurgan Track Upgrade

2006 – 2007 Awards

§ N7 Naas Road Widening & Interchange Scheme

§ Carran Hill water treatment works

2003-2005 Awards:

* abbey & Kircubbin Wastewater Treatment Works

* Newtownstewart Bypass

(Source – https://www.ceequal.com/all_awards.htm)

LEED stands for ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’.

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) developed LEED in 1998. The scheme was created to offer an American equivalent to BREEAM, a green building scheme that was created in 1990 in the UK.

Aswell as being a US equivelant to BREEAM, LEED was invented to help define what green building was, by recognising environment leadership in the construction industry. By doing this LEED also hoped to raise awareness of the benefits of green building and try to create some competition in the green building market.

The LEED evaluation method is voluntary and covers all types of buildings such as, homes, offices and retail space.

The main division of the LEED initiative is ‘LEED for New Construction’.

This LEED assessment is also used on some international building projects.

LEED has eight key categories where LEED points can be achieved.

1. Location and Planning

2. Sustainable Sites

3. Water Efficiency

4. Energy & Atmosphere

5. Materials & Resources

6. Indoor Environmental Quality

7. Innovation in Design

8. Regional Priority

In each of these six categories, multiple points can be achieved when specific needs have been met. The more points achieved, the higher the LEED rating will be. LEED has also introduced certain criteria, which is mandatory in each level of LEED.

The LEED assessment is a two-part process, involving a design phase review and also a construction phase review. After these reviews, a LEED certificate can be presented if the project is up to standard.

This table compares the old LEED v2.2 points system with the new LEED v3 system.

(Table has been sourced from the Reed Construction Data website – https://www.reedconstructiondata.com/articles/read/leed-rating-system/)

Below is a table showing the nine different rating systems and also the five overarching categories to correspond with the specialities available through LEED.

A comparison between BREEAM and LEED

More and more organisations are realising that having green credentials is a must in todays society.

This is because the public are more sustainably aware thanks to the increased coverage for the subject of sustainability in the news and papers.

Having a Green Building as part of your companies assets will show that you want to reduce the impact you have on the environment, as well as cutting utility bills and increasing the occupants health.

With this increase in green buildings, there is now competition between the method of assement.

For years, BREEAM has been the main environmental assessment method for UK buildings. Now with the expansion of LEED out of America there is increased competition.

The principles of BREEAM have also spread worldwide, and while similar assesment methods have been created for other countries, BREEAM and LEED are the main methods used today.

The way in which projects are assesed is the main difference between BREEAM and LEED.

BREEAM uses assessors that have been trained by the BRE, who check for evidence in the building and score it against the specified criteria. The BRE then check the assesors report and award a BREEAM certificate.

LEED on the other hand does not require a trained assesor, however points are awarded if a LEED Accredited Professional is used. Evidence from the project is gathered and submitted to the USGBC who will review it and award the appropriate certificate.

Both BREEAM and LEED help to keep the market to improve building design. Both also regularly update their scoring criteria to keep up with changing regulations.

BREEAM is more relevant in the UK as it uses UK policies, however LEED can be used as a global accreditation.

BREEAM will more than likely be the favoured system in the UK, as it has backing from the government as they require BREEAM ratings for all of their buildings.

Below is a table that compares the similarities of BREEAM and LEED:

(Table sourced from – https://www.bsria.co.uk/news/breeam-or-leed/)

Code for Sustainable Homes

The ‘Code for Sustainable Homes’ is an environmental impact rating system for houses in the UK. The Code was launched in December 2006, and addresses new standards, above current building regulations, for energy usage and sustainability issues.

The aim of this new code is to try and decrease the impact that housing has on the environment.

The code was created to try and help relieve the problems we have brought upon ourselves through climate change . Buildings contribute nearly half of the UK’s carbon emissions. In order to reduce these emissions by 80% by 2050, housing needs to become more sustainable.

Following this code can help minimise the environmental damage that has occurred during the construction process in the past.

It also gives homebuilders the chance to create a revolutionary design for new homes to be put on the housing market, promoting a more sustainable lifestyle.

Adopting the code for sustainable homes is a major step in reaching the Government target of all new homes being zero carbon from 2016.

A house that is built in accordance to the code for sustainable homes will be more energy efficient, use less water and create less carbon emissions. This in turn is better for the environment.

Houses that follow the code are built in a more efficient way as they use materials that are from sustainable sources. Because they are built in a more efficient manner, less waste is created, and the use of recycled materials is promoted. Due to the increase in quality and efficiency, running costs will be lower than that of a traditional build.

This way of sustainable building also encourages the occupier of the house to try to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

The Code for Sustainable homes has 9 separate categories with set scoring points covering:

1. Energy/CO2.

3. Materials used in the home.

4. Surface water run-off.

6. Pollution.

7. Health and Well-being.

8. Management

When the client incorporates a specific feature they are awarded points. At the end of the build these points are added together, and the total score forms the basis of a 1-6 star rating system.

The code for sustainable homes uses a ‘star’ rating system, which ranges from 1 to 6. Level 1 equates to a 10% improvement over current Building Regulations energy standards, Level 3 is a 25% improvement on building regulations, and level 6 is a Zero Carbon house.

A home rated as 6 stars will have achieved the highest sustainability rating.

Diagram showing the points scoring to achieve each code level:

(Source – The Code for Sustainable Homes)

In February 2008, the Government decided that all new homes must have a rating against the Code for Sustainable Homes by May 2008. Also whenever houses are sold it has been made madatory that they have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). If a house has not been assessed for an EPC then it will receive a rating of zero.

This was brought in as an incentive for builders and developers to aim to score higher ratings in the Code for Sustainable Homes as home buyers could now easily see a house’s performance from the EPC.

Below is an copy of the EPC carried out for my house:

Diagram explaining 1*, 3* and 6* energy requirements:

Diagram sourced from – “Greener Homes for the Future”.

In 2006 the Government made public, plans for a 10-year timetable, and set a target in which all, new homes built from 2016 onwards, must be built to code level 6, which is zero carbon standards.

The government plans to achieve this by introducing a step-by-step upgrade of the Building Regulations.

Diagram showing the phasing dates of the code:

Below is a Summary of the Code for Sustainable Homes benefits:

Environmental Benefits

Reduced greenhouse gas emissions:

This reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is achieved due to the minimum standards that need to be achieved at each level within the code for sustainable homes. This is a major step towards relieving climate change.

Better adaptation to climate change:

The code compliments the existing building regulations (Approved Document L – 2006) by incorporating minimum standards for the handling of surface water run-off, and also water efficiency within the house. These standards are going to help ensure that future housing developments can cope with the effects of climate change.

Reduced environmental impact:

Not only does the code include provisions to fight climate change, it also aims to reduce the environmental impact the construction of housing has on the environment.

This is achieved by the promoting the use of recycled materials, and materials that are from sustainable sources.

This will also help the future houses have a reduced environmental impact.


The Code not only has benefits for the Environment, Builders that follow the code can experience the benefits in the following ways:

A mark of quality:

Advertising a new built home as a ‘Code house’ can benefit the builder. This will portray the house as having a reduced impact on the environment, and thanks to the increased attention the subject of sustainability has been getting in the media, this is what the public want. This then should enable the house to be sold quicker, as a code home will have a unique selling point over a traditional built home.

Regulatory certainty:

The code gives an insight to what future building regulations will be like.

Therefore by trying to achieve as high a rating as possible, a builder can ‘future proof’ a house.


Thanks to the various levels included in the code, a degree of flexibility is lef in the hands of the builder. They can decide to stick to the minimum standards, or show innovation by incorporating solutions that will go beyond the minimum requirements.


Reduction of running costs:

Due to the increase in the standard of construction methods and materials used, houses built to the code standards will experience lower running costs over the year because of the higher level of energy efficiency than traditional houses.

This positive effect will also help reduce the growing problem of Fuel Poverty.

Improved comfort and satisfaction:

Occupants of a house that meets the code standards, should experience increased comfort because of the better thermal properties, and also the increase in air quality.

Raised sustainability credentials:

The Code can help the image of social housing providers, by showing the public that they are committed to sustainability.


Assisting choice:

The code can also aid house buyers to see how sustainable an new house will be for them. This will help them decide which house will best suit their needs. Because of this fact, we should expect to see houses being upgraded to compete with similar ‘green houses’ on the market.

Reducing environmental ‘footprint’:

Homebuyers that purchase a house that meets code standards will be able to feel that they are doing their part to improve sustainability in the UK.

The more people that buy code homes, will help encourage builders to build more sustainable homes in the future.

Lower running costs:

Homebuyers that choose a code home will save money throughout the lifecycle of the house. This is due to the lower heating and energy bills they will experience. This can help fight against fuel poverty in the UK.

Improved well-being:

Occupants of a Code Home will experience an increase in their well being. This is because a code home is built with sustainable materials that should improve the air quality inside the home. Also improved natural lighting and heating systems will make the home more comfortable for the occupant.

Table showing the predicted number of houses completed each year to achieve the various Code Levels:

(Source – Code for Sustainable Homes – Impact Assessment)

I have included information from the Code for Sustainable Homes, which illustrates examples of a code one, code 3 and code 6 house requirements:

Code Level three:

Code Level 6:

What is the Cost of the Code for Sustainable homes?

One concern that everyone involved in with the housing market may have is, what additional cost it will take to follow and construct new houses to the Code for Sustainable Homes standards. This cost will have to be factored in and discussed at the design stage to see if it is affordable for the client, therefore it is necessary that all parties involved understand the code fully.

A report carried out by Cyril Sweett, a cost consultants, for the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships, examined what the extra cost of meeting Code Level 3 would be.

This report examined some of the more traditional dwellings that are on in the UK housing market. These included:

* Semi-detatched house

* Detatched house

* High Rise flat

* Low Rise flat

The report also looked at two modern designed houses which were built for a design and manufacture competition. These houses were built at a cost of £60,000 and were designed to meet Level 3 targets.

Based on the report, achieving the required energy use targets for Level 3 seemed to be the main concern.

These require a house to be 25% more efficient than the current building regulations. This report looked at 4 different ways to achieve the reduction in energy required to meet level 3.

By using some renewable energy and low carbon technology the cost of what it would take to meet level 3 was calculated for the 4 different types of dwelling.

The report showed that for the traditionally built houses, if wind turbines or mechanical ventilation systems were used, the cost ranged from between £1,600 to £4,400.

The cost to upgrade a high rise appartment was significantly greater. The methods used to reach the level 3 targets were the inclusion of Combined Heat and Power systems costing approx £1,700, and installing a solar water heating which cost up to £6,000.

When the modern houses were examined, it was found that they already were able to reach Level 3 at no extra cost. This was because they had already incorporated renewable technologies and the materials used in the construction were extremly thermally efficient. The report also discovered that to meet the level 3 water consumption rate of 105 liters per person per day, little or no money had to be spent to reach this target.

What this report concluded was that it only would take a 3% increase in development costs to reach the required targets fot level 3.

This goes to show that by following the code we can reduce the damge to the environment we have caused through the housing sector.

(Source for information in this review – www.sustain.co.uk/resource/insight-articles/the-cost-of-the-code.aspx)

Is the Code for Sustainable Homes Working?

In this chapter I will try to examine if the Governments efforts to reduce our impact on the plant is having an effect on the public.

In order to do this I am going to look at reports that were carried out by The Sponge Sustainability Network.

A previous report carried out in 2005 called: “The gaps in the existing case for building sustainable homes to encourage sustainable lifestyles” Discovered that:

* “It has yet to be proven that there is market demand for more sustainable homes; and

* Homebuyers do not fully understand the choices available to them in relation to sustainability features.”

It concluded that:

* “Home buyers will only demand sustainable homes when they are aware of the social and environmental benefits.

* Homeowners need to be able to differentiate between homes in terms of their sustainability features.

* Action is required to make home buyers more aware of these features.”

Sponge then carried out another updated report to analyse if people opinions on sustainability have changed. This research found that:

* “Homeowners are becoming increasingly interested in sustainable housing.

* Four out of five believe that sustainable homes can help combat climate change.

* There is a general willingness to adopt sustainable lifestyles, however this has to be both time and cost effective.

* Home owners expect developers to build to high environmental standards, over half (52%) are prepared to pay more, but nine out of ten people also think that the Government should provide incentives to encourage demand.

* Lack of information is seen as a key barrier in driving demand for sustainable homes. 70% of homeowners claim to know little or nothing at all about sustainable homes.

* 73% also felt the Government should be responsible for communicating the benefits of sustainable homes to the public. If Government schemes such as the Home Information Pack (and associated Energy Performance Certificate) and the new Code for Sustainable Homes succeed, these findings suggest that information is a significant barrier that needs to be addressed, in order to drive demand for sustainable homes.

* In addition to these key findings, the research highlighted a number of specific issues, which should be taken into account by the two key stakeholders responsible for the delivery of sustainable homes.”

(Information sourced from the Eco Chic or Eco Geek? -The Desirability of Sustainable Homes report by sponge)

The report from Sponge also highlighted key research findings and categorised them information that would be helpful to the Government and to House Builders.

Below are some of the findings that would be helpful for the Government:

* “Four out of five homeowners believe that more environmentally friendly homes would help combat climate change;

* Three in five homeowners claim to have installed energy and/or water saving features since moving into their homes.

* Those homeowners who have lived in their home for more than ten years are most likely to have taken action.

* Those who claim they have installed energy saving features are also more likely to be concerned about how much energy and gas they use.

* 92% of respondents want to see sustainability features offered as options on new homes. 64% of respondents think these should be compulsory.

* Over nine in ten respondents feel that there should be more financial incentives to encourage people to buy sustainable homes. The most popular of which, are for the Government to give subsidies to make current homes more sustainable and for reduced council tax bills for sustainable homes.

* Lack of information is seen as a key barrier in driving demand for sustainable homes. 70% of homeowners claim to know little or nothing at all about sustainable homes. Three quarters of homeowners (73%) feel the Government should be responsible for communicating the benefits of sustainable homes to the public.”

Below are some of the findings that would be helpful for the House builders:

* “Homeowners are concerned over how much electricity/gas and water they use (75% for energy; 61% for water);

* Water and energy efficiency are becoming more important features for homebuyers. While 45% of respondents state that energy efficient or water saving features were fairly or very important when choosing their current home, 73% say it would be fairly or very important in choosing their next home;

* Home owners hold positive associations with sustainable homes, seeing them as modern, attractive, hi-tech, fashionable, and good value (in comparison with old-fashioned, ugly, lo-tech and poor value).

* Homeowners are prepared to pay extra to live in a sustainable housing development. Two thirds of homeowners would be prepared to pay a monthly charge for sustainability services, such as convenient recycling facilities, green-caretaker, and car sharing.”

Sponge examined the findings they had gathered and in the same report, outlined recommendations for both the Government and House builders.

Below are Sponges recommendations for the Government:

* “Work needs to continue to be undertaken prior to the introduction of the Energy Performance Certificates within Home Information Packs and the Code for Sustainable Homes to ensure that customers are aware of these initiatives and that they understand their benefits. Consumers need further information about sustainable homes in general, as well more detail about specific features (for example, renewable energy).

* Greater consideration should be given to fiscal incentives to accompany the introduction of such schemes. This study has shown that subsides to make current homes more sustainable and reductions in council tax are the most popular measures that could be taken.

* The desire to make some sustainability features compulsory should be considered in the review of planning policy and building regulations to respond to this market demand and support the Government’s Sustainable Development agenda.”

Below are Sponges recommendations for the House builders:

* “More consideration should be given to the inclusion of ‘green services’ within developments (such as recycling services, green caretakers). There is the scope to develop innovative sustainability services, which could act as a unique selling point for the development (or indeed the developer). This research shows that such services may be a better way of recouping investments in sustainability by developers than expecting just an increased selling price. Some of these options could be offered at little or no cost to the house builder.

* More could be done to sell sustainable homes to customers. Sales staff could be made aware of the key sustainability features of developments, and be able to highlight the benefits of these to customers. Sales staff could also be aware of energy performance certificates and the Code for Sustainable Homes, and understand how sustainable homes perform relative to both new homes and existing homes.”

The report “Eco Chic or Eco Geek” just goes to show how peoples awareness to Sustainability issues have improved.

Northern Ireland Energy Consumption facts

In Northern Ireland:

• Around 75% of greenhouse gas emissions are accounted for by the 16 million tonnes of CO2 produced annually through the burning of coal, oil and gas.

• Housing alone consumes 44% of all energy use, and most of this (84%) is used for space and water heating.

• In 2006 transport accounted for around 29.4 per cent of the total CO2 emissions and 52 per cent of carbon monoxide.

• Agricultural activity contributes around 22% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in 2006, mainly in the form of methane and nitrous oxide.

• Energy costs in Northern Ireland are higher than in the rest of the UK and are an issue of real significance for industry, commerce and the domestic sector.

• Over 225,580 households suffer from the effects of fuel poverty.

• Electricity demand is rising by around 2% per annum.

(Source – https://www.ecoworld.org.uk/eco_topics/energy/current-usage.asp)

Main fuel sources for Domestic Heating 2006

The UK Government has aimed to obtain 20 per cent of electricity supplies from renewable sources in 2020.

In Northern Ireland the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment has also decided to follow this aim. They hope to be able to encourage homeowners to install renewable technology in their own homes. A programme was set up and ran from 2006 – 2008, which awarded grants to homeowners that decided to install this renewable technology.

Grants can still be obtained in Northern Ireland for the installation of renewable energy sources through the Low Carbon Buildings initiative.

This diagram shows the amount of applications, and money invested by the low carbon buildings programme for householders:

(Source – https://www.lowcarbonbuildings.org.uk/Information-for-Installers/Statistics-tool)

This diagram shows the amount of applications and money invested by the low carbon buildings programme for communities up to the end of March 2010:

(Source – https://www.lowcarbonbuildings.org.uk/Case-Studies-and-Statistics/Stream-1-communities)

This diagram shows the Total Electricity and Heat Consumed in Northern Ireland by Source:

Diagram sourced from the (https://www.niassembly.gov.uk/)

Future Plans

Although the concept of Green Building, or Sustainable building is still quite a new concept, building green is growing rapidly in the UK.

Changes in regulations now have included green specifications that must be met in all new building projects. These changes are in relation to the sustainable development strategy, and will in turn mean that green buildings will become more widespread throughout the country.

A green building is so more than a model for sustainable living, it can also build hope for the future.

I will now briefly describe some developments in Northern Ireland that are to be completed in the near future.

There is to be a new housing scheme in East Belfast which will consist of 17 townhouses and will be the first social housing scheme in Northern Ireland to meet the level 4 requirements of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

The houses in this development will have a reduced impact on the environment and for the occupants will provide significantly reduced energy bills.

The sustainable development comission said that they hoped there would be more developments such as this one in Northern Ireland, and that this proves that we can aim to be zero carbon in the future.

There has also been the launch of a design competition by the Social Development Minister, Margaret Ritchie MLA.

This competition which will challenge entrants to build 70 of Northern Ireland’s most energy efficient homes.

The competition has been created by the Department for Social Development, the Housing Executive, Oaklee Housing Group and the Royal Society of Ulster Architects. Once a winning design has been chosen, construction work is planned to commence in spring 2011.

Below are some facts and statistics which have emerged from a report carried out by the CIOB called “The Green Perspective”:

Top line statistics:

* 98% of respondents believed that the construction industry had a role to play in the solution to climate change, with 54% considering that the industry’s participation was vital in reducing C02 levels.

* 91.4% believe that this role is either important or vital to climate change.

* 66.6% of respondents said that U.K. building regulations do not go far enough to create energy efficient buildings.

* 73% had seen an increase in demand for energy efficient buildings over the last 5 years.

* 86% believed there is financial benefit to producing energy efficient buildings.

* 46.4% felt that renewable energy would see the majority of U.K. investment in the future.

* 94.6% felt that green building was the future for construction.

* 37% regarded the use of building after construction as the highest contributor to CO2.

* 44.9% believed that a lack of financial incentives and client demand were holding back the industry from producing zero carbon buildings in mass.”

(Source: The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).)

This report has revealed that 94% of professionals in the construction industry believe that Green Building is the way forward for the future of the construction industry.

The results from this reported that 67% of the people who responded to it believed that building regulations were not satisfactory to create energy efficient buildings. Building regulations were viewed as the main way for the CO2 levels in the UK to be reduced, as the Government could enforce them.

A new strategy called ‘Warm Homes, Greener Homes’ has been launched, and has aimed to cut emissions from UK homes by nearly 30% by 2020.

This new strategy will help reduce energy bills, while also making smarter use of energy within homes.

The new strategy has also said it will introduce new jobs as up to 65,00 will be required in the green homes industry.

The strategy will be implemented in a three stage plan:

– To insulate 6 million homes by the end of 2011

– To have insulated all practical lofts and cavity walls by 2015

– To have offered up to 7 million eco upgrades by 2020; all homes to have smart meters.

(Sourced from – https://www.builderandengineer.co.uk/news/environment/government-unveils-green-housing-strategy-5118.html)

In this section I will highlight the various conclusions that I have come to with regards to my aims and objectives.

I will use the evidence gathered throughout my report to verify these conclusions and also try to recommend the next steps that need to be taken in order to make Northern Ireland a more sustainable country.

Looking back to what my initial aims and objectives were, I will now discuss how I have addressed these:

* To investigate if “Green Building” is practical, acceptable and effective in today’s environment.


To find out:

* What people’s views are on “Green Building” within the Construction Industry?

* Is Green Building Financially Practical in today’s economic climate?

* What is the Governments future plans/policies on “Sustainability” and “Green Building”?

* What incentives/motivation is there for people to consider “Green Building” over standard methods of construction?

* The various aspects involved with a Green Build.

* What rating/scoring systems are in place to guide Green Building.

* The Advantages and Disadvantages of Green Building.

To achieve the aim that I wanted to research, I set about addressing the objectives that I set.

I feel that throughout my Industrial Report I have researched all my objectives to a suitable standard, with the exception of my first objective, which was to find out what people in the construction industry’s views were on Green Building.

I may have included a report carried out by the CIOB, which partially addressed this, however I wanted to get feedback from companies in Northern Ireland. I tried to obtain this information through the use of questionnaires and also attempted to carry out interviews with professionals, but I was unable to carry this out, and I never received my questionnaires back again.

Overall I feel that through the research I carried out in addressing my objectives, has collectively gave me enough information to achieve the aim I set out from the start of this report.

I firmly believe that Green Building is practical, acceptable and effective in today’s environment.

My reasoning for this decision is that from the research included in my report I was able to see that green building can be extremely effective in reducing the harm that we cause to the environment. Green Building can also be effective at saving its occupants money from reduced energy bills, and also offering a degree of increased health from better air quality.

Green Building is now widely accepted as a legitimate construction technique. This is reflected in the ‘sponge’ report and also the CIOB report, which shows that people support Green Building techniques now.

The practicality of Green Building has been shown through looking at the cost it takes to get a house up to code level three standards.

I believe that I have achieved the aim I set out and have answered it to the best of my ability.

Management of Industrial Report

In this chapter I will discuss my own opinion of how I managed to complete this industrial report.

When I first set out to complete this report I had a clear outline of what I wanted to research and how I was going to do this.

I created a schedule of work to aid me with time management, which I have included below:

•Choose Industrial Report Title from the on-line system.

•Submission of first draft of Aims and Objectives to my Industrial Report supervisor. This included a brief introduction of my ideas.

•Editing of the feedback that I got from my supervisor on my first draft of the report Introduction.

Weeks 10-11:

•Carry out my presentation for the end of semester 1.

•Use feedback from my presentation to make any changes that are required to my report.

I personally feel that I was able to follow this schedule relatively close, and was happy with the progress that I made in my first semester of work.

I was able to meet with my supervisor to discuss what topics I should include in my report and get some new ideas on what to research.

Below is a copy of my timetable for semester 2:

•Meet with my supervisor to discuss any changes/new ideas I had over the Christmas break.

•Finish off my Literature review and complete a case study analysis with relevant interview questions for the manager of a Construction company.

•Complete and distribute all my questionnaire surveys and get all feedback from my case study. Also hope to have finalised meeting dates with construction companies.

•Collate all my findings together to come up with a conclusion, summary and recommendations.

•Have regular meetings with supervisor to improve my Industrial Report before the hand in date.

In this semester I must admit that I had a lot of conflict with my plan of work.

Due to this my industrial report suffered as I prioritised other coursework over research for my report.

I also did not meet with my supervisor as many times as I hoped, and because of this I had to figure out what information was relevant to my aims and objectives.

Due to my poor management of my industrial report, I missed the deadline because of some unforeseen problems.

My research was also not as thorough as I had planned, as I did not get back questionnaires I sent to various companies, and meetings I had hoped to obtain did not happen.

Meetings with Supervisor

In my various meetings with my supervisor, Ursula Walsh, I was able to put across ideas I had on the topic of Green Building.

Ursula was very helpful in pointing me in the right direction with regards to research material, and contacts to speak with.

Ursula also was able to focus the ideas down to a specific aim, and from that I was able to decide on the objectives I wished to achieve.

In reflection I would have liked to have carried out more meetings with Ursula, but as I mentioned in the previous chapter, the mismanagement of my time prevented this.


* https://www.builderandengineer.co.uk/

* https://www.ukgbc.org/site/home – UK Green Building Council

* https://www.bsria.co.uk – Built Environment Experts

* https://www.ceequal.com

* https://www.building.co.uk

* https://www.sustainablesources.com/

* https://www.breeam.org/

* https://www.usgbc.org/ (LEED Homepage)

* https://www.reedconstructiondata.com/articles/read/leed-rating-system/ (Tables of the LEED points system)

* https://www.ecoworld.org.uk – (NI energy usage figures)

* https://www.lowcarbonbuildings.org.uk/ – (Low carbon building programme)

* https://www.niassembly.gov.uk

Government Documents:

* UK Strategy for Sustainable Construction

* Code for Sustainable Homes – A step-change in sustainable homebuilding practice

* A Sustainable Development Strategy – First Steps Towards Sustainability.

* Greener Homes for the Future – (Information on the Code for Sustainable Homes)

•The Green Building Bible – Volume One – (Basic Green Building Concepts)

•Green Building Fundamentals – (Design and cost of Green Buildings)

•Green Building Handbook – Volume two – (How to choose materials to use)

· SUSTAINABILITY IN THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT – An introduction to its definition and measurement (BRE Document)

· Green Building Manifesto – UK Green Building Council

· Eco Chic or Eco Geek? -The Desirability of Sustainable Homes report by sponge – (Statistics on the publics opinion on Sustainability)

Malachy Friel – B00358759 “Green Building”

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81 Green Building Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

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Essay: Green buildings

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Global warming problem has become the focus of world attention. In recent years, the greenhouse effect has made a heavy global climate change and has seriously developed many illnesses and changes to our environment. These include ground level ozone which is a by- product of atmospheric reaction between nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, methane, and carbon monoxide in the presence of sunlight. Another one would be the thinning of the protective ozone layer which leads to changes in our environment. Chemicals typically come from combustion processes, industrial and vehicle emissions, chemical solvents, and natural sources. Effects include premature death from heart or lung disease, reduced lung function, increased susceptibility to respiratory infections, and increased hospital admissions. METHODS: In order to help reduce global warming, we have to use the available energy much more efficiently. We will have to change our behavior to reduce our personal energy consumption. We must change our current life style and seriously strive for a sustainable living. SOLUTIONS: Green buildings save energy costs by reducing the energy consumption. Traditional buildings consume more of the energy resources than any other building components. Therefore, green building materials are composed of renewable rather than non-renewable resources. They are eco-friendly materials which do not cause damage to human body. Green building materials consist of recycled materials; highly efficient insulation, agricultural buildings, bio cement, eco-cement, green concrete, green roofs, low-energy building, Zero-carbon building, eco-construction It terms of appearance, there is no difference between green building and conventional ones but they do have better indoor environment which offers a lot of savings cost. Some benefits offered by green building are: ‘ Energy efficiency- green building are around 25%-30% more energy efficient. ‘ Reduced maintenance/replacement cost over the life of the building. ‘ Improved occupant health and productivity ‘ Lower cost associated with changing space configurations. Green computing works at all level- development, manufacturing, usage and disposal to minimize technology’s impact on the global environment. ‘ Using energy-efficient hardware like notebook computers, displays, servers, printers and desktop computers. ‘ Using two-sided printers to reduce paper and energy usage. ‘ Centralized networked computer management software. ‘ Video conferencing as alternative to travel expense. Green Computing is an environmentally responsible manner; it protects and saves energy along with operational expenses in today’s increasingly competitive world. Solar panels- Solar panels work through what is called a photovoltaic process ‘ where radiation energy is absorbed and generates electricity ‘ Utilizing electricity from solar power will result in reduced consumption of fuels, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. ‘ Solar power systems will reduce or even eliminate office building’s electric bill. COST AND SAVINGS: Below for figure 1, is an average savings that can be achieved by a green building. (http://www.bio-2000.com/artikel-green-building-en.html) Figure 2, is an extensive research in conducting the cost of consumption levels of PCs. (http://www.thewindowsclub.com/green-computing-energy-savings-with-windows-7) Figure 3, explains the advantage of PV power in which cost has fallen while utility cost continue to rise. (http://www.smgov.net/Departments/OSE/Categories/Energy/Solar/Residential_-_Single-Family.aspx) IMPLEMENTATION: To achieve maximum energy efficiency at the lowest cost, energy efficiency must be used at its best. The only way to achieve energy efficiency in a building is to diligently optimize the energy efficiency of every angle of the design, from start to finish. Four steps to follow when considering energy efficiency: 1) Define green as achieving maximum energy efficiency at minimum cost. 2) Set an aggressive goal to achieve 25% reduction in every part of the building. 3) Perform energy simulations at the outset of the conceptual design phase to assess all energy-efficiency options with paybacks of 15 years or fewer. 4) Select an experienced design team that includes an independent energy consultant who represents the owner for achieving optimal energy efficiency. TIME-LINE: Below is a time-line in which actions will be implemented in a timely manner based on expense and the gravity of work it needs for a more suitable approach for the work place. All three should all be completed within 1 yr. Actions: Date to be completed Green computing/ cloud computers, two sided printers, notebooks April 15, 2015 Green building/ renovations August 15, 2015 Solar panels/ roofs December 15, 2015 CONCLUSION: Green technology is here to help encompass a range of subjects from new energy generation techniques to the study of advanced materials to be used in our daily life. Going green focuses on reducing the environmental impact of industrial processes and innovative technologies caused by the earth’s growing population. By taking on this environmental responsibility, not only will it reduce operation expenses, but it will also have a positive impact in our society. This serves as a great example of promoting growth for healthier and more comfortable living, and in return it creates a positive image to our consumers. References: Dumaine, B. (2014). Fortune: Mr. sunshine. Vol. 170 Issue 6, p96-104. 7p. 6 Color Photographs, 2 Graphs. , Database: Business Source Complete Samer, M. (2013). Towards the implementation of the green building concept in agricultural buildings: a literature review. Agricultural Engineering International: CIGR Journal. Vol. 15 Issue 2, p25-46. 22p. Valanju, S. (2008). Green computing is the utmost requirement. Silicon India. Oct2008, Vol. 11 Issue 9, p26-27. 2p. Van der Leun, JC. (2004) The ozone layer. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine [Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed] Vol. 20 (4), pp. 159-62. Ventresca, J. (2010) Green energy in new construction: maximize energy savings and minimize cost. School Business Affairs, v76 n10 p12-15 Weinhold, B. (2010). Epa’s ground-level ozone standard redux. Environmental Health Perspectives. Vol. 118 Issue 3, pA115-A115. 1p.

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Defining A Green Building Environmental Sciences Essay

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2.2 Defining a Green Building

2.2 leadership in energy and environmental design (leed), 2.2.1 a brief history of leed, 2.2.2 leadership in energy and environmental design (leed) criteria.

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Essay about Architecture: Green Buildings

Leed certification essay examples.

Green Buildings can help the earth in so many ways. Being certified means that you build more environmentally friendly, which means that building green friendly can reduce the negative effect buildings and operations have on the environment. Also green building greatly decreases the chances of fire, explosions, spills or splashes. Building green also reduces health problems such as allergies.

Green Building Negatives

A green building is the “act of making a building more eco-friendly with certain technology that is currently available” (Simple mom). A benefit that comes with building a green building is that they are designed to have more efficient technology than regular buildings. The green buildings are supposed to be healthier and more comfortable environment to live in. Some of the technology created for these building is to use renewable energy, reduce waste buildup, and to cut down on heating and cooling expense. Unlike regular buildings, green buildings require low maintenance. There is no need for any paint jobs to the building and also the life cycle for building are 50- 100 years old the price of building goes down with green buildings installment of solar panels leads to higher resales and strong investments (LaborLawCaenter).

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Green Energy Technology

Green technology refers to the use and application of environmental science as well as technology in the creation of products, systems and equipment with the aim of conserving the environment and the natural resoruces in general. Researchers indicate that the use of green technology is gaining increasing popularity across the globe. In the USA for instance, an estimated 57% of the companies use this technology as well as practices to enhance the efficiency of energy (Feng & Hewage, 2014). An additional 50% of the organizations use the practice for the reduction of waste materials in their production processes (Mulvaney, 2011).

The Future Is Green Architecture

Architecture is vital function for all parts of society. Without architects people would have to rethink how they enter buildings, fearing roofs caving in or structural beams giving out. The rigor of an architect’s training leaves these possibilities and worries an unlikely prospect, not considered in the day to day in a person’s events. Architects make both functional and beautiful structures that are appealing to the eye, as well as useful to the world. The world wouldn’t be able to live in functional cities without the qualities of the architect’s skills. The world would have to worry about a door frame falling on their heads as they walk through the door for their daily workday, into the building that houses their jobs, their pay based on the efficiencies of the buildings layouts. Hopefully a person office is the one in the corner with the view, built to capture the sights outside the window and the prestige of the position, all thought of and created by an architect. Architects have an extremely specialized task to perform. They have to make sure that a building is stable in all conditions and useful and also that it looks appealing to senses, capturing the light at dawn, changing with the light at dusk. Architects do great things and create even greater things, often unnoticed, but worthy of mention. Architects also have very fun creative jobs where they can go to a rigorous job and make sure everything is going as planned and the building will meet the needs

Aviation Industry : An Essential Element Of Today 's Global Society

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Final Exam Paper : Newtown Creek

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Green Architecture and the Environment

Building placement and size are also considered in Green Architecture. Although manyt may envision a green building in a rural, forested environment, this building placement may be detrimental to its surrounding. The wastes that the household produces end up lying around their home. Plus, the cost of energy required for transportation is higher when you are away from the suburb. This may cause higher carbon emissions too. Green buildings are also preferably small in size. This is to minimize the waste produced by the household from cleaning, air conditioning etc. Also, architects suggest that green houses be one-storey to maximize space and lessen wastes.

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Building Green Skyscrapers By Mary Reid

In the Book Building Green Skyscrapers by Mary Reid, the wind turbine is the best because it can be be use for two uses. To start wind turbines can power up buildings. The narrator stated “The wind spins the huge blades of a wind turbine... the turbine runs a machine called a generator. “ (Reid 5). This shows that this can save energy because all extra energy goes into the batteries for later use. Furthermore, Wind is the best type of source. The narrator stated “Wind power is one free source of clean electricity… wind does not produce harmful gases… Nobody needs to worry about running low on wind” (Reid 4). This explains that wind turbines are the best because you can always count on wind to help if you need. In conclusion, Wind Turbines

The Importance Of Gree Green Remodeling

We can give any room in your home a green remodel. Green remodeling means conserving resources, and being energy efficient. We do this by reusing or repurposing materials instead of buying everything new. We also ensure that the room is as energy efficient as possible, and most importantly of all, we ensure the environment is healthy. During a green remodel, harmful chemicals are kept out, alternative, healthier methods are used. To learn more about this type or remodeling and all of our other services visit out website at

Leed and the Impact on the Building Industry Essay

According to a “go green” blog named 2B Green World Website-LEED Consultants, “buildings represent over 50% of US wealth; $800 billion is the amount of renovation and new construction in the United States, buildings account for 1/6 of the worlds freshwater withdrawals, ¼ of its wood harvest and 2/5 of its material and energy flow” (Go Green Facts 1).These figures represent the disadvantages of a world without green building. Throughout this report the focus is on LEED certification and accreditation, and the impact LEED has on several different service firms. The report begins with background information about the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED, and LEED

The Controversy Of Going Green

Going green is a phrase that has swept America back and forth multiple times over the past few decades. No matter where one is to go, a person is likely to see something that contributes to the environment. This could be anything from community cleanup programs, to designated bins for trash and recyclables. Even the way buildings are made contribute to the topic of going green. One reason why industries take up the theme of going green is to the fact that there is money to be made. Minimizing waste in construction and manufacturing help companies to save money.

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Green Buildings : A Green Building Essay

Green buildings could become one of the main factors to preserve our rapidly decaying environment. There is no easy way to define a green building, but a green building is essentially a structure that amplifies the positives and mitigates the negatives throughout the entire life cycle of the building (Kriss, 2014). There are many definitions for a green building, but all of them include the planning, designing, constructing, and operating of the building while taking into huge considerations of the energy use, water use, indoor air environment, materials used and the effect it has on the site the green building is being built on. The first green buildings dates back to as far as the 1970’s, when solar panels went from experiments to reality. Green buildings were not as popular as they are today due to their extremely high pricing. With technology rapidly growing, solar panels are becoming cheaper and cheaper, making the transition to creating green buildings more affordable. This is the primary reason for the increased growth of green buildings today. A modern company that is paving the way to the growth of green buildings named LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, focuses primarily on new and effective ideas for environmentally friendly buildings projects. With more than 60,000 commercial projects worldwide and 1.7 million square feet being certified every day, LEED is one of the leading groups for promoting green buildings. LEED has popularized the entire

Essay on Buildings As An Underlying Cause of Global Warming

As people known, to use renewable resource and to save energy or comfortable indoor environment is far from the overall picture. Because construction mentioned above is an industry which include many aspects such as land use and application of advanced technology, etc. Therefore if we want to define what is green building we should recognize the whole industrial chain included each aspects and unintended environment, social, economic, consequence brought possibly of complex activity. Kats (2003) in his article stated that the sustainable or green building should deal with those key points: environment, resource & energy consumption, impact on people, financial impact and the world at large which is a broader set of issues such as ground water recharge or global warming, as well governmental policies are typically concerned about (Kats, 2003, P. 1). And another institute, Office of the federal Environmental Executive (2003) defined green building as the practice of increasing the efficiency with which

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Essays on Green Building

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green building essay

Green Buildings - Essay Example

Green Buildings

Extract of sample "Green Buildings"

For instance, the use of coal to produce electricity results in massive emission of carbon dioxide and environmental degradation in areas where coal has to be mined. As a result, the entire process leads to land and environmental degradation among other negative effects. To reduce environmental degradation and pollution from emissions, buildings are designed and constructed with features that minimize overreliance on conventional energy by relying more on natural lighting and energy conservation designs. There are various standards of grading buildings on a scale, which reflects the extent of energy efficiency in such buildings. In other words, the more efficient a building is, the more green such a building is, with several certification bodies coming up to rate and certify energy and resource-efficient buildings. The research aims at investigating different requirements before certifying a building as green and the requirements that a building has to meet to warrant the green title. A few case studies of highly rated green buildings will be analyzed from the perspective of energy and resource efficiency, and how such buildings contribute to environmental sustainability. Moreover, the dissertation will seek to investigate different aspects that are used to rate these buildings and the different ratings used by the recognized certification bodies with the close investigation of implications of building rating in addition to the current market response to green construction. Though the concept of the green building dates back to the early 90s when groups advocating for sustainable construction initiated their campaigns, it was not until 2008 when the government enacted the Climate Change Act of 2008 (Business Innovation and Skills BIS, 2011). The act set legally binding targets in which the government had to reduce emissions with expectations of reducing greenhouse gases by 80% between 1990 and 2050.


Saving natural resources, the most famous building of u of o, insuring green buildings, sustainable buildings, green buildings in china and europe, green building and sustainability, dimensions of service quality of starbucks, design procedure of solar systems for green buildings.

green building essay

green building essay

The Benefits of Green Building

Sustainable buildings are becoming somewhat of a necessity in the world today. As the demand for green building develops, so does the demand for green building materials. Just as the old techniques and building materials seem to disappear in the assembly of things, they are now making a come back. Green building focuses on the efficiency of major resources like water and energy. As the cost for sustainable materials and products are on the decline, building green seems to be the most cost effective kind of design and construction. Looking specifically at green materials and their impact on the production of structures, it is evident that they are a prime choice for building material. The use of green materials should be promoted because they are better for the environment, more healthful for the consumer, and better for the economy. The use of green materials is better for the environment because they have a positive impact on the planet. Looking at our environment today we see a place that has been facing a massive climate change. Scientists have been concerned over global warming for decades. The ongoing increase of the earth’s temperature is believed to be caused by the greenhouse effect (“Global Warming” 27). Building with green materials produces significantly lower greenhouse gas emission. Specifically, wood as a material for building products, requires considerably less energy than other building products such as steel and concrete. Wood product manufacture results in fewer greenhouse gas and other air-polluting emissions (“Green Building Benefits”). Green building also results in waste reduction. In the United States, construction and demolition creates a huge amount of solid waste. Green building limits the waste prod... ... middle of paper ... ...07. Print. "Green Building: Advantages & Disadvantages." Green Building: Advantages & Disadvantages. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2013. . Kneidel, Sally, and Sadie Kneidel. Going Green: A Wise Consumer's Guide to a Shrinking Planet. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Pub., 2008. Print. "A Renewed Commitment to Buildings and Their Social Benefits." U.S. Green Building Council. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2013. . Smith, Alicia Marie. Tips for Going Green. Chicago, IL: Encouragement, 2007. Print. "Stormwater Management." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2013. . "Take Action." Green Building Benefits. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2013. .

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Green building: a flawed yet worthwhile industry, by brennen hogan.

Hanging gardens of one central park  sydney

Bob Brown, an Australian politician, once warned, "The future will either be green or not at all." In modern America, almost every aspect of daily life impacts the environment. From the cars people drive to the food both humans and animals eat, effects of daily choices resound in the environment. Some decisions, such as the option to drive a car, are daily and deliberate. Thus, the impacts appear more evident. Other interactions with environmental ties, like the design of one's home, may not involve frequent decisions, yet these factors impact the world in a similar manner. In fact, choices regarding building design impact the residents of a building and the surroundings for numerous years after implementation. Initiatives in sustainable building methods, such as LEED, are among the efforts to transform the construction of buildings and to reduce energy consumption while maintaining the wellbeing of both humans and the environment. It is clear that economic incentives for sustainable construction make green implementation viable. However, vagueness in the green rating systems prevents efficient implementation of green technology. Green design programs demonstrate promising long-term economic viability, yet ambiguities in the green rating systems detract from the effectiveness of these sustainable programs. Could these flawed green criteria be improved in an economically viable manner, and how would changing green criteria impact the sustainable design process?

When considering methods of waste reduction, transportation is often the first topic to come to mind; however, building design significantly contributes to the environmental impacts of humans. Notably, buildings account for one-third of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. [1] Additionally, Kibert writes, "More than 40% of the world's energy, 25% of its water and 40% of its natural resources are consumed by buildings; they are also responsible for the generation of over 45% of global wastes." [2] Buildings impact the surroundings throughout their lifecycle. From the beginning of construction to the conclusion of demolition, all aspects of the building process integrate with the ecosystem around the structure.

Due to the serious impact of buildings, engineers seek to minimize the harmful effects of construction through sustainable development. In 1987, Our Common Future , a report from the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, first defined sustainable development as "development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." [3] This definition unofficially marked the beginning of the world's interest in sustainable development. With increased environmental research, the public awareness of the devastating environmental impacts related to human behavior has risen in recent years. Thus, people have readily adopted sustainable innovations in more parts of the world than ever before.

Despite increased green adoption in some areas, the perceived cost of building green serves as a barrier for some potential customers. As no quick fix presents itself in many cases, developing sustainable practices takes time and money in order to implement the proper technologies. However, misconceptions surround the expenses of green building practices relative to the costs of a standard design. In a 2003 study, the costs of 33 green buildings from across the United States were compared to conventional designs for comparable buildings. Kats concluded, "The average premium for these green buildings is slightly less than 2%, or $3-5 per square foot, substantially lower than is commonly perceived." [4] This would equate to around $10,000 of additional costs for a 2,500 square foot home. The majority of the cost discrepancy is due to the increased architectural and engineering design time, modeling costs, and time necessary to integrate sustainable building practices into projects. [5] Due to lifecycle benefits of sustainably designed buildings, the earlier green building features are implemented, the lower the cost becomes in the long-run. Green buildings also provide health and economic benefits that traditional buildings do not.

In spite of initial expenses, sustainable design yields value in the long-run. The direct benefits associated with green building are related to costs. Green buildings save energy by reducing electricity purchases and minimizing peak energy demands. [6] Kats writes, "On average, green buildings are 28% more efficient than conventional buildings and generate 2% of their power on-site from photovoltaics (PV). The financial benefits of 30% reduced consumption at an electricity price of $0.08/kWh are about $0.30/ft2 /yr, with a 20-year NPV of over $5/ft2." [7] These savings are comparable to or more than the typical marginal cost associated with initially building green. From electricity alone, green buildings can pay for their additional expenses in 20 years. In that case, all savings related to other factors would be considered profitable for an average owner. Additionally, human costs related to air pollution caused by non-renewable power generation and on-site fossil fuel use are often excluded when making investment decisions.

In regards to human experience within a building, sustainable design benefits the residents through increased productivity and improved health. By improving the indoor environmental quality, the inhabitants of a building see many benefits during their daily routine. Even LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a United States green certification system, places an emphasis on improving the human experience, as 42% of credit intents in LEED for Neighborhood Development are evaluated using information on human experience. [8] Quantifying the exact value of a healthier working space is difficult, as many of the costs attributed to a poor working environment do not appear on a budget sheet. Kats writes, "The costs of poor indoor environmental and air quality—including higher absenteeism and increased respiratory ailments, allergies and asthma—are hard to measure and have generally been "hidden" in sick days, lower productivity, unemployment insurance and medical costs." [9] Poor indoor environmental quality causes issues related to illness within the workplace, and improving the quality of a building can minimize these "hidden" costs. Four of the main benefits of a green building include increased control over ventilation, temperature, lighting, and an increase in natural light. By providing a more comfortable workplace, green buildings allow companies to attract and retain the best and most competitive employees. Though many of the perks associated with green buildings are not quantifiable, the benefits of improving the indoor environmental quality allow for a company to maintain the best possible experience for employees.

Although barriers such as higher initial costs and misconceptions about green systems deter some customers, the benefits of green building reserve sustainable design a place in both national and international sustainability agendas. Studies on the specific motivations towards green development identify several drivers and benefits for a group of diverse stakeholders. Outside of meeting green requirements for direct economic incentives, stakeholders and organizations also make the efforts to adopt sustainable development practices in order to improve their corporate culture and image, increase their marketability, and conserve energy to decrease operating and maintenance costs. [10] Outside of the positive effect on the environment, business owners have economic incentives motivating the shift towards sustainable design.

Sustainability has become an increasingly important factor in the economic activity of developed nations. In fact, both small businesses and large corporations utilize sustainable design as a marketing tool. The recent attention to sustainable design is striking. From 2005 to 2010, the use of the term "green building" in the US popular press tripled. [11] The public is increasingly aware of green efforts throughout the nation. Even a small decrease in the environmental impact of buildings can have drastic effects on the long-term energy consumption. Energy costs make up around 30% of a company's operating expenses in the United States. [12] Through sustainable design, executives can easily manage consumption costs amidst increasing energy prices. By incorporating green practices, tenants benefit from lower utility bills and higher employee satisfaction, and real estate investors are incentivized by higher rents and lower risk premiums. In other words, investing in green technology is a safe investment for people looking at the real estate market. In fact, a 2009 study has shown that the Energy Star rating, a classification given to certain sustainably designed buildings, is associated with 3.3 percent higher rent. [13] The increase in the number of green properties serves as evidence of both tenant and investor satisfaction. Between 2007 and 2009, the number of green office spaces in some areas more than doubled. [14] Newly constructed green buildings account for a portion of increased green spaces, but a large share of newly certified buildings are existing structures that recently qualified for an Energy Star or LEED certificate. Initiatives to adopt green technology in older buildings and an increased ease of green adoption account for this change. Green redesign presents itself as a more viable option than ever before. Thus, not all efforts to implement sustainable design occur in new construction. This dramatic increase testifies to the overall levels of satisfaction and the public fascination with the benefits of green building. However, many challenges remain. Some include a complex design system, a lack of understanding about green buildings, and a vague green rating system.

In order for future green technologies to be implemented efficiently, core pillars of green construction must develop to improve upon the currently ambiguous green rating system. The majority of a building's environmental impact comes after construction is completed. In an industry constantly among the top producers of GDP, it is essential to employ healthy practices during new phases of urbanization and renovations to existing structures. Green building, or sustainable design, is at the forefront of this issues. When defining green building, Zuo writes, "[T]here are four pillars of green buildings, i.e. minimization of impacts on the environment, enhancing the health conditions of occupants, the return on investment to developers and local community, and the life cycle consideration during the planning and development process." [15] Though people understand the outcomes of green building, the definition of the topic itself remains vague and serves as a challenge for the promotion and implementation of green buildings. In recent years, various assessment tools have developed to rate green buildings.

Among those attempting to quantify green building are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED, United States), BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM, United Kingdom), and Green Building Council of Australia Green Star (GBCA, Australia). [16] Each country has its own rating system, and each system has its own classification criteria. Overall, it is rather difficult to compare data from each system as the categories and criteria for evaluation differ greatly. However, the differences in systems can be justified by the fact that green buildings in different countries are designed and built according to local climatic conditions and seek to suit the requirements of the locals. Despite the justified discrepancies between rating systems, developing a baseline could be an essential step along the path towards an universal definition of a green building.

The lack of a baseline for green rating systems causes confusion among the building industry. Developing key credit criteria such as energy and water expenditure could be the baseline for developing new rating tools and further developing the existing systems. [17] The current green building rating tools are designed for the evaluation of planning, construction, and demolition based on credit criteria. Certain criteria are developed to encourage the well-being of both the building occupants and the environment, yet these "well-being" criteria are often ambiguous and difficult to quantify. In most cases, points are rewarded for the fulfillment of each of these credit criteria. These points add up to a single score to arrive at the specific certification. Each rating system has different criteria, and Illankoon finds an issue in the differences between systems. Illankoon adds, "[T]he set of credit criteria identified by each green building rating tool has a critical impact on the evaluation of the building performance." [18] If the criteria are not carefully chosen, members of the industry will design to different standards, and the attempt to develop buildings in an environmentally responsible manner would be in vain.

Another challenge with sustainable design comes from the complexity of optimization and its reliance upon flawed green credit criteria. As almost all buildings serve a different purpose and face diverse environmental difficulties, there is no standard green building. In fact, the design of green buildings is highly complex and must achieve the highest levels of performance while minimizing expenses. As each building presents numerous design possibilities, engineers employ computational methods to optimize designs. In order to efficiently design, analysts must decide upon an objective function or a specific goal of the project. [19] These objective functions are often based on LEED and green certification. Thus, an unclear criteria causes confusion during the design process. Additionally, designs often require the incorporation of multiple objectives which may conflict with one another. [20] For instance, increasing the amount of natural light would require the addition of more windows, yet windows are costly in terms of heating and cooling. In order to compute the optimal solution with two conflicting objectives, analysts employ a weighted-sum approach. In this technique, various objectives are assigned a weight and are combined to form a single objective. [21] Due to LEED criteria and its influence on design objectives, improvements in credit criteria would yield enhanced results in the field of green engineering.

Though LEED and other initiatives in sustainable design are currently flawed, they present an opportunity to clarify existing accreditation criteria through a green baseline. Improvements in the green rating systems would only enhance the economic and environmental viability of green building. Economic and environmental benefits for sustainable construction allow green design to be impactful. In all, green building has proven to be effective despite the barriers of adoption. From an investor's standpoint, the benefits of financial savings from reduced energy consumption, lower operation costs, and enhanced workplace productivity outweigh the additional expenses of sustainable design. Green building can be improved through establishing common criteria between each rating system. By implementing a baseline based on quantifiable factors such as the four pillars of green building, credit criteria would be less likely to conflict and optimization would yield enhanced results. Improving upon LEED and establishing a baseline for green building would effectively change green engineering processes and foster future growth in the flourishing industry of sustainable design.

[1] Charles J. Kibert, Sustainable construction: green building design and delivery (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2016), 12.

[2] Ibid., 270.

[3] United Nations Brundtland Commission. "World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED): Our Common Future." 1987, quoted in Andrew D. Basiago "Economic, social, and environmental sustainability in development theory and urban planning practice." The Environmentalist 19, no. 2 (1998): 148.

[4] Gregory Kats. Green building costs and financial benefits. (Boston: Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, 2003), 3.

[5] Ibid., 4.

[8] Chris Pyke, Sean McMahon, and Tom Dietsche. United States Government. US Green Building Council. Green Building & Human Experience. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2010), 7.

[9] Kats, Green building costs and financial benefits , 6.

[10] Amos Darko, Chenzhuo Zhang, and Albert PC Chan. "Drivers for green building: A review of empirical studies." Habitat international 60, (2017): 35.

[11] Piet Eichholtz, Nils Kok, and John M. Quigley. "The economics of green building." Review of Economics and Statistics 95, no. 1 (2013): 50.

[13] Piet Eichholtz, Nils Kok, and John M. Quigley. "Doing well by doing good? Green office buildings." The American Economic Review 100, no. 5 (2010): 2498.

[14] Eichholtz, "The economics of green building", 51.

[15] Jian Zuo, and Zhen-Yu Zhao. "Green building research–current status and future agenda: A review." Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 30, (2014): 272.

[16] Ibid., 273.

[17] Chethana S. Illankoon, Vivian WY Tam, Khoa N. Le, and Liyin Shen. "Key credit criteria among international green building rating tools." Journal of Cleaner Production 164, (2017): 210.

[19] Ralph Evins. "A review of computational optimisation methods applied to sustainable building design." Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 22, (2013): 232.

[20] Ibid., 233.

[21] Ibid., 234.

Essays on Green Building

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California's Cities Lead the Way on Pollution-Free Homes and Buildings

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UPDATED  FEBRUARY 14, 2022: The City of Agoura Hills (#74) has  officially  been added to the list of 74 total cities/counties in California to pass a new building electrification code or ordinance.

Cities and counties in California serve as guiding lights as the state navigates a transition from gas to clean-energy buildings. Motivated by the climate crisis, worsening air pollution, escalating gas rates, and safety risks from gas, a new cohort of local government leaders is emerging in California. Over 60 cities and counties across the state are considering policies to support all-electric new construction. 

This blog summarizes the cities and counties that have already adopted gas-free buildings commitments or electrification building codes (i.e., “reach codes” that go beyond the statewide building code) and is regularly updated to reflect the latest wins in California. Ordinance language is also linked below.

To urge your city council members to be climate leaders and to create a gas-free future for our homes and buildings, please  sign this petition . To get more involved in the campaign, please  sign up here for updates  on what is happening in your city. For more information, or any tips/edits to the cities and counties on this list, please contact Sierra Club's Regional Press Secretary Jessica Gable at [email protected] .

An interactive map of the cities/counties in California that have adopted building codes, courtesy of our partners at  SPUR . 

So far, 74 cities/counties (listed with the most recent area first) have adopted building codes to reduce their reliance on gas. More to come with your help! Stay tuned….

74. Agoura Hills - requires new residential and commercial buildings to be built all-electric starting one month after the ordinance's approval,  with exceptions for commercial cooking and spas. Approved 1/25/2023. 

73.  Los Angeles - requires new residential and commercial buildings to be built all-electric starting on or before January 1st, 2023,  with exceptions for commercial cooking. Approved 12/07/2022. 

72.   San Rafael - requires new buildings be built all-electric with exceptions for commercial kitchens, commercial laundry, emergency back-up power, commercial laundry, and industrial processes. Adds additional requirements for EV charging. Prohibits adding gas capacity to single family homes and accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and requires new gas appliance installations to reduce British Thermal Units (BTU’s) through some other measure (e.g., replace an existing gas appliance with an electric one or remove it). Approved 12/05/2022. 

71. Riverside - requires newly constructed buildings three stories or less with a building permit filed on or after January 6th, 2023, to be all-electric buildings, and newly constructed buildings four stories or more with a building permit filed on or after January 1st, 2026, to be all-electric buildings. There are exceptions for commercial cooking. Approved 12/06/2022.

70. Atherton - requires new buildings to be all-electric with exceptions for residential and commercial cooking and additional requirements for EV charging. Approved 11/16/2022.

69.  Corte Madera - requires all new buildings be to built all-electric with exceptions for commercial cooking, industrial process heat, and attached accessory dwelling units (ADUs) with additional requirements for EV charging. Approved 11/15/2022.

68. Dublin - requires new buildings be built all-electric with exceptions for commercial cooking. Adopts mandatory CALGreen Tier 2 level EV charging requirements. Approved 11/15/2022.

67. Glendale - requires new buildings to be built all-electric with no exceptions, adds additional requirements for EV charging, and adds additional non-residential and multifamily solar photovoltaic requirements. There is an economic infeasibility provision applicable to commercial kitchens. Approved 11/15/2022.

66.  San Leandro - requires new buildings to be all-electric with exceptions for commercial kitchens and commercial clothes drying for hotels with 80+ rooms. Also includes requirements for additional EV charging. Approved 11/07/2022.

65. Pleasanton - requires new buildings to be built all-electric with exceptions for commercial cooking and industrial process and adds additional requirements for EV charging. Approved 11/1/2022.

64. Ventura County - requires new buildings to be built all-electric, starting in January 2023,  with exceptions for indoor/outdoor fireplaces, outdoor grills, swimming pool and spa heaters, commercial cooking, and commercial and industrial equipment approved by building officials. Adopted 11/1/2022

63. Portola Valley - requires new buildings to be all-electric, however, building officials may grant exceptions for commercial cooking. This building code requires that upon replacement/upgrade to an electrical panel and/or AC unit, that panels are upgraded to accommodate new electric loads, and that a heat pump be installed instead of A/C. Approved 10/26/2022.

62. Livermore - requires new buildings to be all-electric with exceptions for commercial kitchens, laboratories and commercial clothes drying for hotels with 80+ rooms. Also includes requirements for additional EV charging. Approved 10/24/2022

61.   San Bruno - requires newly constructed buildings be all-electric with exceptions for hospitals, commercial kitchens, and 100% affordable housing developments. Also requires additional electric vehicle spaces and EV chargers. Approved 10/11/2022.

60. Martinez - requires all newly constructed residential buildings, hotels, offices, and retail buildings to be all-electric, with exceptions for restaurants and the industrial sector. Approved 10/5/2022.

59.  Pasadena - requires newly constructed mixed-use buildings, commercial buildings (except food service establishments and commercial kitchens), and multi-family buildings with more than three units to utilize electric energy only. Single-family dwellings, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and junior accessory dwelling units (JADUs) are exempt from the ordinance, but staff will return to the City Council within a year with a recommendation as to whether these buildings should also be included. Approved 8/8/2022.

58. Hercules - requires all newly constructed residential, office, and hotel buildings be all electric, with minimal exemptions for specific situations occuring in labratories and emergency facilities. 

57. Hillsborough - has adopted an all-electric preferred, with mixed fuel option, reach code ordinance. This requires all new single-family residential construction to implement electric space heating and electric water heating.

56. Belmont - adopted a reach code that requires new buildings to be all-electric with exemptions for space conditioning in labs, clothes drying in large hotels, and an application-based exemption for gas stoves in commercial kitchens. 

55. Half Moon Bay - adopted a reach code policy requires all electric new construction, with no gas or propane in new construction, and requires fuel gas lines to be capped/decommissioned in existing buildings by 2045.

54. Contra Costa County - requires all newly constructed residential buildings, hotels, offices, and retail buildings to be all-electric starting June 1, 2022.

53. Santa Clara County - adopted an all-electric reach code for new residential and commercial buildings, with minor exceptions for certain factories, hazardous materials facilities, hospitals, and laboratories.

52. Solana Beach - requires new construction in residential and commercial buildings to use electric appliances for space heating, water heating, dryers, pools and spas. It sets standards for major renovations to ensure that significant remodels beyond a certain point require these electric upgrades as well. The ordinance also requires all-electric readiness, and has provisions for electric car charging, commercial solar, and prewiring for home battery storage.

51. Santa Clara -  this all-electric reach code applies to both new residential and commercial buildings, and contains minimal exemptions.

50. Encinitas - in accordance with their most recent Climate Action Plan update-- will now require all new residential and commercial buildings to be all-electric, making it the 50th municipality and the first city in San Diego County to require all-electric buildings, with situational exemptions for restaurants, essential service buildings, and special projects.

49. Fairfax - requires all newly constructed residential and commercial buildings to be all-electric, starting March 1, 2022, with an exemption for commercial kitchens. 

48.  Emeryville - requires all newly constructed residential buildings to be all-electric, with exemptions for newly constructed nonresidential buildings. However, these buildings must be furnished with conduit or pre-wiring for future electric appliance installation.

47. Santa Barbara - requires all new buildings to be all-electric starting January 1, 2022, though it does offer an exemption for restaurants. 

46. Sacramento -  requires all new buildings under 3 stories to be all-electric by 2023 and extends the mandate to all new construction by 2026. Approved 6/1/2021. 

45. South San Francisco - requires all new residential buildings to be all-electric. Approved 5/26/2021. 

44. Petaluma - Requires all buildings to be all-electric and bans all new gas stations. Approved 5/3/2021. 

43. Daly City - Required all-electric new residential and non-residential buildings with blanket exemptions for 100% affordable housing buildings, commercial kitchens, and laboratories. Approved 4/27/2021. 

42. San Carlos - Requires newly constructed buildings and remodel projects that update more than 50% of the building to be all-electric with some exceptions. Approved 1/25/2021. 

41. Albany - Encourages newly constructed residential and commercial buildings to be electric preferred and requires mixed fuel buildings to exceed the California Energy Code. Approved 12/9/2020. 

40. Oakland - Requires all newly constructed buildings to be all-electric. Approved 12/1/2020. 

39.  Ojai - Requires all-electric new construction for buildings with some exceptions. Approved 10/27/2020. 

38.  Sunnyvale - Requires newly constructed residential and commercial buildings to be all-electric with an exemption for gas fuel cells. Restaurants may apply for an exemption. Approved 10/27/2020. 

37.  Millbrae - Requires all-electric residential and commercial buildings with exemptions for laboratories, restaurants and gas cooking/fireplaces. Approved 10/27/2020. 

36.  Los Altos - Requires all newly constructed buildings to be all-electric with exemptions for gas cooking/fireplaces in residential buildings with 9 units or less, laboratories and restaurants. Approved 10/27/2020. 

35. East Palo Alto - Requires that new residential and commercial buildings be all-electric, with exceptions for affordable housing, and commercial kitchens. Approved 10/6/2020. 

34. Redwood City - Adopted a reach code requiring all-electric new construction for commercial and residential buildings, with exceptions for multiple specific building types such as laboratories. Approved 8/24/2020. 

33. Piedmon t- Promotes all-electric new construction for low-rise residential buildings and incentives electrification for renovations of low-rise residences. Approved 7/20/2020. 

32. San Anselmo - Promotes all electric housing by requiring higher energy efficiency requirements for mixed fuel projects and prewiring for al electric kitchens. Approved 4/14/2020. 

31. Burlingame - Requires all electric new construction for projects with exemptions for single-family and commercial projects for gas cooking and fireplaces. Approved 7/6/2020. 

30. Santa Cruz - Requires all electric new construction with exemptions for projects that are deemed to be in the public interest and for restaurant cooking. Approved 3/24/2020. 

29. Hayward - All new residential buildings are required to be all-electric and nonresidential and high-rise residential buildings are electric preferred. Mixed-fuel buildings must install solar panels, and the energy budget must be 10 percent better than code. Approved 3/3/2020. 

28. Richmond - requires all new buildings to be all-electric starting January 1, 2022.

27. San Mateo County - Requires that no gas or propane plumbing is installed in new buildings, and that electricity be used as the energy source for water and space heating and cooking and clothes drying appliances. Approved 2/11/2020. 

26. Campbell - Requires all-electric space and water heating in new residential buildings, accessory dwelling units, and major remodels. Approved 2/4/2020. 

25.  Los Altos Hills - Requires electric space and water heating in new low-rise residential buildings. Approved 1/16/2020. 

24.  San Francisco recently expanded on their building electrification ordinance, now requiring that all new construction be all electric starting June 1st 2021. Approved 12/17/2019.  

23. Cupertino - Requires all buildings, including accessory dwelling units, to be all-electric. Also requires outdoor pools, spas, and barbeques to be included within the definition of an all-electric building. Approved 12/17/2019. 

22. Los Gatos - Requires all newly constructed single-family and low-rise multifamily buildings to be all-electric. Approved 12/3/2019. 

21. Healdsburg - Requires electrification for most appliances but grants an exemption for gas cooking and fireplaces. Approved 12/2/2019. 

20. Brisbane - Requires all newly constructed single-family homes and low-rise multifamily buildings to be all-electric. Allows exemptions for cooking appliances but requires pre-wiring for electric readiness. Approved 11/21.2019. 

19. Saratoga - Requires all newly constructed buildings to be all-electric. Approved 11/20/2019. 

18. Mill Valley - Requires all newly constructed residential buildings to be all electric. Approved 11/18/2019. 

17. Pacifica - Requires electrification for most appliances but grants an exemption for gas cooking and fireplaces in new residential buildings. Requires water and space heaters, cooking appliances, fireplaces, and clothes dryers to be all-electric for new nonresidential buildings. Public agencies providing emergency services and nonresidential kitchens are exempted. Approved 11/12/2019. 

16. Santa Rosa - Requires all newly constructed low-rise residential buildings to be all-electric. Approved 11/12/2019. 

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15. Milpitas - Limits gas infrastructure for newly constructed buildings on city-owned property. Approved 11/5/2019. 

14. Alameda - Limits gas infrastructure for new residential construction on city-owned property and as of May 18, they've expanded the code to require newly constructed buildings to be all electric with some exceptions. Approved 11/5/2019.

13. Palo Alto - Requires all newly constructed low-rise residential buildings to be all-electric, plus higher energy-efficiency standards and electrification readiness in mixed-fuel non-residential buildings. Will revisit all-electric requirement for non-residential new construction in 2021. Approved 11/4/2019. 

12. Morgan Hill - Phases out gas hookups in all newly constructed residential buildings and most nonresidential buildings.  Approved 10/23/2019.   

11. Mountain View - Requires electrification for new residential and nonresidential buildings. Does not exempt gas stoves, fireplaces, or firepits in residential buildings. Approved 10/22/2019. 

10. Marin County - Offered three compliance pathways for newly constructed buildings in unincorporated buildings: one for all-electric construction, one for limited mixed-fuel construction that has fewer efficiency requirements because it uses less gas but allows gas stoves, and one for mixed-fuel construction that requires the most strict compliance with Cal Green Tier 1 and electrification-readiness requirements. Approved 9/24/2019.

9. Davis - Requires higher energy-efficiency standards and electrification readiness in mixed-fuel buildings. Approved 9/24/2019.  

8. San Jose - San Jose passed a natural gas prohibition for all new building types, with limited temporary exemptions, becoming the largest city in the nation to do so. Approved 9/17/2019.

7. Menlo Park - Requires all-electric new construction for  residential buildings as well as new nonresidential buildings but allows an exemption for cooking appliances in low-rise residential buildings.  Approved 9/10/2019.

6. Santa Monica - Requires additional energy-efficiency measures for new residential and nonresidential buildings that use gas.  Approved 9/10/2019. Updated on 9/27/2022. now requiring all-electric construction via the city’s municipal code and an EV charger reach code. 

5. San Mateo - Requires new residential buildings and buildings with office-use to be all-electric. Adds additional requirements for rooftop solar and electric vehicle charging. Approved 8/27/2019. Updated 11/7/2022, now requiring the installation of all-electric  heat pump air conditioning when new air conditioning is installed or replaced, and heat pump water heater installation during addition and alteration projects that include water heater replacement. 

4. San Luis Obispo - Requires additional energy efficiency and electrification readiness for all newly constructed buildings and adds a small fee for new mixed-fuel buildings based on expected gas consumption.  Approval of updated code 6/16/2020. Updated 7/5/2022, so that on January 1st, 2023 an updated Clean Energy Program for New Buildings goes into effect, requiring all new buildings to be built all-electric. There are only a few exemptions, like for gas-powered equipment in commercial kitchens.

3. Windsor - (Updated July 13, 2022: Windsor has since had its reach code revoked. It will remain on this list as a place-holder until officially reinstated.) Mandates all-electric new construction for low-rise residential buildings, including single-family homes, multifamily homes with fewer than four stories, and detached accessory dwelling units ( but attached ones are exempt).  Approved 8/27/2019.

2. Berkeley - Phases out gas hookups in all newly constructed residential buildings and most nonresidential buildings. Approved 7/15/2019.  

1. Carlsbad - Requires heat pump water heaters or solar thermal water heating in new residential buildings that have fewer than four stories. Approved 2/26/2019.

green building essay

City and county leadership is essential not just for local climate action but also to convince the California Energy Commission to require or at least support all-electric new construction in the statewide building code (Title 24). 

The CEC updates Title 24 every three years. The 2022 version of Title 24 was adopted on December 14, 2021 and will go into effect on January 1st, 2023. The next iteration of Title 24 will come out in 2025, giving Californians plenty of time to push for an even stronger rule! All of this community and city support for more-ambitious building codes sends a strong signal to the CEC to align the statewide building code with climate science and require all-electric new construction. Californians deserve nothing less.

Jessica Gable is Deputy Regional Press Secretary for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal and Energy Campaigns in California

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green building essay

Santa Clara, California

Santa clara university.

Want to see your chances of admission at Santa Clara University?

We take every aspect of your personal profile into consideration when calculating your admissions chances.

Santa Clara University's 2022-23 Essay Prompts

Overcoming challenges short response.

At SCU, we push our students to be creative, be challenged, and be the solution. Think about an ethical dilemma that you care about that our society is currently facing. This can be something happening in your local community or more globally. How can an SCU education help you prepare for and address this challenge?

Why This College Short Response

Briefly describe what prompted you to apply to Santa Clara University. Based on what you know about SCU and our Jesuit mission to educate citizens and leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion, how do you envision your life at SCU and beyond? (Maximum 200 words)*

Common App Personal Essay

The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don‘t feel obligated to do so.

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you‘ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

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green building essay

NASA‘s First Space Station on Earth

NASA engaged William McDonough + Partners to design Sustainability Base, its first new construction in 20+ years, to show how a federal facility, with a tight schedule and conventional budget, could be a model of effectiveness and sustainability.

NASA Sustainability Base, Moffett Field, California

Sustainability Base is named in recognition of the kinship between it and the first off-planet human outpost on the moon, Tranquility Base. The facility has earned LEED® Platinum certification, among the first federal installations to do so. NASA is applying its expertise derived from aeronautics, information technology and space exploration to the built environment, using Sustainability Base as a living laboratory to develop methods and tools for understanding and controlling dynamic energy and water systems here on Earth.

Sustainability Base effectively combines passive (hydronic geothermal) and active (heat exchangers, radiant ceiling tiles) heating/cooling and daylighting strategies to optimize energy use. On-site, a BloomBox® ES-5700 produces more electricity than peak demand. Roof-mounted SunPower® E-19 panels can produce 87kW, approximately 30% of annualized demand. Excess production is metered onto the local electrical grid at the Ames substation. Inside, technology developed for the International Space Station recycles sink/shower greywater for toilet flushes. Outside, irrigation uses locally remediated Superfund-site groundwater. Overall, Sustainability Base saves 90% of potable water over comparably sized facilities.

A rigorous materials selection protocol was implemented during the design and construction of Sustainability Base. First, Cradle to Cradle Certified™ products were used when available, cost effective and achievable through a competitive, tender process. When certified products could not be implemented, alternative products were evaluated by MBDC for their Cradle to Cradle Certified™ potential.

William McDonough + Partners, Design Architect AECOM, Architect of Record / Landscape Architect of Record / MEP / Structural / Civil Loisos + Ubbelohde, Daylighting / Lighting / Energy Consultant Swinerton, Contractor Siteworks Studio, Design Landscape Architect McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, Materials Assessment TBD, Cost Estimator

Awards + Certifications

LEED® Platinum Certification AIA Virginia Honorable Mention Award, 2019 Architectural Record 2014 Good Design is Good Business Award Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA), 2013 Sustainable Practices or Facilities Acterra, 2013 Business Environmental Award, Sustainable Built Environment Center on Environmental Innovation & Leadership, 2011 Leadership in Innovation Award White House GreenGov Award 2011, Lean Clean and Green ENR California, Best Projects of 2011, Award of Merit – Green Building Silicon Valley Business Times’ Structures Awards 2010, Best Green Project GSA Real Property 2010 Award for Green Innovation

Related Content

See video from NASA’s website


NPR: NASA Uses Lessons From Space To Design An Efficient Building

The Huffington Post: Innovation Earth: Bringing NASA Technology Back To Earth

Fast Company: NASA to Break Ground on Super-Green “Sustainability Base


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