From Green Building Through Integrated Design

High-Performance Building Characteristics

Let s get more specific about what we actually mean by the term green building or high-performance building. A green building is one that considers and then reduces its impact on the environment and human health. A green building uses considerably less energy and water than a conventional building, has fewer site impacts and generally higher levels of indoor air quality. It also accounts for some measure of the life-cycle impact of building materials, furniture and furnishings. These benefits result from better site development practices; design and construction choices; and the cumulative effects of operation, maintenance, removal, and possible reuse of building materials and systems.

In the United States and Canada, a green building is generally considered to be one certified by the LEED green building rating system of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) or Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC). More than 99 percent of the certified green buildings in both countries come from this system. [*] For the purposes of this book, I will be using high-performance buildings to designate those that achieved a Gold- or Platinum-level certification from the U.S. or Canadian LEED systems. This is not entirely a fair choice, because there are some excellent green buildings that only achieved a LEED Silver status; however, increasingly, one must ask that a high-performance building achieve LEED Gold or Platinum. There might even be examples of Zero Net Energy buildings that one would consider high-performance from an energy efficiency standpoint that don t...

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Topics of Interest

The LEED Rating Systems LEED rates all buildings across five major categories of concern, using key environmental attributes in each category. LEED collects and incorporates a wide variety of best...

Overview The Sustainable Sites category of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) rating system for new construction version 2.2 (LEED-NC 2.2) consists of one prerequisite and eight credit...

Throughout this book, I ll be showing you examples of high-performance projects, generally LEED Platinum level achievements and telling you how the participants worked together to achieve these...

Other Green Building Rating Systems In addition to LEED, there are other commercial and institutional green building rating systems. One system in the United States is called Green Globes, a program...

Overview Along with many others, Bill Reed writes about the need to continue the push for high-performance buildings into the realm of restorative and regenerative design. In a 2005 paper, Reed (and...

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