Green buildings are designed to be sustainable and to reduce the environmental impact of the built environment. There are a number of green building rating and certification programs in the marketplace.
Green architectural design uses cost-effective materials and technologies to encourage energy efficiency and resource conservation. It also promotes water efficiency and indoor air quality. These standards and certifications provide guidance and documentation to ensure that the construction of a building meets certain requirements.
Green building rating systems evaluate the environmental performance of a project and can be applied to single-family homes, neighborhoods, and commercial buildings. Some of the major types of rating systems include LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and EDGE (Energy Demand and Generation Efficiency).
Materials used in green architecture can be recycled, remanufactured, or recovered. Recycling materials minimizes the need for virgin materials and allows for a higher level of durability. Recycled materials include paper insulation made from recycled newspapers, cardboard insulation, and recycled steel, glass, and stone.
Non-toxic materials are also widely used in green architecture. They have lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and low irritants, making them more comfortable for occupants. They also have less harmful carcinogen elements and are moisture-resistant.
Many cities and counties have enacted legislation and policies to require that new construction and renovation projects be more environmentally friendly. The benefits of a green building depend on its topography, climate, and timing. In general, the building will be more energy efficient, have better occupant health, and increase the value of the property.