Review of the White Paper on Sustainability
A Report on the Green Building Movement, Building Design & Construction, November 2003.
In fulfillment of an assignment to review the White Paper on Sustainability: A Report on the Green Building Movement, Building Design & Construction, November 2003. The White Paper on Sustainability main elements; are the historical overview of green building, the results of a specially commissioned survey, an analysis of trends, issues, and published research. And the last one is a set of recommendations that describe specific actions to be performed. A brief history of green building is also discussed in the white paper. The basics of ...view middle of the document...
There are four LEED certification levels; Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. The levels are based on earned points system. A structure that earns 26 points can become LEED Certified, 33 points to get Silver, 39 and 52 points for Gold and Platinum level respectively. The LEED checklist category point systems are; sustainable sites (14 points max), water efficiency (5 points max), energy and atmosphere (17 points max), materials and resources (13 points max), indoor environmental friendly (15 points max), innovation and design process (5 points max). Of course there’s a lot more factors in the determination of points such as regional differences. It takes more than just following a checklist to create a well design green building. Some of the criteria in the “sustainable site” are the use of strategies to take advantage of what a site naturally provide such as air, light, water, soil. A smart planning on the design and construction that will reduce strain on local ecosystem through strategized planning. Water efficiency can be achieved by utilizing efficient plumbing fixtures, and capturing and treating rain water for irrigation, and other uses. Improve energy efficiency by using daylight, motion sensors high-efficiency equipment. Energy usage can also be reduced by using solar equipment. Reduce landfill waste by recycling and reusing materials.
The Federal and State role in green building -- the Federal government has been involved in many elements of sustainable buildings; the government also has funded research studies to support green building development. The Department of the Navy and other Military branches also has adopted LEED as a required tool and metric design practices. California Public Utilities Commission offers incentives of up to $150,000 per project to compensate for investing in green building.
The questions for builders and developers are “do green buildings cost more to build” compared to conventional buildings? And do they offer more benefits such as better health, higher job satisfaction, improved productivity of occupant workers?
Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), Snowmass, Colo. RMI examined several buildings that had saved lots of dollars in various energy retrofits. Some of the examples are Lockheed Building 157 produced energy savings of half a million dollars per year, West Bend Mutual Insurance Company’s headquarters produced 40% savings per square unit in energy costs, the ING Bank Headquarters in Amsterdam energy savings of $2,600,000 at a cost of $700,000. Few other buildings that benefited from implementation of green building concept according to RMI are the post office in Reno Nevada, Pennsylvania Power Company’s lighting upgrade. Newly constructed buildings also showed positive results.
The second question is do green buildings offer better human and social benefits compared to a conventional buildings? “West Bend” study by Walter Kroner and colleagues at Renselaer Polytechnic Institute documented...