THE BASICS: WHAT IS A GREEN BUILDING?
Green buildings – also known as healthy and high-performance buildings – provide a response to traditional building methods that contribute to poor occupant health, natural resource depletion, unnecessary maintenance and operational costs, and numerous negative environmental impacts. In general, healthy and high-performance buildings are designed and built with a more thoughtful, inclusive, holistic and systems-based approach, taking long term environmental and human impacts into consideration.
Consider these facts:
Americans spend 90% of their time indoors, where air quality can be up to five times worse than outdoors.
Meanwhile, buildings in the U.S. account for approximately:
- 40% of our ENERGY use,
- 40% of our GREENHOUSE GAS emissions,
- 65% of our WASTE output, and
- 12% of our WATER use.
Maintaining the status quo of the built environment is not sustainable – it simply cannot continue at this rate into the future. Green, healthy, high performing buildings offer a solution to this challenge and have been shown to:
- Reduce ENERGY use by up to 50%
- Reduce GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS by 33%
- Recuse solid WASTE by up to 70%, and
- Reduce WATER use by 40%
All this while also lowering maintenance costs by over 10% AND significantly increasing occupant satisfaction!
It’s not every day that an opportunity with a TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE benefit presents itself.
- People: Green buildings provide benefits to the OCCUPANTS of a space
- Profit: Green buildings provide benefits to the ECONOMY
- Planet: Green buildings provide benefits to the ENVIRONMENT
- Improved Occupant Performance, Comfort, and Health
- Improved Quality of Life
- Flexible Spaces
- Competitive Market Advantage
- Increased Business Revenue
- Reduced Operating Costs
- Increased Resale and Rent Values
- Optimized Life-Cycle Performance
- Biodiversity and Protected Ecosystems
- Improved Air and Water Quality
- Reduced Waste Stream
- Conserved and Restored Natural Resources
At Green Building Alliance, we inspire the creation of healthy and high performing buildings throughout the entire region. We’re here specifically to….
Not sure where to start? Check out GBA’s Resource Directory to learn the basics, as well as various ways to incorporate green practices into your space.
Connect the Dots
GBA has more than 1,100 individual and corporate members who are contractors, architects, engineers, commissioning agents, designers, landscape architects, and LEED-accredited professionals who can help YOU create your own healthy and high performing space. Attend one of GBA’s many events, where you can be connected with the right people to guide you through this process. Check out GBA’s events calendar here.
GBA can also help service providers and green building professionals connect to potential clients and customers.
GBA hosts over 100 events per year, all focused on providing education and networking for its friends and members. From LEED to Living Building Challenge; from Passive House to net-zero energy; from building tours to workshops… GBA will school you on anything and everything related to sustainability and the built environment. Check out the events calendar here. Don’t see a topic you’re looking for? Ask GBA’s Education Senior Director about it and we just might create a program based on your suggestion!
There are as many examples of high-performance spaces as there are building types. Search GBA’s Projects Directory to find examples of the following types of healthy, green buildings:
- Higher Education
- PreK-12 Schools
- and even Neighborhood Development
Looking for more? Take a TOUR of a green building. GBA’s offices are certified LEED Platinum and everyone is welcome to take either a Virtual Tour or a personal tour of this healthy, high-performance space. Check out the events calendar for scheduled office tours.
Do you want to build or retrofit a space to be healthy and high performing? No matter the scale of your project, there are an abundance of green building financial mechanisms to help you through the process, and Green Building Alliance and Duquesne University have compiled a list of them for your use. On both a regional and national scale, these numerous financing sources (including loans, grants, and tax incentives) encourage the creation, development, and renovation of green buildings, as well as inspire a more sustainable outlook. Program eligibility varies widely, with incentives offered to businesses, nonprofits, governments, and even individuals. By taking advantage of these offerings, you can save money while creating healthier, higher performing places where we can all live, work, play, and learn. It doesn’t get much better than that!