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e-Journal

 

Green Buildings: Conserving the Human Habitat
(Released October 2006)

 
  by Ethan Goffman  

Review

Key Citations

Web Sites

Glossary

Editor
 
Conclusion

Contents

In an environmentally stressed world, green buildings are moving from an exotic curiosity to a necessity. Buildings are perhaps the single greatest stress on the environment, accounting for "one-sixth of the world's fresh water withdrawals, one-quarter of its wood harvest, and two fifths of its material and energy flows"51 Given threats to the biodiversity upon which human life depends, impending shortages of clean water and other materials, and the possibility of devastating climate change, the greening of buildings constitutes a collective imperative. Given the political difficulties of obtaining energy, and likely future shortages of conventional energy sources, we cannot ignore the enormous conservation that green buildings make possible. And buildings with natural materials and lighting also spur a happier, healthier, more productive workforce. For political, environmental, and economic reasons, then, green building techniques are almost certain to become commonplace in the future years and decades.

Yet evaluating what makes a building green is tricky. Green buildings may be conceived of as a checklist of environmentally friendly elements, and such checklists are needed to authenticate that a given building is as environmentally friendly as it claims. Green architects, however, prefer to think of buildings as integrated wholes, visually pleasing against the surrounding environment, highly functional for daily uses, and environmentally friendly. One visionary believes that "the true green city of the future will be a metropolis where designers are able to comfortably fuse elements considered to be 'real nature' with those thought of as 'man-made nature.'"52 The barrier between natural and artificial, then, is likely to become fuzzy, as buildings move toward a harmony with natural processes. And, instead of being a great drain on energy and a disruptor of ecosystems, buildings are evolving toward being part of a healthy, managed environment. A strong awareness of the advantages of green buildings, a conscious effort to change, will speed this process along.

lit conical building
30 St Mary Axe in London, known as the "gherkin" building,
is one of the newest big green buildings

© Copyright 2006, All Rights Reserved, CSA

List of Visuals

References

  1. United States Green Building Council. Building Momentum: National Trends and Prospects for High-Performance Green Buildings, p. 3.

  2. Stang, A. & Hawthorne, C. 2005. The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, p. 17.

  3. United States Green Building Council, Atlanta Chapter. http://www.southface.org/web/resources&services/USGBC-atlanta/USGBC-atlanta.htm Accessed Sept 21, 2006.

  4. California State Government. Green Building Basics. http://www.ciwmb.ca.gov/GreenBuilding/Basics.htm Accessed Sept 15, 2006.

  5. United States Green Building Council. The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green Buildings, p. vi. http://www.usgbc.org/Docs/News/News477.pdf Accessed Sept 15, 2006.

  6. United States Green Building Council. Building Momentum: National Trends and Prospects for High-Performance Green Buildings, p. 15. http://www.usgbc.org/Docs/Resources/043003_hpgb_whitepaper.pdf Accessed Sept 15, 2006.

  7. Brouwer, G. Dec 2003. California commends economy of 'green' buildings. Civil Engineering (New York) 73(12), p. 21.

  8. Schaper, L. Public input yields greener library design. Library Journal 128(20), p. 64.

  9. Miro, C.R.& Cox, J.E. Aug 2000. Sustainable design and the high-performance building. ASHRAE Journal. 42 (8). p. 17

  10. McDonough, W. Preface. Gissen, D (Ed.). 2002. Big and Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. p. 9.

  11. Sound Home Resources Center. Passive Solar Heating. http://www.soundhome.com/topics/topic_passivesolar.shtml Accessed Sept 15, 2006. Perlin, J. California Solar Center. The History of Solar Energy. http://www.solarschoolhouse.org/history_passive.html Accessed Sept 15, 2006.

  12. Perlin, J. California Solar Center. The History of Solar Energy. http://www.solarschoolhouse.org/history_passive.html Accessed Sept 15, 2006.

  13. National Building Museum. History of the National Building Museum. http://www.nbm.org/Info/history.html Accessed Sept 21, 2006.

  14. Goffman, E. March 2003. Big and green and built all over. Cultureflux http://www.cultureflux.com/mar_17/goffman.html Accessed Sept 15, 2006.

  15. Rogers, R. On sustainability and how it's changing the face of modernism. Gissen, D (Ed.). 2002. Big and Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, p. 172.

  16. Gissen, D (Ed.). 2002. I New York: Princeton Architectural Press. p. 62.

  17. Battle, G. The air we breathe. Gissen, D (Ed.). 2002. Big and Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. p. 41.

  18. Schendler, S. & Udall, R. Oct 2005. LEED is broken; Let's fix it. Grist. http://www.grist.org/comments/soapbox/2005/10/26/leed/index1.html Accessed Sept 15, 2006.

  19. U.S. Department of Energy. Building America Program. http://www.eere.energy.gov/buildings/building_america/ Accessed Sept 15, 2006.

  20. Yudelson, J. August 2005. Is LEED broken? Environmental Design and Construction. http://www.edcmag.com/CDA/Archives/
    d15f0104cd697010VgnVCM100000f932a8c0____
    Accessed Sept 15, 2006.

  21. Stang, A. & Hawthorne, C. 2005. The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, p. 15.

  22. California State Government. Green Building Basics. http://www.ciwmb.ca.gov/GreenBuilding/Basics.htm Accessed Sept 15, 2006.

  23. Holloway, D. A Simple Design Methodology for Passive Solar Architecture. http://www.dennisrhollowayarchitect.com/html/SolarDesignb.html Accessed Sept 15, 2006.

  24. Ibid.

  25. Nicolow, J. Nov. 2004 Getting the green light from the sun. Construction Specifier 57, p. 59.

  26. Ibid., p. 62.

  27. Ibid., p. 60.

  28. Northeast Sustainable Energy Association. Solar Electricity. http://www.nesea.org/buildings/info/solarelectricity.html Accessed Sept 15, 2006.

  29. Ibid.

  30. Starrs, T. & Wenger, H. United States Department of Energy. Get YourPower from theSun: A Consumer's Guide, p. 3 http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy04osti/35297.pdf Accessed Sept 15, 2006.

  31. U.S. Department of Energy. Solar Water Heating. http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/sh_basics_water.html Accessed Sept 15, 2006.

  32. LaMonica, M. ZDNet. 'Micro' wind turbines are coming to town. http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-6037539-2.html Accessed Sept 15, 2006.

  33. Gipe, P. Wind-Works.org. Rooftop turbines: Rooftop mounting and building integration of wind turbines. http://www.wind-works.org/articles/RoofTopMounting.html Accessed Sept 15, 2006.

  34. Stecky, N. 2004. Renewable energy for high-performance buildings in New Jersey: Discussion of PV, wind power, and biogas and New Jersey's incentive programs. ASHRAE Transactions 110 (Part 1) p. 608.

  35. Ibid.

  36. U.S. Department of Energy. Biomass Program. http://www1.eere.energy.gov/biomass/ Accessed Oct 3, 2006.

  37. Serlin, D. Rethinking the corporate biosphere: The social ecology of sustainable architecture. Gissen, D (Ed.). 2002. Big and Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. p. 148.

  38. Stang, A. & Hawthorne, C. 2005. The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, p. 27.

  39. Braungart, M. Beyond the limits of sustainable architecture: A new material sensibility for the twenty-first century. Gissen, D (Ed.). 2002. Big and Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. p. 119.

  40. Gissen, D (Ed.). 2002. Big and Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. p. 21

  41. National Institute of Standards and Technology. BEES (Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability) 3.0. http://www.bfrl.nist.gov/oae/software/bees.html Accessed Sept 15, 2006.

  42. Froeschle, L. Oct. 1999. Environmental assessment and specification of green building materials. Construction Specifier, p. 53.

  43. Moore, B. Cradle to Cradle: Interview with William McDonough. http://www.evworld.com/view.cfm?section=article&storyid=378 Accessed Sept 15, 2006.

  44. Wilson, A. Jan 2000. Building materials: What makes a product green? Environmental Building News 9(1) 2006. http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm?fileName=090101a Accessed Sept 15, 2006.

  45. Braungart, M. Beyond the limits of sustainable architecture: A new material sensibility for the twenty-first century. Gissen, D (Ed.). 2002. Big and Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. p. 119.

  46. Froeschle, L. Oct. 1999. Environmental assessment and specification of green building materials. Construction Specifier, p. 53.

  47. Green Building Alliance. Water. http://www.gbapgh.org/GBBasics_Strategies_water.asp Accessed Sept 15, 2006.

  48. Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. Facts about Ultra Low Flush Toilets. http://www.mwra.state.ma.us/publications/ulftoilets.pdf Accessed Sept 15, 2006.

  49. Ibid.

  50. Schaper, L. Public input yields greener library design. Library Journal 128(20), p. 63.

  51. California State Governement. Green Building Basics. http://www.ciwmb.ca.gov/GreenBuilding/Basics.htm Accessed Sept 15, 2006.

  52. Wine, J. "Vertiscapes: the Skyscraper as Garden." Gissen, D (Ed.). 2002. Big and Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. p. 85.