Chapter 4 - The Built Environment

Part 3 - Green Building

LEED words inclduing green, renewable, ecology, architectureBuildings have an impact on many aspects of Earth. The environment, the habitat where they are located, and natural resources are three components of the natural world that are impacted by man-made structures. Green building is the creation of a structure where each aspect of the design, construction, renovation, and operation pays attention to use and reuse of materials in a resourceful and environmentally sound manner.  

Green building is receiving attention at a global level. The practices of constructing a building are changing in ways that help maintain the ecology of the surrounding site and minimize damaging effects on nature. Green buildings are sensitive to the natural environment, provide comfortable air quality and temperature, are effective with resources, including water, energy and material, and many other positives in comparison with standard buildings. With the addition of many new technologies, materials, and programs in the past decade, green building has become an achievable possibility, and one that will likely make up the future of all buildings.

Today, buildings contribute roughly 40% of primary energy use, 72% electricity consumption, 39% carbon dioxide emissions, and roughly 13.6% potable water consumption. Additionally, building construction accounts for a large portion of money spent globally annually, with nearly five trillion dollars spent each year. However, with many new options and improvements for green building, a residential demand for green living, and many new government initiatives to transition toward green buildings, the utilization of green construction in buildings has risen, and it is expected to continue to rise.  

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  • green building
  • US Green Building Council (USGBC)
  • LEED
  • LEED Certified
  • Smart Location & Linkage
  • Neighborhood Pattern & Design
  • Green Infrastructure & Buildings
  • Energy Star
  • green roofs
  • chilled beams
  • integrated photovoltaics
  • permeable paving
  • bamboo
  • aerated concrete blocks
  • structural sheathing panels
  • graywater reuse


  1. World Green Building Council, "What is Green Building"


(Photo credit: Warchi, 2010)