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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Buildings, Real Estate and Facilities > Green Building Practices for Sustainable Facilities

Sustainable Design of Buildings for Balanced Value

Green building is just part of the building profile -- bring on operational and retrofit design strategies for lifetime value.

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Buildings are huge investments in the human habitat. Homes. Offices. Manufactuting. Maintenance. Transportation hubs. Healthcare facilities. Even backyard sheds.

Buildings add up.

Buildings use resources such as energy, water and raw materials, generate waste (occupant, construction and demolition) and emit potentially harmful atmospheric emissions. And buildings consume financial resources, and can put families and organizations in danger during economic crises.

Building owners, financers, designers and builders face a unique challenge to meet demands for new and renovated facilities that are accessible, secure, healthy, and productive while minimizing their impact on the environment.

Building management is complex and very important for every person in our society. Building management costs are embedded in our food costs, our healthcare costs, our taxes and our energy profile as a nation -- affecting national security and global relations, as well as local economies and personal budgets.

Designing major renovations and retrofits for existing buildings to include sustainability initiatives reduces operation costs and environmental impacts, and can increase building resiliency.

The solutions to this huge challenge lie in an integrated, synergistic approach that considers all phases of the facility life cycle.

Sustainable Design (and Retrofit)

This approach is called "sustainable design," and this multi-disciplinary approach supports an increased commitment to environmental stewardship and conservation, and results in an optimal balance while meeting the mission and function of the intended facility or infrastructure. Elements balanced by sustainable design include:
  • cost
  • environmental
  • societal
  • human benefits

Green Jobs in Buildings

Most green jobs are housed in... buildings. Buildings themselves are the seat of green jobs in green cleaning and maintenance, green building architecture, green and sustainable interior design, and green or sustainable landscaping. And water conservation. And renewable energy generation. And wildlife habitat conservation. And soil health with composting and permaculture.

Buildings are a hub of activity that everyone needs to understand and take a role in managing for appropriate size, design and operations.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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