What is a Green Office Building?

Find out how green office buildings save energy with building automation controls and several other key environmentally responsible features

Building green isn’t just about aesthetics, it is something that can help us build better communities.

If you’ve entered a newly built office building or museum recently, there is a good chance you’ve noticed a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification near the entrance. LEED certifications represent the efforts of the architects, builders, and occupants to make the building as environmentally sustainable as possible. In order to receive a LEED certification, they have to minimize energy and water usage in order to prevent wasteful consumption. 

There are several ways to accomplish these goals for large scale construction projects including responsible sourcing materials, indoor air quality, and water & lighting control systems. If you’re curious about what makes a “Green” building worthy of LEED certification, keep reading!

Why Are Green Building Important for the Future of Responsible Urban Design

Learn about the benefits of building automation controls and green design for cities across the globe

Building green isnt just about aesthetics, it is something that can help us build better communities.

Green buildings have become the most popular options for large buildings for a few reasons. First, sustainability is essential to keep our planet running and is it important to conserve resources wherever possible. It is also fiscally responsible to build green buildings, as they have lower energy costs, maintenance costs, and provide better indoor environments for employers and employees. 

Another reason that green offices are so important is due to current human migration trends. Today, more people are living in cities than ever before. Long gone are the days of ever expanding suburbs. In fact, by 2050 it is estimated that 68% of the world’s population will live in cities. As more people flock to cities for better job prospects, public transportation, and other amenities, green urban design becomes a critical element of future infrastructure.

What Makes a Building Green?

In order to find out if a building is green or not, you need to consult the LEED certification, which measures building automation controls among  several other factors

Incorporating the local environment into the design and construction process is essential.

We’ve discussed what makes green building design so important, but what are the individual factors that make a green building? According to LEED, there are 8 key factors that each need to be considered before any certification is awarded. 

In order to be initially considered, the building must assist in maintaining or improving quality of life in the local area and achieve a high level of efficiency. If these requirements are met, then LEED will look at the following 8 key metrics to determine whether the building is truly sustainable. Let’s take a look at what goes into designing and constructing a green building. 

  1. Transportation

A robust public transportation system is the key to any sustainable city. In order to be LEED certified, the building must have access to a transportation network. Not only is it more sustainable to ride public transportation than it is to travel in a personal vehicle, the building will also require fewer parking spaces. Fewer parking spaces means less wasted area dedicated to fossil fuel consumption.

  1. Location

Choosing a location that fits with your local community is one of the most important parts of green construction. If the building is disruptive to the local environment, it will not be considered for LEED certification.

  1. Water

Using building automation controls, energy efficient buildings can drastically reduce average water consumption. It is also essential to closely monitor water consumption during the construction process.

  1. Energy

In addition to conserving water, building automation controls are also essential for saving  energy for lighting, HVAC and other necessary building operations.

  1. Materials

To ensure a sustainable construction, all materials used must be ethically and responsibly sourced.

  1. Indoor Environment

Though it is most important that the building makes a minimal impact on the environment, the indoor environment is also considered for LEED certification. These metrics include indoor air quality, indoor noise pollution, lighting quality and any other design element with a positive impact on the inhabitants of the building. This is another opportunity to mention how building automation controls contribute to a high quality LEED certification — when these systems operate efficiently and automatically it leads to a higher quality of life inside the building.

  1. Innovation

One of the more subjective elements of LEED certification is design innovation. Every year, architects and project managers make developments in sustainable design and LEED believes it is important to keep pace with these innovations.

  1. Local Impact

A building is not truly sustainable unless it directly benefits the local community. Local impact is a major factor in LEED certification. Too often buildings are constructed with little to no concern for the surrounding community. In an effort to encourage more responsible city planning and construction practices, LEED takes community impact seriously when issuing certifications.
Stil curious about LEED certification and what it takes to build sustainable communities? You can learn more from their website or take a look at some of the world’s most sustainable buildings. When we take our environment, surrounding areas, and energy consumption seriously, we build better and more responsible communities.

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