Green Building & Energy Efficiency

The key question is not whether green building practices are necessary within the construction sector, but whenthey will become so prevalent that the market will take it for granted that every business engages in green building as standard practice. The problem is the majority of choices currently offered in the realty and renovation marketplaces are not also a selection of the best ones, and the marketing practice of greenwashing blurs the line between wise investment choices and lower-grade products packaged to take advantage of consumer goodwill.

Green building follows a building systems approach. This theory acknowledges that a building operates as a complex web of systems, including the building envelope, heating equipment, cooling equipment, photovoltaic cells, insulation, air and vapor barriers, and roofing, among others. The building systems approach focuses on the successful integration of these systems to work together for the highest possible performance in a building.

Inadequately integrated systems, such as high end photovoltaic cells coupled with low efficiency windows, will not be successful at saving energy because the energy gained through the solar cells is lost through the windows. Another example of a non-integrated building is a high efficiency, airtight building envelope, and a ventilation system not specified to properly remove moisture from the building. Building green is more than specifying green products or using more insulation. It involves a carefully planned incorporation of all building systems.

References:

  • 1a – BD+C White Paper 2006: Green Buildings and the Bottom Line; www.bdcnetwork.com/article/ca6390371.html, 2006.
  • 1b – Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI); World Energy: The Past and Possible Futures, Calgary; www.ceri.ca, 2004.
  • 1c – GLOBE-Net; The True Cost of Green Building; www.globe-net.ca, August 22, 2007.
  • 1d –  Kennedy, Joseph F., Michael G. Smith, Catherine Wanek, editors. The Art of Natural Building; New Society Publishers, 2002.
  • 1e – Kats, Greg H.; Green Building Costs and Financial Benefits, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, www.cap-e.com/ewebeditpro/items/O59F3481.pdf; 2003.
  • 1f – World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD); Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Business Realities and Opportunities; www.wbcsd.org, October 2007.