Green Buildings


Drew Monthie, Center for Distance Learning, SUNY Empire State College writes:

“According to the U.S. EPA (2012) buildings in the United States account for:

39 percent of total energy use
12 percent of the total water consumption
68 percent of total electricity consumption
38 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions”

“Green building techniques and practices have made inroads in becoming mainstream in construction in the United States due to concerns about energy use and its relationship to  the environment and the need to address Global Climate Change (GCC).”

“Green buildings must meet a variety of criteria. They must be energy efficient, building materials must be derived from sustainable sources, and on the inside they must provide healthy air quality for occupants and adequate natural lighting. They must also reduce waste, pollution and contamination of the environments they are located in. Materials used to achieve this efficiency are the result of new and emerging technologies such as solar and wind power, super insulated windows and walls, low water use plumbing and fixtures and motion sensors to regulate lighting, heating and cooling.”

“Most early green buildings only addressed energy efficiency (and LEEDS standards Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Newer trends in green building include enhancement of the surrounding (exterior) environment with features such as rooftop gardens to produce food and environmentally friendly landscaping at street level utilizing native plants.  All of these features contribute to quality of life or work for residents and workers.”

“Green Building standards and construction methods are spurring innovation in the building trades, architecture, gardening and landscape design and energy efficiency and their counterparts in the academic disciplines.”

Below is a list of resources on this topic. Find a more complete list of resources with links for learning and teaching about this topic on our Pinterest site:
Follow Sustainability’s board Green Buildings on Pinterest.


Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, William McDonough

Sustainable Design for Interior Environments Second Edition, Susan M. Winchip

Web resources a website for green design Amazing sustainable buildings Components of Green Buildings from the US Environmental Protection Agency

A Video by William McDonough on Ted about Cradle to cradle design an article on Ten Emerging Stormwater Management Best Practices from Forester Network