|An e-Newsletter for the Clients and Friends of C.T. Hsu + Associates, P.A.|
Going for the "GREEN"
Sustainable design – or “green” design – is an approach to architecture that seeks to improve a building’s energy efficiency while reducing its negative impact on human health and the environment, through better siting, design, construction, operation and maintenance.
Buildings and their embedded energy produce nearly half of all the dangerous greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, and U.S. buildings account for nearly as much carbon emissions as the economies of Japan, France and the United Kingdom combined, according to the American Institute of Architects.
Last month, AIA President RK Stewart, FAIA, testified before a Senate energy subcommittee on the issue of energy efficiency in buildings. He explained the pivotal role that buildings play in contributing to climate change and recommended that Congress pass legislation committing the federal government to meeting aggressive energy efficiency requirements for federal buildings.
Currently, the fastest-growing market for green building is the education sector, according to McGraw-Hill Construction's latest research; significant given that education is forecast to be the nation’s largest construction sector in 2007, estimated at $53 billion. Green designs for schools are important because of the specific sensitivities children have to indoor air pollutants and environments, as well as the amount of time students at both the K-12 and university levels spend in these buildings.
At the state level, the AIA Florida Association recently adopted a new commission to educate members and the public about green design. It is based on the association’s national Commission on the Environment (COTE), founded in 1990 to advance environmental and energy-related issues and promote the role of the architect as a leader in preserving and protecting the planet and its living systems.
Another organization dedicated to sustainable design is the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a national coalition of industry leaders working to transform the way buildings are designed, built and operated in order to create environmentally and socially responsible, healthy and prosperous communities. Its efforts include the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program that promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
The Council’s LEED Green Building Rating System is a nationally accepted benchmark for certifying high performance green buildings. It also offers LEED Accreditation to building and design professionals who have demonstrated a thorough understanding of green building practices and principles and familiarity with LEED requirements, resources, and processes.
Examples of sustainable design efforts locally, nationwide and around the world include the following:
For more information visit:
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C.T. Hsu + Associates, P.A.