What is Green Building Design?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 March 2020
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Green building design is a term used to identify the various aspects of creating structures using environmentally friendly materials and methods. The green design concept also encompasses the idea of ensuring the buildings are energy efficient and continue to interact more favorably with the ecosystem than other building options. In general, there are three important areas that must be addressed in order for the architecture to be considered a true green building design.

The selection of materials is one of the key aspects of green building design. Selecting materials that are considered sustainable is very important when it comes to building green. Using recycled materials to construct interior and exterior walls helps to divert those materials from ending up in landfills. In like manner, the reuse of materials obtained from demolished structures can often meet this requirement. Even the use of renewable resources such as bales of straw for the walls of the home would count as an eco-friendly approach to construction of a new building.

When possible, local materials should be used in the construction of the green building. This not only helps to ensure the materials are friendly to the local environment but also minimizes the use of fossil fuels to transport materials to the building site.


Along with the selection of materials, making the building energy efficient is also important to the task of green building design. Often this means finding ways to maximize the use of natural lighting, the installation of power sources such as solar panels or wind energy generation devices, and the purchase of energy efficient appliances to minimize the use of energy from any source. The efficient use of water for showers, toilets and even for washing clothes and doing dishes is usually addressed. Even details such as the selection of colors for the home may come into play as a means of enhancing the green aspects of the energy saving measures.

Landscaping on the building site is also part of the overall process of green building design. Just as the building itself makes efficient use of recycled or reclaimed materials, the landscaping does the same. Any paving is accomplished using recycled products. The selection of plans for the space focuses on plants that require little water and can thrive without the need for the use of chemical based pesticides. Decorative beds are designed and constructed so they can be maintained using compost and mulch generated on the property. Even any outdoor furnishings should be constructed using natural or reclaimed materials, thus eliminating the need to fashion benches or other seating from previously unused resources.

Ideally, a true sustainable building design will situate the structure so that it works with the surrounding terrain and causes minimal impact on the area. Homes may be constructed in a manner that allows one side of the structure to be enclosed by a hillside, thus maximizing the insulation of the home while also allowing the structure to blend in with the countryside.

The creation of a true green building design can take time and precision to accomplish. In many countries, standards have been put in place to determine if a building project can truly be referred to as green. In the United States, LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, can provide information on how to construct a home or other building so it can rightfully be known as a green building design.



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Post 2

Prefabricated homes are making a comeback in the green homes industry. What once used to be thought of as cheap, entry level homes are now being designed with modern materials, incorporated energy systems, modular designs, and contemporary styling. Green prefab homes can also range in price from just over $100,000 to over $3 million. The premise behind prefabricated homes is one of their most important green features. Construction waste is eliminated, and a multitude of recycled and reclaimed materials can be re-processed into stronger, lighter, more eco-friendly materials. Passive systems can also be incorporated into the design, and homes can be easily expanded. Many green prefab homes emphasize the lightness, and openness of the structure. They often

use lots of glass and concrete (easily recycled material). They can also come with grey water systems or solar panels already configured into the design. However, for those who prefer a more traditional home, there are green prefabs that display a more classical or traditional facade.
Post 1

The use of bioclimatic and passive energy systems is important in creating green and sustainable homes. The use of water, plants and open spaces in a home’s design are important in making it green. The use of wind, sunlight, and plants to control indoor air quality and climate are also part of a green home. Indoor waterfalls, reflection pools, air columns, and the use of trees in the design of a home all save energy, and incorporate nature into the design of a home. Many of these systems are the result of creating contemporary applications out of the passive energy systems that tribal and ancient cultures used in the designs of their dwellings. These systems can add elegance and simplicity to a home while performing important functions.

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