Lean and Green
By Jud Walker, Stellar
Is that building truly “green”? Use this checklist to find out.
“Green” is an often-used term today for sustainable and environmentally friendly buildings, and green buildings are sprouting up everywhere. According the U.S. Green Building Council, in 2002, buildings totaling approximately 80 million sq. ft. were built to green standards. In 2006, that increased to more than 600 million sq. ft. The dollar value of green building construction also has increased, from $3.8 billion in 2002 to $10 billion in 2006.
But what are these green standards? And how can you tell if a building truly qualifies as green? In general, most green buildings today feature several of the following characteristics:
Materials used to construct the building are manufactured and obtained within a radius of 500 miles and primarily consist of recycled material such as steel.
During construction, the majority of waste is recycled.
Exterior lighting is minimized, reducing light pollution.
The building’s roof is white (reflecting more heat than it absorbs).
Premium efficiency electric motors are specified.
Once the building is substantially complete, all equipment is commissioned to ensure performance is in accordance with specifications.
Materials emitting only low amounts of volatile organic compounds are specified (e.g. floor coverings, paint, adhesives, etc.).
A maximum number of windows provide daylight and external views for employees.
Low-flow plumbing fixtures such as toilets and sinks are used.
The building’s landscaping features plants that require very little water.
Editor’s Note: Jud Walker is a LEED-accredited professional and engineer with Stellar, an international design, engineering, construction and mechanical services firm. Stellar recently was ranked the No. 1 green contractor in the manufacturing and industrial segment by the construction magazine Engineering News-Record. For more information, visit www.stellar.net, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-488-2900.