Green Building: Effects on the Environment | RiverWired
Design & Lifestyle
LEED Platinum.jpg
Green Architecture Feb 14, 2008
Green Building: Effects on the Environment Sustainability in Architecture

So what exactly is “green building?”  And what effect will it have on the environment? When it comes to the future of design and architecture, phrases like “LEED-certified” and “eco-friendly housing” get thrown around pretty liberally. 

But what characteristics qualify a structure as being LEED-certified?  And, perhaps more importantly, what do these shifts in the way we design our buildings mean for the preservation of our planet in the generations to come?


Green building is essentially any type of architecture that incorporates the idea of sustainability into its concept, design and execution.  Architects who have adapted a green aesthetic into their work try to incorporate sustainable systems into the entire vision of their projects, so that new construction is sustainable from the ground up. 

There has been an architectural trend in recent years in which sustainability and contemporary architecture seem to be merging. That is, green building is starting to become the norm.  In the years ahead, the two may become indistinguishable. Sustainability will be inextricably linked to modernity in the architectural world. 


LEED (Leadershipin Energy and Environmental Design) certification is the most widely accepted set of criteria to determine whether a building is sustainable.  To get such certification, five areas are considered:

sustainable site development water savings energy efficiency materials selection and indoor environmental quality

A building can receive different levels of LEED certification, based on how well it meets each requirement.  The highest LEED rating is platinum. 


As sustainable building begins to dominate new construction in the years ahead (or so we hope), we will begin to see a decrease in our carbon emissions, both as a nation and as a planet.  That said, we cannot simply build green and expect it to completely alleviate the problem of climate change. Sustainable design is just one part of a whole in which we need to shift the way we think about living on this planet if we want to truly make a difference. 

Green building is great. We also need to live green lives in our green buildings.



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