Thursday, June 11, 2015

Green Building Basics


Sustainability: The ability to meet needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Green building: The practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource efficient throughout a building's life cycle.

Built environment: The human-made surroundings that provide the setting for human activity, ranging in scale from personal shelter and buildings to neighborhoods and cities.

Green building may refer to:
  1. sustainable construction
  2. high-performance building
In the past, we used to think of sustainability as something for the future, but now we see it impacts our daily lives. Energy costs have increased.

Impacts of Buildings and Construction

Impact from commercial construction in the US:
  1. 72% of electricity
  2. 39% of energy
  3. 38% of CO2 emissions
  4. 40% of raw materials
  5. 30% of waste output
  6. 14% of potable water

Defining Green Building

Benefits of green buildings

Benefits of green buildings:
  1. less energy
  2. save money over time
  3. better occupant health and comfort
  4. better for the environment
Green buildings reduce the negative impact on a) human health and b) the natural environment by:
  • efficient use of
    • energy
    • water
    • land
    • materials
  • occupant health
  • reducing waste and pollution
  • ways to improve performance [this is a window for innovation]

Whole Building Design

Integrative approach vs conventional approach

ex: building orientation:
  1. sunlight entering
  2. affecting heating/cooling loads
  3. impact on window glazing
(Simulation software)

"uses an integrative project team"

Insulation, HVAC
  • design
  • construction planning
  • construction
  • turnover

The Conventional Building Process

  1. Design
  2. Construction plans
  3. Building process
  4. Construction
  5. Commissioning and turnover
  6. Occupancy
"specialists usually worked in isolation"
ex: insulation: cooling system according to area, not taking insulation type into account.

Can increase initial costs and operation costs.

The Integrative Process

The integrative process: An approach that integrates people, systems, business structures and practices into a process that collaboratively harnesses the talents and insights of all participants.

Team members communicate.
Integrative process project phases (vs. conventional process mentioned above)
  1. Pre-Design
  2. Desing
  3. Construction plans
  4. Building process
  5. Construction
  6. Commission the building
  7. Occupancy and Recomissioning
  8. Building end of life reuse or demolition/recycle


Life Cycle Approach
Develop a Clear Statement of the Project's Vision
Define the Green Goals of the Building
Guidelines on making smart goals: goals should:
  1. support the project vision
  2. be clear so all team members can relate and understand
  3. cover the entire project
  4. be achievable
  5. be measurable (qualitative or quantitative)
  6. be achievable in the space and time of the project (applicable)
ex: goal: saving energy
Metrics and targets (I love metrics!)
"Targets use the metrics for measurement."
Set Priorities
"critical milestones"
(examples from real projects needed)

Select the Project Team

"... and even the building's end users"
"Assign champions/group leaders."
Champion: Someone who is motivated and able to lead the team in the direction of sustainability.

Research Green Technologies and Strategies

also including old materials and strategies
ex: rugs, manwar, mal2af hawa (our rich Egyptian heritage!)

Assign Small Task Groups

Define Green Building Budget Items

"Green building has a few added expenses compared to traditional building." (Actually, "conventional" rather than "traditional" building, in older countries like Egypt.)

Costs include: "Design and cost advice from experienced green building professionals."

Ex: "A high-efficiency HVAC system may cost 10% more upfront, but the simple payback may be 5 years and after that the building will save 20% every year on energy bills."

Research the chosen green technologies:
  1. Do we have installers with significant experience? (Hence the GIZ training of solar systems installers)
  2. Who else is doing this and what were the results? (Very important in Egypt.)

Review Applicable Laws and Standards

Zoning and Local Codes

  1. minimum parking requirements
  2. building hight
  3. floor area ratio
(The above 3 touch upon current challenges in Egypt.)


ICC: International Construction Code


IgCC stands for International Green Construction Code


accessibility guidelines
ADA: Americans with Disapbilities Act

Other Laws

"Some cities now require ... even a certain level of LEED certification."


Remaining Steps

"The project team is always reviewing and verifying that green building goals are being met at every point in the process."

Building Costs

"In the past when constructing a new building the long term costs were never taken into consideration."

LCC: Life Cycle Costs
LCA: Life Cycle Analysis

"LCA addresses environmental impacts while LCC address economic impacts."

Soft costs: include: architectural, legal, financing, engineering fees
Hard costs: fixed assets

"operation and maintenance costs"

term: "value engineering"

Integrative Process Compared to Traditional Project Delivery

Integrative Process and Project Teams

Success factors of a project team:
  1. Setting specific goals that can be measured and validated
  2. Developing strategies that would meet the goals
  3. Proper planning
  4. Creating processes that foster communication of all team members
  5. All team members being on board with the goals and being held accountable for reaching those goals
  6. Continuous monitoring of progress throughout the development process and insuring goals are being achieved

Example: Bridgeton Revitalization Project

affordable housing
"both environmental and social issues"

Ongoing Operations & Maintenance

"preventive maintenance"
"performance measuring ... and optimization"

The Triple Bottom Line

triple bottom line vs. money

  1. economic
  2. environment
  3. social responsibility
(Examples: social entrepreneurs; Sekem)

triple bottom line accounting

Systems Thinking

"Systems thinking tries to avoid designing a solution to one problem that results in a problem in another system."
"emergent properties"

closed systems (most sustainable)
open systems (less sustainable)

Leverage points: A point in a system where a small change can lead to large changes in results.

Ex: exercise sign near elevator (story)

Positive feedback
Negative feedback

Key Terms


The LEED book is using direct benefits including cost reduction to win people into buying into LEED and green buildings.

Green buildings are moving from the current aim of reducing negative impact towards regenerative design. to actually being positive. The Living Building Challenge clearly sets this as its goal while LEED might be looking to this in the future.

Problem: High negative impact of conventional buildings
  1. high energy consumption
  2. CO2 emissions
  3. landfills (waist)
  4. resource consumption (including water)
Solution: Green buildings

Zoom out, bigger picture, macro view

Sum up:
  1. Big picture
  2. Everything is connected
There is a focus on renovation (and operation) not just on building new.


"changes to design in order to meet a certain budget"
The "house as a system" model (disconnectedness)


  1. Green graveyards in Egypt! New business direction! For better comfort!
  2. Goal: Create content better than the official LEED book itself!
  3. Develop learning objectives for the LEED guide book and your version of it.
  4. High rate of success in exam for those attending your course (50%).
  5. Service: apartment finishing, ecologically.
  6. Teach LEED in story form, real stories of actual cases including obstacles and failures.
  7. Lax laws in Egypt may even present an opportunity for green building!
  8. In Egypt, mixed-use developments allow residence to be built among office spaces and basic services, thus decreasing the use of automobile.
  9. I should check and study the Egyptian building code.
  10. The natural insulating material developed by an Egyptian researcher may be used.
  11. The word "traditional" should be replaced by "conventional" when referring to building in Egypt.
  12. LEED in pictures! Create a book containing comics-like pictures in story form of LEED.
Study: 3:45 hours - 9 pages

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