What is a “Green” Building?
Green buildings are an important part of addressing the environmental challenges facing the planet today. Humans use the equivalent of 1.5 Earths to meet the resources of everyday life, which means, it takes Earth 18 months to regenerate what is used in only 12 months. If current trends continue, estimates suggest that by the year 2030 we will need the equivalent of 2 planets to meet the needs of everyday life.
Buildings in the United States produce 38% of all emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that depletes the ozone. Buildings account for approximately 40% of the total energy used today. The current mix of energy resources is heavy in oil, coal and natural gas, nonrenewable resources that contribute to greenhouse gases. Additionally, nonrenewable energy sources involve destructive extraction methods, uncertain supplies, escalating market prices and national security vulnerability.
What Makes a Green Building?
Green building looks to reduce the strain on Earth’s resources through 7 strategies:
- Reverse contribution to global climate change
- Enhance individual health and well-being
- Protect and restore water resources
- Protect, enhance and restore biodiversity and ecosystems
- Promote sustainable and regenerative material resource cycles
- Build a green, eco-friendly economy
- Enhance social equity, environmental justice, community health and quality of life
Ideally, green buildings should address the following strategies during construction and renovation, and for ongoing operations and maintenance:
- Location and Transportation
- Site Location
- Water Efficiency
- Energy and Atmosphere
- Green Construction Materials and Resources
- Indoor Environmental Quality
Benefits of Sustainable Green Construction
The benefits of green buildings focus on four categories: sustainability, health and wellness, equity, and resilience. The U.S. Green Building Council (“USGBC”) says that green buildings are profitable, cost-effective and good for the economy; prioritize human health and well-being, and an environmental solution to reduce carbon, water, energy, and waste.
Every human on Earth should have a safe and healthy place to call home. Small, gradual changes are the way to encourage people to take action, and demand, a better quality of life. Green buildings and green communities allow people to live more sustainably in ways that are tangible: their health, the air they breathe, the water they drink; and in turn, reducing a family’s electric and water bills and improving health by using green building materials instead of ones that cause asthma or sickness from invisible toxins released into the air.
Build Green with Wangard
Make Wangard Partners your green builder. We’re leading the way in green building by promoting sustainability at every stage. Contact us today by calling 414-777-1200 or send us a message online to learn more about our green building efforts and find out how together we can build a greener tomorrow.
Wangard Partners, Inc.
1200 N Mayfair Road, Suite 410
Milwaukee, WI 53226