Buildings consume over 50% of our electricity
and are responsible for 60% of CO2 production worldwide. There is no better place to address natural resource conservation and climate change issues than during design and construction.
In the context of our built environment, truly sustainable design requires much more than just adding
insulation or solar panels onto a building
in order to reduce fossil fuel consumption.
The 10 Major Steps:
- Conscious site selection and development. This means paying attention to the existing site, landscape, infrastructure, and considering the impacts that the building and its occupants will have on what already exists.
- Proper orientation of the building with respect to the suns path, the occupants’ lifestyle, and the views
- Proper Openings (Windows & Doors) with respect to the suns path maximizes day lighting and allows or avoids thermal gains depending on the time of day and the time of year.
- Insulated building envelope and a well sealed building reduces the energy required to keep its occupants comfortable.
- Efficient and innovative design of heating, cooling, and lighting systems can further reduce the energy load.
- Bring energy usage within range of what a reasonably sized renewable system can provide.
- Proper ventilation and careful choice of finishes, like flooring, cabinetry, and wall coverings will ensure superior indoor air quality.
- Water management principles, such as plumbing design, fixture selection, greywater and rain water catchment systems, and careful choice of landscaping and hardscape, can dramatically reduce water consumption and landscape water loss due to runoff.
- Choosing materials produced and manufactured locally with low embodied energy can further reduce the carbon footprint of a building. Use of natural materials and wood from carefully managed forests further protects our natural resources.
- Careful waste management practices in the construction phase, including recycling and reuse of materials and prefabricated construction methods, can divert a large amount of waste from landfills.
There are many tradeoffs along the path to a green building. ELEM3NTS approaches each project as an intricately intertwined system designed to ultimately serve the needs and desires of its occupants, while finding a balance between these ELEM3NTS to maximize sustainability.