Green building design

As more cities adopt sustainability goals, green building is shaping the skyline.

Example of green building design (The Porter School of Environmental Studies - West Façade)

The Porter School of Environmental Studies - West Façade.

What is green building design?

Green building design considers the health of the natural environment and its inhabitants throughout the lifecycle of a building. It seeks opportunities to create positive impacts, while minimizing the negative.

Image courtesy of Geotectura / Axelrod-Grobman Architects / NCA / Assa Aharoni Consulting Engineers. Photographer: Joseph Cory

Top Three principles of green building design

A whole-system approach benefits occupants, communities, and the natural environment.

  • High performance building design

    Energy Efficiency

    Architects and engineers can drive high performance building design through techniques like solar analysis, HVAC right-sizing, and passive energy-conservation measures.

    Image courtesy of Dekker/Perich/Sabatini

  • Two people viewing a rendering on a computer monitor

    Materials Productivity

    Choose healthy materials that are good for the people and planet, and design efficient structures that are made with minimal material waste.

  • Ariel view of various raw materials at a construction site

    Reduction in embodied carbon

    Building materials have a hidden climate impact resulting from resource extraction, manufacturing, and logistics. This should be minimized.

Benefits of green building design

Graphical icon to represent building with lower operating costs

Lower operating costs

Green buildings have lower operating costs because they use resources such as materials and energy more efficiently.

Graphical icon to represent a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from buildings

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Buildings produce about one third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Green building design can drastically reduce this.

Graphical icon to represent an increase in property value

Increase property value

Owners are seeing a seven percent increase in asset value for new green buildings compared with traditional structures.

Graphical icon to represent an improvement in occupant hea

Improve occupant health and comfort

Green building design includes strategies to optimize temperature, humidity, and light, while minimizing pollutants, irritants, and noise.

Green building in action

A whole-system approach benefits occupants, communities, and the natural environment.

  • Exterior of example green building desig

    BIM helps Schneider Electric

    Schneider Electric uses BIM to create a new standard in efficient building operation and energy performance.

    Image courtesy of Dekker/Perich/Sabatini

  • Green-building model

    Green-building technology on the rise

    Three emerging trends in green-building technology are advancing the sustainability revolution in architecture.

    Model courtesy of DesignGroup and the National Audubon Society

  • Green bamboo reeds

    Bamboo transcends the tropics for carbon-negative construction

    Long ignored beyond the developing world, bamboo (a grass, not a tree) has the compressive strength of concrete and the tensile strength of steel.

Green building software to help you get started

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Additional resources