Although new technologies are constantly being developed to complement current practices in creating greener structures, the common objective is that green buildings are designed to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by:

  • Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources
  • Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity
  • Reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation

Sustainability may be defined as meeting the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. There are a number of motives for building green, including environmental, economic, and social benefits. However, modern sustainability initiatives call for an integrated and synergistic design to both new construction and in the retrofitting of existing structures.

Green building brings together a vast array of practices, techniques, and skills to reduce and ultimately eliminate the impacts of buildings on the environment and human health. It often emphasizes taking advantage of renewable resources, e.g., using sunlight through passive solar, active solar, and photovoltaic techniques and using plants and trees through green roofs, rain gardens, and reduction of rainwater run-off. Many other techniques are used, such as using wood as a building material, or using packed gravel or permeable concrete instead of conventional concrete or asphalt to enhance replenishment of ground water.

As a result of the increased interest in green building concepts and practices, a number of organizations have developed standards, codes and rating systems that let government regulators, building professionals and consumers embrace green building with confidence.