7 May 01
a. Sustainable Design (Green Building) is the design, construction, operation, and
reuse/removal of the built environment (infrastructure as well as buildings) in an
environmentally and energy efficient manner. Sustainable Design is meeting the needs
of today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Sustainable Design includes not only efficient use of natural resources, but it can also
translate into better performance, desirability, and affordability.
b. Sustainable Design incorporates the energy concerns of the 1970's with new
concerns in the 1990's, including damage to the natural environment; emissions of
greenhouse gases and ozone depleting chemicals; use of limited material resources;
management of water as a limited resource; reductions in waste; indoor environmental
quality; and occupant/worker health, productivity and satisfaction. Ideally, we would
only use resources in the built environment at the speed at which they naturally
regenerate, and discard them at or below the rate at which they could be absorbed by
natural ecological systems.
c. While the ideal may not be achievable at present, those involved in designing,
constructing, operating, maintaining, and retiring the components of the built
environment, such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), can take steps now
to maximize energy efficiency and minimize environmental impact. Green Building goes
beyond simple green products and recycled materials. Green Building is an
environmental consciousness or resource awareness about using or not using our
valuable natural resources in an energy-conscious or conservative way. This is an
important concept. It is an attitude about applying sound design principles and
practices to create a built environment, which optimizes the functionality and operability
of the total system while incorporating sustainable design principals.
3. Goals and Objectives of Sustainable Design
a. The overall USACE goal of Sustainable Design is to be environmentally
responsible in the delivery of facilities. The key traditional elements for decision making
in the facility delivery process are cost, quality and time. These elements need to be
expanded to include the ecological and human health impacts of all decisions.
b. Each project generates its own set of goals. However, sustainable design goals
should apply to all projects. The goals for improving the environmental performance of
facilities include: (a) use resources efficiently and minimize raw material resource
consumption, including energy, water, land and materials, both during the construction
process and throughout the life of the facility, (b) maximize resource reuse, while
maintaining financial stewardship, (c) move away from fossil fuels towards renewable
energy sources, (d) create a healthy and productive work environment for all who use
the facility, (e) build facilities of long-term value, and (f) protect and, where appropriate,
restore the natural environment.