GREEN DESIGN: CONSIDERATIONS FOR SUSTAINABILITY
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Sustainable and Green Design are special focuses in the field of architecture. To achieve them, all aspects of the design are consciously chosen to make the end product as sustainable and ecologically friendly as possible. The American Institute of Architects declared that their goal is to have all new buildings be “Net-Zero” by 2030. This means that the amount of energy used to operate each new building will be offset by the amount of renewal energy created on the site or nearby. There are many on-line resources available to help guide you on a project you may be considering, in addition to the help and expertise we are able to provide you. Below are some basics to consider when deciding what will be best for you, your budget, and the environment.
Over the last 20 years, the California Building Standards Commission has developed stronger requirements for building efficiency and sustainability. These requirements provide a baseline efficiency for buildings but do not achieve net zero. Some of the standard requirements include a minimum level of insulation, solar panels, dual glazed windows and sealing of all joints and penetrations. A new version of the California Building Code (CBC) is enacted into law every three years and continues to become more and more stringent.
The Kastrop Group is experienced in passive building design methods that take advantage of natural renewable resources like sunlight and cooling breezes, super wall and roof insulation and other methods that do not require any mechanical processes. Ask us about cost-effective options that would be a good fit for your project.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has a certification rating system called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED. LEED comes in 4 rankings—certified, silver, gold and platinum. All LEED certifications must be independently verified by an accredited LEED professional, and the verification process to obtain the certification adds cost because it must be done in tandem with the design and construction. Because the state of California has such stringent baseline environmental building codes, many new buildings and major remodels might qualify as “LEED-certified” or “LEED-silver” without too much additional effort, but in order to obtain the LEED designation the verification must be part of the project from the outset. (You can’t obtain it retroactively.) LEED-gold and platinum ratings require deliberate consideration of design features, building systems, and materials selections that are higher quality than standard building methods to meet the rating guidelines. There is a good overview of the LEED system on Wikipedia or you can visit USGBC website for additional information. There are many other green building certification programs out there as well.
Whether you want to go “net-zero” and design your building to the latest standards in sustainable architecture, or just make an effort to choose environmentally-friendly methods where possible and within your budget, there are many resources to provide guidance and information. Don’t hesitate to ask us what your options for green design might be. At The Kastrop Group, we are committed to promoting green and sustainable architecture whenever possible.