Sustainable buildings meet high standards in siting, orientation, design, construction, and energy efficiency—and all of these elements are measurable.

—Bahar Armaghani

are measurable. Sustainable buildings are better for the environment and their occupants than nonsustainable buildings. This can be illustrated by comparing similar buildings after construction. For example, of two buildings on the University of Florida campus of similar size and functionality, the green building is approximately 37 percent more efficient (Figure 5-1) than a building that employs standard construction principles. Premium costs incurred during construction are recovered with the savings accrued by operating a sustainable building.

Why Sustainable Buildings? Health, Economics, and Environment

From a visit to the Department of Energy and the U.S. Green Building Council websites, one can appreciate the studies that illustrate the negative impacts of buildings on the environment, including the amount of energy consumed. The university knows there are environmental, economic, and productivity benefits to erecting sustainable buildings. During the workshop, there were discussions about improving the quality of air, water, and the environment in general, observed Armaghani. She noted that people spend an average of 80–90 percent

FIGURE 5-1 In comparison to traditional building standards (Anderson building), a LEED-certified building (Rinker) was 37 percent more energy efficient. These buildings are of similar size and functionality. Because buildings have a life span of approximately 100 years, the saving can be greater than any premium costs during the building phase.

SOURCE: University of Florida, Facilities Planning and Construction (2005, unpublished).

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