Promoting Green Construction and Environmental Sustainability
Sustainable Building Organizations
Architects recognize that their work contributes to climate breakdown, which is why countless organizations have emerged to encourage green construction. Some of these groups include:
These organizations offer networking events, educational programs and technical assistance for sustainability consultants, designers, builders, contractors, facility managers, architects, occupants, product manufacturers and communities.
Global Green USA
Global Green USA is the US affiliate of Green Cross International, which fosters a global value shift toward sustainable and secure future. Its education, tools, standards, and assessments support sustainability consultants, designers, builders, government agencies, facility managers, occupants, students, and higher education institutions.
Buildings have extensive direct and indirect impacts on the environment. They consume energy, water, raw materials, and generate waste and atmospheric emissions. These impacts can be mitigated through green design.
Sustainable buildings use less energy, produce less carbon, and reduce waste. They also save money and provide healthier workplaces. This is why many corporations and public institutions are incorporating green practices into their facilities. Some are even going further, promoting net zero energy and living, regenerative, or restorative buildings that improve the natural environment.
Sustainable Building Information Center
The Sustainable Building Information Center is a non-profit organisation that promotes green construction and environmental sustainability. It provides a range of online and print resources that help building professionals take an integrated design approach to reduce negative impacts on the environment and maximise economic performance.
GSA’s sustainability initiatives and strategies span across all phases of the building lifecycle. In 2018, GSA published Sustainability Matters, a publication that highlights case studies and best practices for building sustainably. The agency also has a website dedicated to its Sustainable Facilities Tool, a resource that helps agencies identify cost-effective, sustainable strategies for new and existing buildings.
The Green Building Initiative (GBI) is the global provider of the Green Globes and federal Guiding Principles Compliance certification and assessment programs. Its tools, standards, and assessments support sustainable design consultants, builders, contractors, developers, government agencies, facility managers, product manufacturers, occupants, higher education, and communities.
NYC Greener Greater Buildings Plan
The City of New York is slashing energy consumption in its buildings in a bid to meet its bold climate change goals. To achieve these goals, it must create the first citywide energy code, require benchmarking of water and electricity usage, and promote submetering, retro-commissioning, and lighting upgrades.
The Greener Greater Buildings Plan has already made a significant difference in NYC’s greenhouse gas footprint. Since 2009, its suite of efficiency laws has cut large buildings’ emissions by 6 percent.
But this year, NYC took a huge leap forward by expanding the scope of these efficiency laws to include all residential multifamily buildings. This expansion will help the city meet its climate change goals, and also reduce utility costs. The plan also includes new resources for owners, including the NY City Retrofit Accelerator.
Living Future Institute
ILFI’s mission is to lead the transformation toward a civilization that is socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative. It oversees the Living Building Challenge and its auxiliary programs including the Living Product Challenge and the Living Community Challenge.
Unlike other green building organizations, ILFI takes an inclusive approach to sustainability. Their rating systems and tools are oriented towards not only reducing human impact on the environment, but also to give back through positive externalities.
Those who are already LEED APs or hold another Green Star credential can qualify for Living Future Accreditation (LFA) by completing the Foundational Curriculum. Those interested can also stay updated on certification trends and opportunities by becoming an ILFI member. This includes access to recurring CEU webinars and a worldwide network of forward-thinking individuals.
o2 International promotes sustainability in the built environment by connecting builders, designers, architects and manufacturers with each other and with green products and services. The organization aims to encourage excellence in sustainable building, rather than gimmicks and green accounting tricks. Its website provides a number of useful resources, including directories of green product professionals and green products.
Greener Arena certification highlights The O2’s existing actions to reduce emissions and environmental impact as well as its commitment to a more holistic approach to sustainability that includes people, wellbeing and inclusion in addition to the environment. The accolade also acknowledges The O2’s owners and operators AEG’s sustainability leadership.