Sustainable Building Practices Essay


The history of the edifice industry has endured infinite alterations over the last century. From early on the stuffs and methods used provided a foundation for making edifices that emphasized safety. Through tests, new sweetenings to merchandises and installing created stronger more efficient constructions. Today, new plans exist to go on the challenge of edifice sustainable developments while protecting the environment and human wellness. The “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” ( LEED ) plan provides a model to promote edifice with the environment as a precedence. Looking at illustrations of current certified LEED undertakings and a Wal-Mart instance survey will supply support for implementing these types of betterments.

Sustainable Building Practices

“Where we’ve been and where we are going”

For over a century, America has been taking the universe in building engineering. Advanced attacks to residential and commercial building were applied as demand increased for larger edifices. In the 21st century, a new motion toward sustainable building has lead to the debut of energy-saving constituents and environmentally friendly designs. This paper will discourse the history of building in America every bit good as the “green movement” that is go oning to hold a major impact on how developers and builders construct residential and commercial edifices.

History of the Building Industry

The last century has provided an array of chances for alterations and growing for the edifice industry. The mid 1850’s used labour intensive methods for constructing utilizing chiefly wood and masonry type merchandises. With frights of devastation by fire, other types of stuffs were experimented with to set up fire proofing protection. Masonry merchandises were found to be heavy and expensive. In bend, this allowed the Fe and steel industry to travel into the head of the commercial building industry. Get downing in the early 1900’s, wrought-iron was introduced as stuff for floor beams. The ability to build a stronger edifice more expeditiously was attractive to residential and commercial builders. The usage of cast-iron frontages provided a low cost option in building exterior burden bearing walls. The labour for this method was less expensive and the merchandise was manufactured in a preassembled signifier. However, it wasn’t discovered until subsequently that this method caused the building’s structural unity to be at hazard. In add-on, cast-iron when used in combination with other stuffs to make full in infinites, created walls that were excessively heavy during a fire. The consequence was the prostration of several constructions from unequal sidelong strength. In the mid to late 1950’s steel became the prevailing pick in commercial edifice. The coop system and the usage of studs made this method of edifice stronger and more efficient. The steel used in concurrence with concrete and shaped Fe opened the door to the contemporary skyscraper. The stud method has been modified to integrate welding and bolts. In bend, this method has improved the strength of our contemporary skyscrapers. Over the last century, steel has become the overriding merchandise used in commercial edifices.

The edifice procedure since the 60’s and 70’s has seen even more betterments and alterations. The creative activity of federal inadvertence plans, merchandise inventions, installing methods, and ordinances are standardising the development phases. The resource for applied scientists, designers, and builders provide priceless information that aid streamline the building stages. A new undertaking can pass months or old ages in the planning phases. The procedure of happening an equal site, researching the best usage, fixing a site program, making a feasibleness survey, technology, design, and funding are all conducted prior to any existent site building. These pre-planning stairss help cut down unanticipated jobs, set up conformity with metropolis, province, and county ordinances and cut down environmental harm. The building phase begins with site readying including dewatering, eroding control and digging. The surveyors set up the site and edifice boundaries. There are legion extra stairss from land interrupting to completion that are included in the building stage. The chief end is to finish the undertaking ( as outlined in the design ) with safety and length of service in head. With new sustainability, builders are concentrating more on the environment, every bit good as the preservation of our natural resources.

LEED Movement

Construction methods and merchandises are being developed to include a turning motion toward the protection of the environment. More specifically, the usage of recycled stuffs and the efficient usage of H2O and energy are top precedences in this motion. In 2000, a plan was established to assist accomplish this end. The “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” ( LEED ) was created utilizing a system of evaluations to promote builders to build with the environment as a precedence.

The LEED evaluation system has four degrees utilizing a point system. The five classs include:

Sustainable Site Development

Water Conservation

Energy and Atmosphere

Materials and Resource Conservation

Indoor Environmental Quality

The plan is nationally recognized supplying a standardised method of hiting a building’s impact on the environment. These points include the execution of how a builder uses recycled stuffs, innovated methods for water/energy preservation, and merchandises that help cut down pollution when building a residential or commercial edifice. The plan provides inducements and grants for companies that participate or reach enfranchisement degrees.

The United State Green Building Council’s website provides statistical informations on the current use of energy and waste by edifices in the state ( USGBC, 2009 ) . This is a dislocation of the six classs:

• 72 % of electricity ingestion,
• 39 % of energy usage,
• 38 % of all C dioxide ( CO2 ) emanations,
• 40 % of natural stuffs use,
• 30 % of waste end product ( 136 million dozenss yearly ) , and
• 14 % of drinkable H2O ingestion.

These Numberss indicate that there are countries where waste of natural resources can be reduced. By utilizing new invention in H2O filtration systems, storm H2O direction, solar power, recycled stuffs and other sustainable methods, a decrease in waste can be achieved.

One undertaking harvesting the wagess of LEED Gold Certification is Toyota’s Metro South Campus Headquarters in Torrance, California. The site encompasses 40 estates and includes 624,000 square pess. The stockholders needed to accomplish a 10 % return on investing as a benchmark to set about the plan. Two different inducements were granted to cut down the costs of the roof top solar panels installing by 50 % and a 30 % nest eggs for utilizing solar het H2O in extremum season. The terminal consequences provided “energy nest eggs entire $ 400,000 yearly, and the extended solar rooftop system is expected to pay back within 7 old ages. The campus besides saves $ 12,000 per twelvemonth via decreased H2O use, and deviating more than 95 % of building waste from landfills saved $ 35,000” ( Toyota, 2006 ) . The benefits gained by Toyota are transcending the outlooks both financially and environmentally.

The Office Depot shop located in Austin, Texas is the first shop in their company to accomplish the LEED Gold Certification. This company took the measure frontward in 2007 to make a shop location that would concentrate on protecting the environment. The shop was constructed with “high-efficiency warming, airing and air conditioning ( HVAC ) units, water-efficient fixtures in the public toilets, locally sourced and recycled stuffs throughout the infinite ; and fanlights that adjust with the Sun and supply natural twenty-four hours lighting” ( Office Depot, 2007 ) . These betterments lead to a 37 % decrease is energy, a 40 % H2O decrease and 80 % of the building waste diverted from landfills ( Office Depot ) . The sample shop is merely the beginning of environmentally friendly alterations this retail company is be aftering for the hereafter.

Future of LEED

However, there are statements as to the hereafter of LEED. Harmonizing to Malcolm Lewis of CTG energies ( 2003 ) , he mentions: “Different participants and market sections perceive LEED otherwise, and as a consequence, have different outlooks for its development and evolution” ( Lewis, 2003 ) . More so, because the cost to travel ‘green’ is important by comparing, it’s difficult to gauge the figure of companies who can afford to do the transmutation to utilize ‘green’ edifice as their building method. But, companies like Chevron are already on board with the invention of ‘green’ engineering.

As the world’s largest manufacturer of geothermic energy, Chevron’s end is to develop and deploy renewable and alternate energy. Because there is such a demand for alternate and renewable energy, Chevron, like the LEED plan, has dedicated its life to understanding more about how to utilize and implement the usage of natural resources. Chevron provinces, “To meet the turning energy demands of the planetary economic system, all beginnings of energy — including conventional and non-conventional dodo fuels, renewable energy, and increased efficiency and preservation — will be needed” ( Chevron, 2009 ) . Therefore, the hereafter of LEED may be determined by available resources and, the companies who consider utilizing ‘green’ merchandises.

Regardless the guesss, there are those who have already implemented the ‘green’ edifice method set in topographic point by LEED. Agent Owned real property, a South Carolina existent estate company, has started the ‘green’ edifice method by going the first ‘green’ existent estate company in the province. Both the Broker and stockholders hold ‘green’ enfranchisements. Harmonizing to Gary Bissett ( 2008 ) , utilizing merchandises that are reclaimable and renewable do it more cost effectual and environmentally sound. He says,
Besides a desire to help purchasers and builders with “ green ” edifice patterns, we built the existent office with sustainability in head. All of the edifice merchandises used are either reclaimable or necessitate small environmental resources to keep. Materials such as concrete countertops, double flower lavatories, LED lighting, 30 % station consumer recycled Sheetrock, bamboo flooring, and office furniture made from recycled stuffs help do the office “ Earth friendly ” on many degrees ( Bissett, 2008 ) .

To indicate, utilizing reclaimable merchandises like that of Agent Owned and concentrating on the development of new ‘green’ engineerings like Chevron imply the importance of traveling ‘green.’ Unfortunately, unless we all articulation forces for a common ‘green’ end, the ‘green’ construct and the LEED plan may non last.

Proposed Wal-Mart Solar Panel Decision

The Real Estate division of Wal-Mart is carry oning research into the cost vs. benefits of adding solar panels to their proposed new smaller construct shops. Wal-Mart is be aftering to capitalise on the “green movement” with advanced solar panels that will hopefully cut down the overall operating disbursals of the proposed construct shops. Additionally, this move by Wal-Mart will supply grounds to the general populace that the company is committed to its enterprise with respect to cut downing its overall environmental impact. This paper will supply an lineation of the proposed cost of the solar panels every bit good as the projected Internal Rate of Return and Net Present Value of the undertaking.

Capable belongings

The proposed construction will dwell of 77,000 square pess and will be located in the Southwestern United States.


A 30 % equity investing will be made by the proprietor. The staying balance of 70 % will be leveraged through a fixed-rate mortgage of 6.50 % over a 20 twelvemonth period. The cost of the solar panels is $ 1,594,478. However, a 35 % up-front revenue enhancement recognition will absorb $ 558,068 of the initial cost. In bend, seting the cost of the solar panels at $ 1,036,410.

Keeping Scheme:

The investing period will be twenty old ages. Vacancy rates are estimated at 0 % since the proprietor will busy 100 % of the infinite. Operating disbursals are expected to increase at a steady rate of 3 % per twelvemonth. Likewise, the one-year cost of rising prices is projected to lift at a steady 3 % . Furthermore, a 2 % addition has been applied to the energy cost rising prices rate. The gross revenues premium on the solar panels was besides calculated at 2 % . A positive hard currency flow is expected throughout the balance of the keeping period. See hard currency flow analysis. The belongings will be sold at a purchase monetary value of $ 53,208,000 in twelvemonth 21, utilizing the income attack that is calculated utilizing the twelvemonth 21 NOI and a 9 % cap rate.

Investing Analysis:

The net present value of the after-tax hard currency flows in the twenty-year retention period revealed a positive consequence at expected rates of return of 12 % . The rate of return still outperforms many other investing vehicles. Relatively, this investing falls within the parametric quantities of a “safe” investing similar to those such as exchequer measures or bonds. The internal rate of return computations indicates a 37.2 % after-tax IRR. This is better than the needed 12 % . This investing chance appears to be profitable over the twenty- twelvemonth recommended clip frame.

History provides a footing for appreciating the advancement made in the edifice industry. Using the cognition gained over the old ages to make plans that balance safety, costs, and the environment is now possible. The LEED motion provides a criterion to dispute the hereafter developers to higher degrees of environment consciousness. The motion toward environmentally scruples developments utilizing the LEED plan is deriving acknowledgment. Finally, the edifice industry will encompass the tendency to construct environmentally friendly while congratulating nature and protecting human wellness. This paper explores the importance of the building procedure while encompassing the environmental impact and affects on human wellness.


Charleston ‘s 1st “ Eco-friendly ” Real Estate Office Opens in

Park Circle. ( n.d. ) . Retrieved on July 26, 2009, from hypertext transfer protocol: //


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hypertext transfer protocol: // ? utm_campaign=Yahoo! Paid & A ; utm_

medium=cpc & A ; utm_source=Yahoo! & A ; utm_term=renewable_energies

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. ( n.d. ) . Retrieved

July 26, 2009, from hypertext transfer protocol: //


Lewis, M. , Howard, N. ( 2003 ) . The hereafter of leed. Retrieved

July 26, 2009, from hypertext transfer protocol: //


Office Depot, ( 2007 ) USBGC Project Profile, Innovative Strategies Bring Retailer to Height of

Environmental Design, retrieved on July 24, 2009 from hypertext transfer protocol: //

ShowFile.aspx? DocumentID=5903

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from hypertext transfer protocol: // DocumentID=3382

United States Green Building Council, ( 2009 ) Green constructing Research retrieved on July 24,

2009 from hypertext transfer protocol: // CMSPageID=1718

The plagiarism sensor has analyzed the following text sections, and did non happen any cases of plagiarism:

Text being analyzed


These pre-planning stairss help cut down unanticipated jobs, set up conformity with


motion toward environmentally scruples developments utilizing the LEED plan is


Through tests, new sweetenings to merchandises and installing created stronger


sample shop is merely the beginning of environmentally friendly alterations


building phase begins with site readying including dewatering, eroding control


edifice merchandises used are either reclaimable or necessitate small environmental


creative activity of federal inadvertence plans, merchandise inventions, installing methods, and


Advanced attacks to residential and commercial building were applied as


Consequences: No plagiarism suspected

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© Copyright 2002-2009 by Brian Klug.
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EDUC478: This educational package was designed as a undertaking for the University of Marylan