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Building a Sustainable Future: The Rise of Green Buildings

Centre for Sustainable Chemistry at The University of Nottingham in Nottingham, United Kingdom.

The world is facing compounding challenges – all of which are connected to the climate crisis and demand immediate action. Architects and designers have the opportunity to enact positive impact on the built environment as the building sector has a major negative environmental impact. In response, the green building movement has emerged and gained continual momentum, influences building codes across the nation.

Green buildings are not just about constructing buildings; they’re about creating sustainable, healthy, and energy-efficient living spaces. Sustainability is integrated into every stage of a building’s life cycle. From design and construction to operation, maintenance, and even demolition, every step is carefully considered to minimize environmental impact. But it’s not just about the environment. Green building also focuses on creating healthier, more productive spaces for people. It’s about buildings that not only tread lightly on the earth but also make our lives better.

Green buildings offer great value, which is many owners want design teams to incorporate green building principles, despite their upfront cost. There is a great opportunity for long-term cost savings as they relate to social, environmental, and economic lens. The value of green buildings is not solely for owners who plan to maintain their ownership of the buildings, but also for developers looking to sell the property. Green buildings see increased property values compared to traditional buildings due to the increased efficiencies, meaning developers can sell their properties at a premium.

New Elementary School at Reed Building in Arlington, Virginia.

A key milestone of the rise of the green building movement has been the development of third-party certifications. Certification systems emerged to recognize and promote environmentally responsible and resource-efficient building practices through rigorous third-party verification. The most widely recognized certification is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). LEED assess a building’s sustainability across various categories, including energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor air quality, and materials. Florida certainly recognizes the value of green buildings as there are over 200 LEED certified projects in the state, with over 39 LEED certified project in Orlando, FL.

Green buildings are more than just structures; they are beacons of change in our built environment. Their advantages extend far beyond mere aesthetics. In a world grappling with climate change, the impact of green buildings will continue to benefit future generations

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