Green Building Materials: A Guide to Product Selection and Specification, 3rd Edition

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Study-Unit Description - Courses - L-Università ta' Malta

A new chapter on eco-labels, green standards, and product certification. A new appendix providing reference information for sustainability standards and standards development organizations.

Green Building Materials A Guide to Product Selection and Specification

New sample specifications, including green power requirements, vegetated green roof systems, rainwater harvesting, and water reuse systems. Revised and updated review of trends affecting the future of green building materials.

Updated approach and reference information for the product selection process. Green Building Materials, Third Edition is an essential tool for designing environmentally friendly buildings—ones made from materials that preserve the Earth's natural legacy for future generations. Preface to the First Edition. Liability Issues. Economic Benefits. Consumer Demand and New Markets. Regulatory Requirements. Altruism and Professional Responsibility.

What Does Green Look Like? Does Green Work? Isn't Green Expensive? Shades of Green.

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Overcoming Entropy. Step 1: Identify Material Categories. Step 4: Gather Technical Information. Step 5: Review Submitted Information for Completeness. Step 6: Evaluate Green Materials. Step 7: Select and Document Choice. Standards Development Organizations. Trade and Professional Organizations. Future Developments. Design and Construction Relationships.

The means by which materials qualify as green have been at the forefront of debate over which building products are preferable. Guided by various references such as available product information, and building assessment systems that stipulate desirable attributes, material specifiers, mainly architects and engineers, are faced with the final task of judging the true environmental value of green-marketed materials. The caveat is that a great deal of complexity surrounds the conditions in which select materials become environmentally advisable.

For example, the use of raw materials may, counter-intuitively, be better than their recycled equivalents or vice versa , depending on many factors such as locality of extraction, and energy mix used for processing and manufacturing, as well as transportation type and distance, to name a few. Nowhere is this more evident than in the case for wood products; although wood is recognized as a sustainable building material by the scientific community Buchanan and Levine, ; Gustavsson et al.

As leading environmental building rating systems evolve from single-attribute assessment towards the endorsement of multi-attribute methods for evaluating the ecological impacts and lifecycle outcomes of building designs and components4, architects may be called upon to modify the means by which they select materials for green design. The foremost purpose of this literature review was to explore the variety of issues related to green building design more specifically a subset of sustainable building , and to identify prominent topics that influence material selection for green building design.

The evolution of contemporary environmental building rating systems and the assessment of material specification for green building design were investigated. The use of wood as a green building material was also examined. Although scientific primary literature was examined, other published media such as privately commissioned reports, technical reports, conference proceedings, working papers, trade literature, and other grey literature were also reviewed in an attempt to provide recent, market related information. The terms green architecture, environmental architecture, and ecological building are all synonymous terms, referencing building design with reduced environmental impacts.

Building research leaders, more definitively since the early 90s, have been conditioning the building industry to adopt green design, a set of building principles which largely dictates the aspects of design which have been prioritized to minimize building impacts on natural systems and human health.

To date, leading building environmental assessment systems have essentially dealt with energy- efficiency, economy of water and materials, waste reduction, and improved air quality for occupants. Despite the triple-bottom line definition of sustainability, as defined by the 4Brundtland Commission5, which includes socio-economic welfare, it appears that the environmental aspects of sustainability have taken precedence over the equally necessary considerations of economic and societal values.

Green as an adjective for building design has come to emphasize improved environmental building performance, with focus on areas such as energy efficiency. For this reason, the term green building is employed throughout the report, in lieu of sustainable building. The latter considers a much wider array of environmental, social and economic determinants that extend beyond the simple reduction of environmental impacts.

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A recent review Leslie, dates the first building energy measurement tool, Energy Systems Analysis, back to when it was introduced by Public Works Canada. This effort, and those that followed, such as the Building Energy Systems Analysis software presentations, were no doubt initiated as a response to the energy crisis and oil ban. Version 1 of this system, intended for office buildings, was launched in , and during its course, 18 buildings were assessed under its label.

During the same period, parallel evolution of building assessment models took place in other countries, notably in the United Kingdom and in the United States. In 5 Sustainable development is defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Faced with a growing number of green building programs and initiatives, a World Green Building Council was created in to provide an international forum for green building development, and to facilitate contact between industry leaders and emerging green markets.

Green Building Materials: A Guide to Product Selection and Specification

Green Building Councils are member-based organizations that collaborate with public and private partners to develop green buildings and communities. In Canada, a similar, yet more subdued trend has surfaced. Membership to the Canada Green Building Council CaGBC evolved from members at the beginning of , to 1, members in , to over 2, members by The number of professionals holding LEED credentials in had risen to 5, Registration and certification rates increased tenfold from to , soaring from 51 registered projects in , to nearly in CaGBC, The biggest subscribers to green building rating systems have been governments and institutions.

However, a recent upsurge in commercial interest for certified buildings has meant a significant increase in the number of commercial registrations from 55 to in to in CaGBC, The issues governing the green building archetype and its evolution are discussed in this section. Numerous international and national initiatives, both in the public and private sectors, have inspired countries to develop their own sets of rating systems.

Differences in standards, objectives, priorities, and social contexts have resulted in a multiplicity of systems and tools, based on a variety of frameworks ranging from best practice design recommendations e. EcoEffect, Sweden. The extent and span of available tools has created a general confusion about their role. Assessment tools and rating systems are not standards, nor are they design guides; yet, they are commonly used as such.

Evidence of design teams confusing means with ends has meant that rating tools, developed as evaluation instruments, are inadvertently being used for unintended purposes. The State of Minnesota has bypassed this confusion by simply avoiding ratings.

Despite the diversity and proprietary subtleties characteristic to each of the existing assessment models, most can be grouped according to the strategies they advocate. Four distinct approaches are identifiable, including: 1 measurement of performance actual versus potential performance , 2 nature of the assessment objective versus subjective , 3 conditions of application voluntary or mandatory , and 4 assessment requirements self-assessment or independent third-party assessment Hes, Oppositely, LEED chose to introduce their system with rigorous conditions, thus limiting rapid and general adoption.

The following section describes, in essence, the distinguishing features of current assessment programs and labelling systems.


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Performance - The first difference that exists between rating systems is measurement of performance. Some tools measure predicted performance design potential , while others measure actual performance operational outcomes. Morison et al. Many other changes can occur between the conception and construction of a building, and a disparity may exist between the projected performance and the actual performance. Occupant behaviour and performance delivery of building systems also contribute greatly to the overall performance of a building, and thus to the width of the credibility gap.

Thus, building performance, from the perspective of reducing environmental burdens, can only be asserted if operational achievements are measured after occupation. Certification is awarded after the audit of design and construction documentation; Green Globes provides a post construction building walkthrough. The lack of assessment for performance of building operations is a common flaw to all early rating systems.

Conditioning design teams to consider green design from the onset was a way of recognizing the importance of integrating sustainability objectives early in the conception process. In addition to acknowledging design, many rating systems have now recognized the importance of evaluating operational performance, and are adjusting their certification delivery requirements.

Most rating systems are subjective, promoting the attainment of targets that are either intuitively or arbitrarily set. This value-based approach is used by many point-based tools because of its simplicity, yet it has been criticized for being unsystematic and lacking scientific support. Establishment of priorities is another debated topic as credit weightings have not typically been used to establish the value of categories and requirements; for example, is water efficiency more important than indoor air quality? Usually, all requirements within a category are given the same value.

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Some would argue that renewable energy generation should be worth more than one point since energy savings are of first-class importance, while others would argue that the bicycle credit should be worth more, as transportation emissions are most contributory to climate change. In order to settle these debates, influenced by differences in societal, economical and political positions, some certification schemes have attempted to more objectively evaluate the weightings of such issues.

The LEED rating guide has revised its credit weightings according to 13 environmental impact categories, and established that energy efficiency and CO2 reductions will be more heavily weighted than other elements.