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Green Building

What is Green Building?

green building

Green building is the idea of creating a built environment - buildings, landscapes, communities and infrastructure - that connects the highest positive regard for our quality of life with the least ecological consequences to our environment. Sustainable design attempts to balance economic, social, and environmental factors. Sustainable design principles affect all phases of project development, from design, construction, operations and maintenance, and demolition and disposal.

Why Build Green?

Building green isn't just about improving your health or saving the planet.  Today's techniques can also save you money and make your home or projects more marketable. Green building techniques reduce energy and water use, improve indoor air quality, are sensitive to site development issues, incorporate environmentally friendly building materials, and more.
Typical building construction, use, and demolition, as well as the manufacturing of building materials, contribute significantly to environmental problems. In the United States, buildings account for:

  • 36% of total energy use
  • 65% of electricity consumption
  • 30% of greenhouse gas emissions
  • 30% of raw materials use
  • 30% of waste output (equal to 136 million tons annually)
  • 12% of potable water consumption

But it seems more expensive to build green. Will I really see a return on my investment?

Using integrated design and careful planning, green building can be cost-competitive with conventional construction, even on a first-cost basis. Some high-efficiency, healthy, and/or ecologically superior products do cost more up front, but pay back over time in terms of reduced replacement frequency due to superior construction detailing or materials durability, lower operating costs due to more efficient use of energy or water or by making use of resources harvested on site, less need for modification due to flexible design, and other factors. Other paybacks are garnered due to creating spaces that are healthier and more conducive to productivity. These returns are external to the building balance sheet, but can be some of the most compelling reasons to build green.

Design & Construction Resources

We're pleased to offer an excellent series of remodeling guides from the City of Seattle to help you green your current and future projects.  Although written for primarily for homeowners, these guides also provide useful information for businesses, designers, and developers.

Click HERE for the Remodeling Guide.

Learn More About Green Building:


Build It Green

  • Education & networking for building professionals, public agencies, and non-profits;
  • Listing of certified  green architects & contractors;
  • Materials database: extensive listing of green products;
  • Fact sheets, referrals, case studies, events, green building links;
  • In-depth info on green building materials & strategies.

Green Home Guide

  • Ideas and advice;
  • Find a Pro helps you locate a green building professional near you;
  • Know-how articles;
  • Ask a Pro allow you to ask a green building professional questions.

U.S. Green Building Council

  • Extensive collection of green building resources;
  • LEED Rating System info;
  • Case studies, checklists, training, certification and workshops.


Global Green USA

  • Global Green has compiled a variety of resources that will help you build green, or learn more about the process.  These resources include Global Green information sheets, links to useful websites, periodicals and relevant news items;
  • Green product information, green building basics, third party certification, energy saving resources;
  • Green building tools, including waste calculator.


Go Solar California

  • A "one-stop shop" for information on rebates, tax credits, and incentives for solar energy systems in California;
  • Find out about incentives for installing solar on your existing home or business.


Los Angeles County Solar Map

  • Get an estimate of the solar potential for your location by simply entering your address.


Flex Your Power

  • Partnership of California's utilities, residents, businesses, institutions, government agencies and non-profit organizations working to save energy.  The campaign includes a comprehensive website, an electronic newsletter and blog, and educational materials;
  • Energy best practices for office buildings, hotels, restaurants and processing plants;
  • Learn about income-based discounts, assistance and free retrofits.


Energy Star

  • Joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices;
  • Tools and info for residents and businesses.


Be Water Wise

  • Collection of programs and tips on how to save water;
  • Find rebates for water conservation.


SoCal Water$mart

  • On September 21, 2009, a limited number of rebates became available through the SoCal Water$mart program for Southern California residential water customers.  Residential water customers are those living in houses or apartments, town homes, condominiums or mobile home complexes with four or less dwellings that are NOT represented by a homeowners association or property management company.

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