Green building is the practice of increasing the efficiency of building operations. The practice aims for sustainable design by identifying how sites are built (and from what materials), and how sites use energy (and how this is affecting the environment) throughout the life cycle of the building. Green building focuses on these aspects to help create designs that have minimal impact on the environment.

New projects must embrace this concept as the growth of our communities has a large impact on our natural environment. The manufacturing, design, construction, and operation of the buildings in which we live and work are responsible for the consumption of many of our natural resources. Also, waste produced by growing projects can be harmful to our environment.

Environmental sustainability is a major issue currently, and so green building is an initiative we should all take. As well as decreasing environmental impact, green building can also have economic benefits. More efficient uses of energy and water can help new projects financially. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 included energy efficiency and sustainable design requirements for Federal and other buildings.

Mirvac are a group that actively participates in the process of green building throughout several of its projects. Their projects effectively cut greenhouse gas emissions, delivering a 5 star National Australian Built Environment Rating System rating, and provide tenants with a sustainable source of energy.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) consists of a set of rating systems for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings, homes and neighborhoods. The Philip Merrill Environmental Center is recognized as one of the “greenest” buildings ever constructed in the USA. Sustainability issues ranging from energy use to material selection were given serious consideration throughout design and construction of this facility. It was the first building to receive a Platinum rating through LEED rating system. Receiving a Gold LEED rating in September 2011, the Empire State Building is the tallest and largest LEED certified building in the United States and Western Hemisphere. Furthermore, the building is currently undergoing a $550 million renovation, with $120 million spent in an effort to transform the building into a more energy efficient and eco-friendly structure.

The Green Building Council of Australia has already certified more than 170 buildings around Australia. Among them, the 6 Green Star certification of Trevor Pearcey House in Canberra, the refurbished facility of Australian Ethical Investment Ltd. The total cost of the renovation was $1.7 million, and produced an estimated 75% reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, 75% reduction in water usage, and used over 80% recycled materials. The architects of this green building site were Collard Clarke Jackson Canberra Pty Ltd.

Green building sites are the newer look forward; they look better and more modern. Grocon’s design of the Pixel Building is an example of a modernized building that represents society’s advancement. The building’s carbon neutral design also makes it a real contributor to sustainability. A Stockland development in Melbourne’s south-east is another example of modernized design being the way forward.

Stockland have created modern houses that are draft-proof and facing towards the sun. People are attracted to having a house that looks good, while still being sustainable. People are also attracted to the idea that having these green houses will also lower the cost of living and save money.

It is still early days yet in this debate however buyers are now very conscious about energy rating and cost of running a building which will eventually hit their pocket. So it is advisable for planners, councils and developers to start seriously embracing the concept and buyers should perhaps start to be more aware choosing only apartments in building with such features. It may well come a time when these requirements may be legislated.

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