What is “Green Building”?

High performance buildings are more healthy and comfortable to live and work in, are energy efficient, save water, offer greater durability and lower maintenance, and are more valuable than others. When we talk about “Green Building” generally, the emphasis of reducing the environmental impact of a building’s footprint is the main design goal and motivation for including high-performing features.


Ecological Footprint of Building Construction

Carbon Footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases produced directly and indirectly by human activities, considering their Life Cycle Analysis, and usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). This value is getting more and more important in environmental policies and fight against Climate Change and Global Warming. For existing and new buildings, evaluating the carbon footprint in the project´s data and materials to calculate CO2 emissions at previous and future stages, such as manufacturing, transportation and construction, is beneficial in considering information at the technical architecture project for building.

In evaluating the dynamics of the construction industry it is important to consider the close interaction that exists between living and non-living structures, i.e. the opportunities to gather sources of energy from renewable entities. This interaction consists of material and energy flows, information and resource flows and it is necessary to understand the evolutive dynamics of the building as a system. Any sustainable or truly “green” building should be able to:

  • Make the most of energy resources and natural capital
  • Support a part of its energy demand through natural processes
  • Use of renewable and local materials
  • Reduce its influence on the water cycle
  • Reduce CO2 emissions and waste production
  • Become part of the surrounding environmental, historical and cultural context


Additional Resources:

Components of Green Building from the EPA:


Green Building Practices & Solutions

CleanMetrics – Software tools and databases for building footprint evaluation
Cutting-edge software tools and databases to analyze and optimize environmental and economic performance, based on rigorous analytical methodologies. For restaurant and food service buildings, you can calculate the Food Carbon Emissions here.


Green Building Materials
Green building hosts various strategies but a valuable resource is knowing which products you are using within the project. This resource is home to some common elements and features of any commercial or residential building project that are considered “green”.


Green Globes Professional (GGP)
Trained specifically in the Green Globes® building assessment and certification process, certified GGPs are qualified industry professionals ready to share their insights. Professionals seeking the GGP designation need at least five years of experience in the design and construction phases of green buildings in the commercial, educational, industrial or healthcare sectors.


Standards & Codes: Guides to Green Buildings
The increased popularity of green building design and construction has given rise to a variety of approaches that aim to guide architects, designers, materials specifiers and builders in how to build “green.” This page provides a few examples of these approaches and specific certifications, codes and tools that can help your project reach optimal performance potential.


Case Study

UBC Case Study / Green Building

Source: UBC Campus Sustainability Office

To guide construction of all campus buildings, UBC enshrined sustainable building practices into the Technical Guidelines. This occurred at the start of a renewed construction boom on campus and has produced a number of high-performance buildings, each featuring innovative sustainable building practices, including the Fred Kaiser Building, the Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems, the Michael Smith Laboratories and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. Green building at UBC continues to evolve in the context of provincial and institutional greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and sustainable development initiatives.


Additional Resources