Natural Resources Defense Council BUILDING GREEN FROM PRINCIPLE TO PRACTICE
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Home Build Your Business Case Set Your Budget and Goals Adopt a Whole-Building Approach Apply Sustainable Building Strategies Capitalize on Your Achievement
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Overture Center for the Arts, Madison, WI. Architect: Cesar Pelli & Associates.
Photo: © Jeff Goldberg/Esto

ADOPT A WHOLE-BUILDING APPROACH

Good leadership is important to the success of any building project, but it is particularly vital in green building efforts. Some members of your building and design team may not be accustomed to thinking about a building as a single, well-integrated system -- a key strategy in green construction -- so make sure everyone you're working with is committed to thinking ahead and working collaboratively.

In this section, you'll find out how to adopt a "whole-building approach" at the planning stage of your project. Taking steps to enhance communication and cooperation among team members will go a long way toward helping you meet your environmental and certification goals on budget.


CASE STUDY
The Willow School  (Gladstone, NJ)

With environmental stewardship as one of its fundamental teaching objectives, this private school sought to make its 34-acre site a "living classroom." Through an integrated design process that included intensive design workshops, known as charrettes, the site was designed around ecological system regeneration, with the treatment and utilization of water serving as a core organizing principle.

Awarded LEED Gold certification in 2004, the Willow School project included a constructed wetland for wastewater treatment; use of permeable paving, planted roofs, bioswales and 60,000 plugs of adapted species meadow plantings to reduce stormwater runoff. It also featured an extended detention, deep-pool wetland for stormwater treatment; collection of rainwater for irrigation and toilet water supply. Students and visitors are engaged in "the story" of the school's environment and the use of nature-based designs helps demonstrate the connections to the planet.
Full case study (pdf) »

TOP APPROACHES
Set Your Goals Early
Build a Green Design Team
Integrate the Design and
Building Process
Convene Design Workshops
Use the LEED Rating System
as a Guide
Engineer for Environmental
Value
Take Advantage of Incentives
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RESOURCE CENTER

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Building Owner: Assesses occupants' needs and sets the budget and green goals.

Commissioning Agent: Assures that design and performance meet the design goals of the owner.

Architects, Engineers and Consultants: Collaborate creatively to best meet the needs of the occupants and achieve project sustainability goals on budget and according to code.

Facilities Manager: Makes sure the design allows for easy and efficient operation, maintenance and cleaning.