Main menu


Sustainable Construction Green Building Design and Delivery Third Edition

 Download Sustainable Construction Green Building Design and Delivery Third Edition  Easily In PDF Format For Free.


The Roman architect, Vitruvius, once defined the purposes of architecture as creating commodity, firmness, and delight—roughly translated as usefulness, stability, and beauty. To that list, we now must add a fourth purpose, harmony, by which I mean the fit between buildings and the built environment broadly with the ecologies of particular places. In contrast to architecture as utilitarian or as form making, place making poses unique challenges. The first rule of place making is to ruin no other place.

 This requires considerable care, competence, and foresight in managing the upstream and the downstream effects of buildings from materials selection and construction to long-term operations and maintenance. The challenge of creating commodity, firmness, delight, and harmony will be tougher in a world of 7 billion people predicted to grow to 10 billion by 2100 and facing worsening climate destabilization and its collateral economic, social, and political effects. In other words, ecological and economic constraints in the years ahead will limit what can be built, where, and how. Higher temperatures, larger storms, stronger winds, longer droughts, and rising sea levels will require more planning, better design, and more stringent engineering standards. Financial and climatic constraints could interact to diminish the role that architecture has played historically as a source of delight at a time when we will need a great deal of it. 

Vitruvius emphasized the importance of careful site selection for buildings and cities in order to maximize the salubrious effects of sun, wind, water, and shade. Those factors will become more important but less predictable in an age of rapid climate change. Moreover, designers can no longer assume that energy will be cheap and reliable. Military planners have said repeatedly that the US electric grid is highly vulnerable to terrorism, operator error, technological accident, and larger storms. 

Much the same could be said of the systems that provision us with water and food. We have entered the rapids of human history and will need to respond with a new era of design. How architects, engineers, builders, and building managers respond to the new realities will have a larger impact on the human prospect than we thought even a few years ago.

 Building construction and operations are responsible for roughly 40 percent of global carbon emissions. If we are to make the necessary transition to climate stability, that number will have to decline dramatically as the number of buildings increases to accommodate a projected 40 percent rise in population. 

At the same time, the capacity of governments to respond to the climate emergency is being challenged both by those who want less government and by increasingly difficult economic circumstances. The upshot is that a great deal rides on the design and building professions and the private sector.

 Against this background, the green building movement and the remarkable rise of the US Green Building Council and its counterparts elsewhere is a great success story, in no small measure due to the work of Charles Kibert and the Powell Center at the University of Florida in Gainesville. From modest beginnings in the 1990s to the present, the art and science of high-performance building is becoming the default for renovation and construction worldwide. It is now well documented that high-performance buildings have lower operating.

values and higher human satisfaction and productivity. The next design challenge is to take the logic, methodology, and economics of green building to a community, city, and regional scale with the goal of improving resilience, which is defined as the capacity of the system to “absorb disturbance and to undergo change and still retain essentially the same function, structure, and feedbacks.” 1 It is a concept long familiar to engineers, mathematicians, ecologists, designers, and military planners. Resilient systems are characterized by redundancy so that failure of any one component does not cause the entire system to crash. They consist of diverse components that are easily repairable, widely distributed, cheap, locally supplied, durable, and loosely coupled.

 The goal of resilience raises questions that go beyond the specifics of single buildings to those having to do with how entire communities are provisioned with food, energy, water, materials, and livelihood in a more constrained and less predictable world. Resilience as a design goal includes much of what is subsumed in the words “sustainable design,”but differs in one critical respect. Sustainability is sometimes described as an end state as if it can be achieved once and for all. 

The goal of resilience, on the other hand, implies the capacity to make ongoing adjustments to changing political, economic, and ecological conditions. In practical terms, resilience is a design strategy that aims to reduce vulnerabilities by shortening supply lines, improving redundancy in critical areas, bolstering local capacity, and solving for a deeper pattern of dependence and disability. 

The less resilient the country, the more military power is needed to protect its far-flung interests and client states and hence the greater the likelihood of wars fought for oil, water, food, and materials. Resilient societies, on the other hand, do not send their young to fight and die in far-away battlefields because they lack wit, foresight, and design intelligence. The goal of resilience presumes but does not end with sustainable building practices. 

It makes little sense to design high-performance buildings that exist as islands in a larger sea of unsustainability and that rest on a scaffolding of supply chains and infrastructure dependent on cheap fossil fuels. 

Design, accordingly, must be broadened to encompass a full spectrum of issues at a community and regional scale, including water, food, energy, education, economic development, policy and law, and urban planning.

 The challenge to designers now is to create the methodologies and practical tools to integrate diverse sectors, professions, and interest groups into systems so that each of the parts reinforces the resilience and durability of the whole community.“Full-spectrum”design is a fancy phrase to describe design strategies implicit in the writings of Lewis Mumford and Buckminster Fuller, as well as more recent work of contemporary architects and designers such as Bob Berkebile and William McDonough.

 It is a strategy rooted in the ancient meaning of the word “religion,”which means“bind together.”It is manifest in law and policy in the National Environmental Policy Act (1969) and in practical grassroots work such as the Transition Town movement that began in Totnes in the United Kingdom. In every instance, it is predicated on the belief that the whole is more than the sum of its parts and that we should take thought for the morrow.