The Importance of Designing High-Performance Buildings
The construction industry is responsible for a large portion of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, according to the World Green Building Council, the built environment sector was responsible for 36% of global final energy consumption and 39% of carbon dioxide emissions in 2019. This means that if we want to seriously reduce our emissions and mitigate climate change, we need to make some changes in the way we design and build our buildings.
One way to do this is by designing high-performance buildings. High-performance buildings are those that are designed to be highly energy efficient and use less water, materials, and land than traditional buildings. They are also typically healthier for occupants and have a smaller carbon footprint. In other words, they are better for the environment, better for our health, and better for our wallets. So, what exactly makes a building high-performance? Let's take a closer look.
The Five Key Attributes of High-Performance Buildings
There are five key attributes that all high-performance buildings share: energy efficiency, water efficiency, material efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and resilience.
Energy efficiency is achieved through a variety of means, such as improved insulation and airtightness, high-efficiency windows and HVAC systems, daylighting and passive solar design. Water efficiency can be accomplished through the use of drought-tolerant landscaping, rainwater harvesting, low-flow fixtures, and gray water recycling. Material efficiency involves using sustainable or recycled materials in the construction of the building. And finally, indoor environmental quality can be improved through the use of natural ventilation, good lighting design, and the use of low-emitting paints, adhesives, carpets, and sealants.
High-performance buildings are those that are designed to be more energy efficient and use less water, materials, and land than traditional buildings. They also tend to be healthier for occupants and have a smaller carbon footprint. In other words, they are better for the environment, better for our health, and better for our wallets. We need more high-performance buildings if we want to reduce our emissions and mitigate climate change.