Definition of Green Building
Green buildings, as defined by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), is an integrated approach to designing and building healthy, comfortable, cost effective, and environmentally friendly living and working environments. Green building practices are primarily focused on developing sustainable sites, increasing water and energy efficiency, reducing waste and emissions, using eco-friendly building materials, and improving indoor environmental quality more efficiently than conventional designs.
Energy inefficient commercial and residential buildings have led to increasing environmental concerns that have negative impacts on community sustainability. According to a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), these buildings are responsible for one-third of the greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, as well as approximately one-third of the energy and two-thirds of electricity. Through an integrated approach, local governments have the opportunity to change the way buildings operate, while fostering economic development, protecting the environment, and promoting the foundation for a sustainable community.