Green Building 

Repurposed materials make great fencesThe terms green building, green construction, and sustainable building generally refer to environmentally responsible design and construction, as well as a building that was created with environmentally responsible and sustainable construction products and practices. Green building aims to use resources efficiently, minimize negative effects on the environment, and protect the health of those who will live or work in the building. Green building also includes the sustainable remodeling of existing structures. It considers all phrases of a project: site selection, design, site preparation, construction, furnishing, landscaping, and removing a building at the end of its life.

For example, a construction contractor who is rebuilding a dry-rot-laden deck may wonder what material to recommend to a client. Wood that’s been shipped across an ocean? Locally sourced wood? Recycled composite materials? How about aluminum? Should the material be sealed, stained, or painted, and how often? Does the sealant contain harmful volatile organic compounds? Green building practices consider these questions and take into account the journey the different materials take to reach that deck; the pollution generated in their manufacture, transportation, and demolition; what goes into creating, maintaining, and repairing them; and what happens to the materials once they can no longer be used in their current capacity.

Further Reading

Here are some resources to explore for more information on green building:


     The city of Eugene, Oregon

     Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

     Information about Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

     The U.S. Green Building Council

     The Living Building Challenge

     Lifecycle Building Challenge

     Cascadia Green Building Council

     The U.S. Green Building Council’s Green Home Guide

     Oregon graywater reuse program

     Energy Trust of Oregon

     Northwest EcoBuilding Guild