Sustainable building refers to both the structure itself and the processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle: from design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. Green building design involves finding the balance between building and the sustainable environment. This requires close cooperation of the design team, the architects, the engineers, and the client at all project stages. The Green Building practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings which was Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. Other certificates system that confirms the sustainability of buildings is the British BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) for buildings and large scale developments. Currently, World Green Building Council is conducting research on the effects of green buildings on the health and productivity of their users and is working with World Bank to promote Green Buildings in Emerging Markets through EDGE Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies Market Transformation Program and certification.
Although new technologies are constantly being developed to complement current practices in creating greener structures, the common objective of green buildings is to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by:
Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources
Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity
Reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation
A similar concept is natural building, which is usually on a smaller scale and tends to focus on the use of natural materials that are available locally. Other related topics include sustainable design and green architecture. Sustainability may be defined as meeting the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Some green building programs don't address the issue of retrofitting existing buildings. Owner/Developers have led the way for the adoption of energy efficient refurbishment. Green construction principles can easily be applied to retrofit work as well as new construction.
A 2009 report by the U.S. General Services Administration found 12 sustainably-designed buildings that cost less to operate and have excellent energy performance. In addition, occupants were overall more satisfied with the building than those in typical commercial buildings. These are eco-friendly buildings.