High-performance green buildings
High-performance green buildings are those which deliver a relatively higher level of energy-efficiency performance than that required by building codes or other regulations. Architects, designers, and builders typically design and build them using a range of established strategies, techniques, tools, and materials to ensure that, upon completion, the building will consume a minimal amount of energy for heating, cooling, illumination, and ventilation during operation.
High performance buildings deliver a wide range of benefits to owners and tenants. Because they require relatively less energy to heat, cool, and ventilate, such buildings often yield lower utility costs. Occupants often prefer living, working, and learning in high-performance buildings because they better manage:
- Temperature, improving comfort.
- Fresh air throughout the building, improving health.
- Soundproofing, reducing exterior noise.
A 2012 study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy found that multifamily buildings present a tremendous opportunity for energy savings. Comprehensive, cost-effective upgrades in multifamily buildings could improve efficiency by 15-30%, the Council found, representing an annual sector-wide savings of almost USD$3.4 billion.
Globally, buildings constitute a leading consumer of energy and a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2010 buildings accounted for 32% of total global final energy use, 19% of energy-related GHG emissions, including emissions produced in the production of electricity that is used by buildings. In the United States in 2016, carbon emissions from homes and commercial businesses contributed 6,511 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent to the atmosphere, or 11 percent of the nation's total.
Governments with jurisdiction over building codes and standards and that are interested in reducing the climate impact of buildings may seek to reduce these emissions by either incentivizing requiring higher levels of energy efficiency performance in new homes and other buildings.
- "The Multifamily Energy Savings Project". The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
- "Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change". Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, United Nations. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
- "Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions". U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 15 May 2018.