Green, Sustainable & Regenerative Design – I was inclined to create this three part series in order to discern the terms for LGA staff internally and hope that my research and deeper discovery into each of these concepts proves valuable for our readership as well. I begin the series with Green Design.
The U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC) devised a program called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in the late 1990s. The LEED program provides for certification of four levels of Green Building Design: certified, silver, gold and platinum. The green strategies promoted by this program provide buildings that not only use less energy but also are healthier for the occupants. Some of these strategies include the following:
  • Providing light colored pavement and roofs with a high reflectance to mitigate the heat island effect (absorption of sunlight and turning it into heat and releasing heat into the surrounding air).
  • Cleaning rainwater from pavement areas before it gets into the ground water or natural storm water systems.
  • Providing shading of south facing windows with shade devices or deciduous trees to prevent the summer sun entering the building increasing the heat load on air conditioning systems.
  • Using reclaimed water for landscape irrigation instead of potable water.
  • Using plumbing fixtures (urinals, water closets, faucets and shower heads) that use less water.
  • Providing well insulated and sealed exterior walls and roofs lessening the air conditioning or heating load within the building, using less energy.
  • Providing daylight to the interior spaces and lighting controls that decrease the use of artificial light during daylight hours, once again decreasing the load on air conditioning systems, using less energy.
  • Providing recycled materials so that there is less harvest of raw materials.
  • Providing locally harvested and manufactured materials and products mitigating transportation. Transportation reduces the use of fuels and therefore the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
  • Provide a minimum standard of ventilation whether mechanical or natural.
  • Use rapidly renewable materials.
  • Use materials that do not contain material that harmful to the building occupants’ health.
  • Providing window views to the out of doors for most of the occupants.
  • Utilizing energy efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
  • Encourage the generation of on-site renewable energy (1 to 13 percent of the buildings energy use).
Green design provides a project that is more energy efficient, more friendly to the environment and better for the occupants than the standard building.
Green and sustainable as terms have been used interchangeably for some time. The term “sustainable” is defined by the Meriam-Webster Dictionary as “capable of being sustained.” A sustainable design would provide a project that can sustain itself.

Originally from Canada, John Lansdell is a true architectural technologist with over 40 years of experience in the design and construction industry. John joined LGA in 2006 to fulfill his desire to work on specific projects of high integrity and sustainability and has since received his Master of Science in Green Building at the San Francisco Institute of Architecture.