Sunday, October 5, 2008

a needed shift in the building industry

Why Sustainable Design?
  • Buildings in the U.S. consume more than 30% of our total energy and 60% of our electricity annually.
  • Buildings consume 5 billion gallons of potable water per day to flush toilets.
  • A typical North American commercial construction project generates 2.5 pounds of solid waste per square foot of floor space.
  • Studies of workers in green buildings reported productivity gains of up to 16%.
  • About ¼ of the increase in carbon dioxide is due to the building sector, Energy efficiency may reduce this by 50%.
  • Buildings consume 40% of raw stone, gravel and sand, and 25% of virgin wood.
  • Building related sickness may cost between $60 and 400 billion per year.
  • People spend as much as 90% of their time indoors.

Factoids by LEED Category


Sustainable Sites
  • Vehicles are responsible for approximately 20% of U.S. greenhouse gases annually.
Water Efficiency
  • 340 billion gallons of fresh water are withdrawn per day from rivers, streams, and reservoirs to support residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, and recreational activities.
  • Almost 65% of water taken is discharged back to bodies of water after use.
  • Annual water deficiency for the US is 3,700 billion gallons.
  • US industries today use 36% less water than in 1950 due to reuse and Energy Policy Act of 1992 mandating water conserving plumbing.
  • Water consumption rose 6 fold in the last century – double the rate of population.
Energy & Atmosphere
  • Coal-fired electric utilities produce almost 1/3 the total emission of nitrogen oxide by US citizens.
  • Fundamental commissioning can increase building energy efficiency from 5-10%.
  • Buildings with M&V programs save 10 to 20% the electricity of buildings without.
  • “Lost Productivity” is equated with 20% of occupants complaining 30 minutes per month.
  • Occupancy sensors may save up to 60% of light energy costs in a building.
Materials & Resources
  • 4% of US old growth forest remains.
  • 20% of the world’s large ancient forests remain intact.
  • 90% of residential construction is wood.
  • 40% of the waste stream is due to construction and demolition.
  • Recycling an aluminum can uses 5% of the energy needed to create a new can out of virgin mined aluminum.
Indoor Environmental Quality
  • A well-designed daylit building is estimated to reduce energy use by 50% to 80%.
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