NaSBAP Unit Questions (at end of each Unit) Unit 1

1. What is the definition of sustainability of green building? (PG. 4 -5)

  • Green building incorporates principles, techniques, and materials that conserve natural resources and improve environmental quality throughout a buildings’ life-cycle.
  • Meeting the need of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

2. Why is green building an important aspect of achieving sustainability within the realms of (3Es) environment, economy, and social equity? (PG. 4-5)

  • Environment – Sustainability aims to protect the environment by minimizing the use of non-renewable resources, and using renewable resources at a rate they can be sustained.
  • Economy – Sustainability aims at developing an economy that is vital & dynamic and integrated with environmental goals.
  • Equity /Social – Sustainability aims to ensure that while achieving environmental and economic goals, all aspects of society are benefited, and not aspects of society are harmed.
  • Sustainable design seeks to maximize the quality of the built environment, while minimizing or eliminating negative effects t the natural environment, thereby focusing primarily on the first E – environment.

3. How does green building solve environmental problems? Economic / societal problems (give examples)? (PG. 6-7)

  • Resource conservation (energy, water, materials)
  • Building envelope performance which influences fossil fuel usage.
  • Construction Demolition Land Clearing (CDL) – Waste Reduction reduces methane in landfills
  • Tree preservation – sequesters C02
  • CFC and HCFC free insulation


  • Clustering and infill – lower transportation & walkability.
  • Ecosystem protection (air, water, soil)
  • Indoor environmental and air quality (IEQ + IAQ)
  • Building envelope performance
  • Amending soil with compost – improves water retention, nutrient absorption, and reduces runoff.
  • Efficient farming techniques
  • Advanced framing – reduces wood usage
  • Pervious paving – increases infiltration
  • Energy efficiency

4. What are some direct benefits to building green? (PG. 8)
Homeowners :

  • Reduced cost of operations / maintenance; higher resale value, better IAQ + IEQ; possible financial incentives: energy efficient mortgages, tax credits, utility rebates

Commercial Developers:

  • Cost of operations / maintenance, reduced liability, advantage of providing better health and productivity for tenants and corporate good will.

Design Professionals:

  • Competitive advantage over other Professionals, a more invigorating process can lead to better design.


  • Increased marketing advantage, fewer callbacks, reduced liability, better referrals, and savings from construction waste reduction.

5. What are some of the early influences of the green building movement? (PG. 9-10)

  • AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE): founded in 1990 ….grew out of the AIA Energy Committee, as people realized that sustainable building practices needed to address all aspects of environmental impact not just energy consumption.
  • AIA Declaration of Interdependence: created in 1993. The declaration called on design processionals to place environmental and social sustainability at the core practice …and bring all elements of the built environment up to sustainable design standards.
  • Formation of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC): Founded 1993. Focuses on fulfilling the bldg & const. industry’s vision for its own transformation to high-performance green building.
  • Building with Value Conference: 1993.

What are the main drivers now?

  • LEED and SBAP.
  • American Society of Heating Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) & National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) have adopted the mission of green buildings.
  • Living Building Challenge program, the International Living Building Institute (IBCI) launched in 2009 as an NGO with the mission of creating a sustainable built environment worldwide.
  • Proliferation of green building policies, programs and projects in 1990’s – 2010, e.g. Energy Star

6. What is a green building rating system and how does it promote a green building? (PG: 14 – 18)

  • LEED addresses the different project development and delivery processes that exist in the US building design and construction market through rating systems.

What kinds of building types can be rated today?

  • LEED for New Construction (LEED NC), Core & Shell (LEED CS), Commercial Interiors (LEED CI), Existing Buildings (LEED EB), Homes, Schools, Neighborhood Development (LEED ND), Retail, and Healthcare.
  • Green Communities
  • NAHB Green Building Program
  • Living Building Challenge (LBC)
  • Green Globes
  • Energy & Environmental Building Association (EEBA)

7. How does sustainable design differ from conventional design? (PG: 20)

  • Sustainable design sets goals that include environmental objectives. Ideally these goals recognize potential economic and equity outcomes. Green building looks at the life cycle cost, rather than stopping at first cost.
  • Includes a process of multi-disciplinary analysis (iterations of improvement in the design) and accountability. These incorporates:

– Design Workshops (Eco-charrettes)
– Iterations of improvement in the design (computer modeling simulations)
– Regular benchmarking against the goals and objectives.)
– Commissioning to ensure that the building has been constructed to the design intent and has potential for achieving green building benefits.

  • Integrated Design Process – is a design that integrates the site and architectural, mechanical, electrical, and other systems of the building to get the highest performance possible. This process includes all of the Design Team, Owner & Contractor.

8. Describe the differences between LCCA, LCA and Triple Bottom Line Acct’g. (PG. 22-23)

  • Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) – evaluates full costs of acquiring, installing, owning, operating and disposing of a building or building system.
  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) – the procedures of LCA are part of the ISO 14000 environmental management standards and attempt to capture the aggregate environmental impact of a product up and down the supply chain (from cradle to grave).
  • Triple Bottom Line Accounting – focuses on people, profit and planet (similar to 3 E’s). Reports on its social and environmental performance to include its financial performance.

9. What are some ways to green up the delivery process of a building project? (PG: 23-28)

  • Pre-design – Integrates sustainability into project goals in pre-design phase during goal setting meeting.
  • Goals – Integrate sustainability into project goals as early as possible.
  • Players – More involvement of the Design Team upfront; moreover, interdisciplinary teamwork is critical for maximum success.
  • Schematic Design Phase – RFQ’s that are released should include the “green” elements. An eco-charrette should be conducted to generate a list of green options (LEED?) for the project.
  • Design Development – An analysis occurs to determine project applicability, cost effectiveness, match with client priorities, projects potential for LEED or other green building certifications. Cx occurs with focused design reviews to pick up inconsistencies between design elements and intent.
  • Construction Documents – Stick with the CSI format, Write spec to the contractor, say it once and in the right place, coordinate carefully with drawings, use imperative type words, research the mfrs. reputation, reference standards where possible, assume responsibility for spec’g green products, define terms unique to green term/products.
  • Construction – An independent Cx audit occurs at this point.
  • Occupancy – In order to be really effective over time, training, O&M manuals and post-occupancy evaluations are important.

10. What possible ways can a sustainable building advisor influence the sustainability of a building project or an organization? (PG: 25)

  • During the pre-design and eco-charrette phase, an SBA can influence a building project or organization by providing green options for the project. If the project is going for LEED, the SBA can provide analysis, applicability, cost-effectiveness, and insight on any design elements and intent and recommend the usage of the LEED Rating System (checklist).

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