A New Approach to Development

Green development is any development that enhances a community while limiting the environmental impact.

There are shades of green. One building, for example, can meet a baseline level of green by using energy-efficient appliances, water-saving fixtures and high-quality insulation. Another can be greener by incorporating those features plus double-glazed windows, grey water reuse, solar panels and a roof that traps minimal heat.

Who says what is green? Many agencies, most of them private, have established standards. That can be good in that sustainable design is sensitive to geography—sustainability standards in rainy Seattle can be very different from those in, say, arid Lubbock, Texas. By contrast, a mix of standards can produce conflicting information from different groups.

This story includes tables outlining the scope of several national green building standards, and the key objectives of green building.