Monday, May 4, 2009


The heating, cooling and lighting of our buildings accounts for 48 percent of all U.S. energy consumption. As such, building energy usage is the greatest contributor to green house gases and global warming. This will only increase as the world becomes more urbanized and the built environment represents a greater and greater portion of our environment. Stormwater runoff from buildings is also one of the greatest non-point sources of water pollution, while the manufacturer of synthetic materials used in the construction of buildings leads to hazardous waste and an increasing number of "sick" buildings. One example of a community that has made a commitment as part of its sustainable urban and regional planning to attempt to convert all buildings in the community to sustainable "green" buildings is the town of Greensburg, Kansas. After being devastated by a tornado, the town enlisted the support of various corporate sponsors and enlisted the help of the non-profit studio 804 of the University of Kansas to help rebuild the community with "green" buildings. Following is a discussion of methods of constructing "green" buildings so as to promote a more sustainable environment.