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What is green building?

Green building, also called sustainable building or green construction, is the concept of creating structures and processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction.

Its main goals are to preserve resources like raw materials, energy and water, fight against global warming (greenhouse gases emission), minimize waste and other pollutions, and maximise the whole life-cycle performance. Sustainable building also aims to bring comfort and health to occupants by the use of materials of high sanitary and environmental quality, both for the actual construction and for the insulation.

Fundamental principles are linked to green building:

       Minimize resource consumption (energy and water efficiency)

       Maximize resource reuse

       Use renewable or recyclable resources

       Protect the natural environment

       Create a healthy, non-toxic environment 

Benefits of Green Building

The world over, evidence is growing that green buildings bring multiple benefits.

They provide some of the most effective means to achieving a range of global goals, such as addressing climate change, creating sustainable and thriving communities, and driving economic growth.

The benefits of green buildings can be grouped within three categories: environmental, economic and social.


One of the most important types of benefit green buildings offer is to our climate and the natural environment. Green buildings can not only reduce or eliminate negative impacts on the environment, by using less water, energy or natural resources, but they can - in many cases - have a positive impact on the environment (at the building or city scales) by generating their own energy or increasing biodiversity.  

At a global level:

The building sector has the largest potential for significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions compared to other major emitting sectors.

This emissions savings potential is said to be as much as 84 gigatonnes of CO2 (GtCO2) by 2050, through direct measures in buildings such as energy efficiency, fuel switching and the use of renewable energy.

The building sector has the potential to make energy savings of 50% or more in 2050, in support of limiting global temperature rises to 2C (above pre-industrial levels).

At a building level:

Green buildings certified by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) results in energy savings of 40 - 50% and water savings of 20 - 30% compared to conventional buildings in India.


Green buildings offer a number of economic or financial benefits, which are relevant to a range of different people or groups of people. These include cost savings on utility bills for tenants or households (through energy and water efficiency); lower construction costs and higher property value for building developers; increased occupancy rates or operating costs for building owners and job creation.

At a global level:

Global energy efficiency measures could save an estimated 280 to 410 billion in savings on energy spending (and the equivalent to almost double the annual electricity consumption of the United States) European Commission, 2015.

At a building level:

Building owners report that green buildings - whether new or renovated - command a 7 per cent increase in asset value over traditional buildings.


Green building benefits go beyond economics and the environment, and have been shown to bring positive social impacts too. Many of these benefits are around the health and wellbeing of people who work in green offices or live in green homes.

Workers in green, well-ventilated offices record a 101 per cent increase in cognitive scores (brain function) - Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health / Syracuse University Center of Excellence / SUNY Upstate Medical School, 2015.

Employees in offices with windows slept an average of 46 minutes more per night. Research suggests that better indoor air quality (low concentrations of CO2 and pollutants, and high ventilation rates) can lead to improvements in performance of up to 8 per cent.

Our Better Places for People project focuses on creating green buildings which are not only good for the environment, but also support healthier, happier and more productive lives.