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Water usage can be minimized by using low-flow fixtures in restrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens. Dual-flush toilets allow for the user to have the option of select less water (e.g. for liquid waste) and more water (e.g. for solid waste) when flushing (See Figure Dual Flush Toilet ). These have long been in use in Europe, the Middle East and other places where water conservation is paramount. Fresh water consumption can be reduced further through the use of greywater    systems. These systems recycle water generated from activities such as hand washing, laundry, bathing, and dishwashing for irrigation of grounds and even for flushing toilets.

Dual-flush Toilet This toilet has two flush controls on the water tank. Pushing only the circular button releases half as much (0.8 gallons, 3 liters) water as pushing the outer button. Source: By Eugenio Hansen, OFS (Own work) [ CC-BY-SA-3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

Integrated design

Integrated design is a design process for a building that looks at the whole building, rather than its individual parts, for opportunities to reduce environmental impact. Incremental measures would include those approaches described above. To accomplish integrated design of a building, all parties involved in the design--architects, engineers, the client and other stakeholders--must work together. This collaborative approach results in a more harmonious coordination of the different components of a building such as the site, structure, systems, and ultimate use.

Standards of certification

Most countries establish certain standards to assure consistency, quality and safety in the design and construction of buildings. Green building standards provide guidelines to architects, engineers, building operators and owners that enhance building sustainability. Various green building standards have originated in different countries around the world, with differing goals, review processes and rating. In this section we will discuss a few examples.

A good certification system should be developed with expert feedback. In addition, it should be transparent, measurable, relevant and comparable.

  • Expert-based: Was input acquired from experts and professionals in the fields of design, construction, building operation and sustainability?
  • Transparent: Is information readily available to the public about how buildings are rated?
  • Measurable: Does the rating system use measurable characteristics to demonstrate the extent of sustainable design incorporated into the building? Does the system use life-cycle analysis to evaluate?
  • Relevance: Does the rating system provide a “whole building evaluation” rather than an evaluation of an individual design feature?
  • Comparable: Is the rating system able to compare building types, location, years, or different sustainable design features?
Comparison of Certification Systems Source: Klein-Banai, C.


Year established

Country of origin

Trans- parent


Measurable/ Uses LCA



BREEAM 1990 UK √* -
Green Globes 1996 Canada √/√
LEED 2000 US √/√ V 3.0
CASBEE 2001 Japan √/√
ENERGY STAR 1999 US # Only energy

*Only assessment prediction check lists available publicly

# Benchmarking tool developed by US EPA


The built environment is the largest manifestation of human life on the planet. Buildings have been essential for the survival of the human race, protecting us from the elements and forces of nature. However, they also consume a lot of material, energy and water, and they occupy land that might otherwise be undeveloped or used for agriculture. There are many ways to reduce that impact by building to a higher standard of conservation and reuse. There are a number of systems that can help architects, engineers, and planners to achieve those standards, and they should be selected with a full awareness of their limitations.


Fowler, K.M.&Rauch, E.M. (2008). Assessing green building performance. A post occupancy evaluation of 12 GSA buildings . (U.S. General Services Administration). PNNL-17393 Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Richland, Washington. Retrieved from http://www.gsa.gov/graphics/pbs/GSA_Assessing_Green_Full_Report.pdf

Horvath, A. (2004). Construction materials and the environment. Annual Review of Energy and the Environment, 29 , 181-204.

Humphreys, K.&Mahasenan, M. (2002). Toward a Sustainable Cement Industry. Substudy 8, Climate Change. World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Retrieved from http://www.wbcsd.org/web/publications/batelle-full.pdf

Kats, G., Alevantis, L., Berman, A., Mills, E.&Perlman, J. (2003). The costs and financial benefits of green building: A report to California’s sustainable building task force. Retrieved from http://www.usgbc.org/Docs/News/News477.pdf

Turner, C.&Frankel, M. (2008). Energy performance of LEED for New Construction Buildings, Final Report . Retrieved from http://newbuildings.org/sites/default/files/Energy_Performance_of_LEED-NC_Buildings-Final_3-4-08b.pdf

U.S. Department of Energy. (2011). Energy savers: Furnaces and boilers . Retrieved from http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/space_heating_cooling/index.cfm/mytopic=12530

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (1987). The total exposure assessment methodology (TEAM) study (EPA 600/S6-87/002). Retrieved from http://exposurescience.org/pub/reports/TEAM_Study_book_1987.pdf

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (1998). Characterization of building-related construction and demolition debris in the United States . (Report No. EPA530-R-98-010). Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/wastes/hazard/generation/sqg/cd-rpt.pdf

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2010). Green Building Basic Information. Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/greenbuilding/pubs/about.htm .

Review questions

What are the positive and negative impacts that buildings have on the environment and society?

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How can those impacts be reduced?

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What would be the advantages and disadvantages of demolishing an old building and replacing it with a new, highly “sustainable” building vs. renovating an old building to new standards?

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Questions & Answers

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Eke Reply
are nano particles real
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Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
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Application of nanotechnology in medicine
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scanning tunneling microscope
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Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
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Smarajit Reply
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