Green building refers to a sustainable, resource-efficient, and environmentally responsible process of building. It includes siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition of a structure. Green buildings re-use existing materials; conserve water; reduce the need for artificial lighting, heating, cooling, and ventilation; and provide optimal air quality for building occupants. New construction and additions or upgrades can all incorporate green construction techniques. There are basic building efficiency upgrades that be done to improve building performance, especially in older buildings. Multiple organizations offer financial incentives for completing home improvements that result in energy efficiency and conservation upgrades. For information on available programs, please visit the Government Funding Programs page.
Additionally, there are multiple non-profit organizations that support green construction, including the following:
U.S Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (“LEED”) program. LEED is a green building tool that addresses the entire building lifecycle and provides third-party verification of green buildings. Building projects satisfy perquisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. Points may be earned from using sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and the atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation in design.
Build it Green’s GreenPoint Rated (“GPR”) program. GreenPoint Rated focuses on residential projects in California. GPR verifies that a home has been built or remodeled according to proven green standards. The GPR program has certificates for whole homes and for elements of homes (e.g., remodeling a kitchen). GPR awards points for projects across different categories that include energy efficiency, resource conservation, indoor air quality, water conservation, and community.
The International Living Future Institute's Living Building Challenge program. Living Building Challenge is a building certification program, advocacy tool, and philosophy that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment possible today and acts to rapidly diminish the gap between current limits and the end-game positive solutions we seek. The Challenge is comprised of seven performance categories called Petals: Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty. Petals are subdivided into a total of twenty Imperatives, each of which focuses on a specific sphere of influence. This compilation of Imperatives can be applied to almost every conceivable building project, of any scale and any location—be it a new building or an existing structure.
The City of Lafayette recognizes green building efforts through the annual Lafayette Awards of Environmental Excellence, more commonly known as the Lafayette Green Awards.