Plan and Finance
Green, sustainable, high performance—there are many names to describe a growing trend in the commercial sector toward buildings that use less energy and fewer natural resources, have a smaller impact on the environment (directly and indirectly), and cost less to operate.
These buildings also provide healthier indoor environments for the people who live and work in them, leading to increased productivity. Indeed, high-performance buildings benefit building users, owners, communities, states, and our nation. Read more about the benefits of high-performance buildings.
Planning and financing an energy-efficient building requires careful attention to the following steps:
- Use the whole building design approach
- Evaluate the building's purpose and uses and set project goals
- Review applicable codes and standards
- Plan for building commissioning
- Explore financing options
DOE's EnergyPlus models heating, cooling, lighting, ventilating, and other energy flows as well as water in buildings. It is available for free download and can be used with a variety of graphical interfaces.
If you are serious about energy and environmental design in your project, consider applying to be LEED Certified. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certification is given by the U.S. Green Building Council and is widely recognized as a mark of excellence in green building design. For more information on LEED certification and green building design visit the U.S. Green Building Council's Web site for LEED certification.
The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), a major industry group, in partnership with ENERGY STAR® and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, offers an excellent 6-course series on energy-efficient building design. To learn more about BOMA's Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP) visit their Web site.