A green building is a building designed to be environmentally sustainable. It is a building that is specifically designed to minimize the amount of environmental impact through green design, construction and operation. The strategies to achieve a green building include reducing energy consumption, recycling materials for construction, water conservation, and recycling waste. There are many innovations that contribute to making a building more green including green retrofitting, solar paneling, rain collection, intelligent thermostats, light timers, insulation, composting, geothermal heating systems and more.
An LEED building certification is a green building program that is recognized internationally and provides owners/operators with a structure to implement environmentally sustainable designs and operations. An energy efficiency rating is a rating that indicates the efficiency of heating equipment and other energy using appliances and products. An EnerGuide label on many energy-consuming devices indicates the energy rating in comparison to the standard efficiency of that product/device.
A great example of a green building in the City of Thunder Bay is the SJCG Sister Margaret Smith Centre, which is an LEED Gold Certified Building. It was constructed in 2009 and designed by FORM Architecture Engineering.
It is a green building because it embodies five sustainable design strategies: daylight lighting reduced environmental footprint, water use reduction through landscaping, energy reduction, and communication of environmental vision through meetings. The building is eco-friendly while providing a calm and welcoming environment to the patients.
It has three large round roof windows that provide natural light to the interior, and low maintenance seeds and sodding to reduce irrigation. In addition the Sister Margaret Smith Centre has double- and triple- glazed low-e windows to optimize energy performance, and a flat roof that complies with energy star requirements. The building was designed around a courtyard of green space to allow light to enter regular occupied spaces, radiant floor heating system throughout and 100% fresh air displacement ventilation. The center embodies the philosophy hat a healing environment is a part of the healing process, which can be seen through it’s environmentally sustainable and relaxing design.