Energy and Green Building Incentives
Buildings significantly impact our natural environment, economy, health and productivity. Nationally, buildings account for 39 percent of all primary energy use, 70 percent of electricity use, 40 percent of raw materials consumed, and 12 percent of potable water consumed. In addition, building construction, maintenance, and demolition generate 60 percent of all non-industrial waste. Given the extent that buildings affect the environment, the principle of "green building" has gathered momentum throughout the country. Gaithersburg recognizes that changing the way that buildings are designed, constructed, and operated can have a profound impact on the environment and human health and therefore encourages "sustainable" or "green" building practices to be applied in both public and private development.
What is green building?
Green building is a collection of land use, building design, construction, and operation and maintenance strategies that maximizes environmental and economic performance. For example, green building principles include environmentally-sensitive site design, conserving and reusing water, treating stormwater on-site, maximizing the use of local materials, purchasing recycled materials, optimizing energy performance by installing energy efficient equipment and systems; optimizing climatic control through site orientation and design, integrating natural day-lighting and ventilation, improving indoor air quality to enhance occupant health and comfort, and using renewable energy. At its best, green building regards a building as a system, and choices made in construction or renovation consider the overall function of the system.
What are the benefits of building green?
Incorporating sustainable design practices into the development process offers numerous environmental, economic, health and community benefits. The obvious environmental benefits include conserving natural resources, improving air and water quality, reducing solid waste, and enhancing and protecting ecosystems and biodiversity. Moreover, the health and community benefits of green building involve improving air, thermal and acoustic environments, enhancing occupant comfort and health, minimizing strain on local infrastructure, and contributing to the overall quality of life. Importantly, there is a growing body of research demonstrating the economic benefits associated with green building; including reducing operating costs, enhancing asset value and profits, improving employee productivity and satisfaction, and optimizing life-cycle economic performance.