A sustainable building, or green building is an outcome of a design which focuses on increasing the efficiency of resource use — energy, water, and materials — while reducing building impacts on human health and the environment during the building's lifecycle, through better siting, design,construction, operation, maintenance, and removal.
Green buildings are designed to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by:
- Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources
- Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity
- Reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation
A similar concept is natural building, which is usually on a smaller scale and tends to focus on the use of natural materials that are available locally.Other commonly used terms include sustainable design and green architecture.
The related concepts of sustainable development and sustainability are integral to green building. Effective green building can lead to 1) reduced operating costs by increasing productivity and using less energy and water, 2) improved public and occupant health due to improved indoor air quality, and 3) reduced environmental impacts by, for example, lessening storm water runoff and the heat island effect. Practitioners of green building often seek to achieve not only ecological but aesthetic harmony between a structure and its surrounding natural and built environment, although the appearance and style of sustainable buildings is not necessarily distinguishable from their less sustainable counterparts.