The Role of Green Building in Climate Change Adaptation
RESEARCH HANDBOOK ON CLIMATE ADAPTATION LAW, Jonathan Verschuuren, ed., 2013
35 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2012
Date Written: September 7, 2012
Climate change adaptation will require shifts from current practices and demands, adjustments to the carbon-dependent economy, and even a transformation of our fundamental values. Not surprisingly, the public dialogue on climate change adaptation has turned to building practices in response to evidence of the overwhelming pressure that today’s buildings place on energy and natural resource supplies. Through green building practices, we seek to address building design, construction, and operation in a comprehensive manner to reduce the overall environmental impact of the built environment, increase the efficiency of energy, water, and other resource use, and reduce waste, pollution, and environmental degradation. In large part, green building practices diverge from conventional building codes by identifying standards of acceptable building performance (rather than set design measurements) and make an accounting for the life cycle of materials that comprise the structure.
This essay explores strategies for adapting the building sector to climate change through the use of green building practices. The aspects of green building that are explored in this research include the use of sustainable building practices through the implementation of building efficiency standards, such as Energy Star and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and the incorporation of resource efficiency into all stages of the building process. This essay emphasizes the need for regional building priorities in building practices, as locational demands may make require particular adaptive demands on buildings. This essay also explores the value of adaptive buildings as championed in ventures such as the Adaptive Building Initiative (ABI), which aim to change buildings so that they are able to respond to environmental changes.
Keywords: green building, sustainability, climate change adaptation, environmental law, energy, natural resources, building codes, local government
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