Spokane Home Builders

Green Building -- 6 Design Principles for Building an Eco-Friendly Structure

What is a Green Building? What are the different design principles behind this revolutionary way of building safer and healthier homes and commercial structures? Here are 6 design principles that make Green Building possible.

Brief Background on Green Building

The concept of green building, also known as sustainable building or green construction, didn’t happen overnight. The concept started during the 70’s, wherein environmental pollution and the energy crisis were two of the biggest problems at that time. These issues helped fuel the desire for construction organizations to develop techniques that are environmentally safe, economical, and healthy.

The 6 Green Design Principles


Efficiency refers to the strategic use of energy and water resources. Green buildings are specifically constructed to consume less energy all throughout their lifespan. Builders make use of energy-efficient construction methods and materials, like more efficient insulation, better designed roofs and improved windows to name just a few, to make a structure truly eco-friendly.

Renewable Resources

Renewable means using resources that are replaceable—or can be harvested in less than 10 years—and naturally available to us. We could make use of solar power, hydro power, wind power, and so on. For example, you could incorporate solar tubes in your home to bring in more natural and warmer lighting.


Recycling, or the use-and-reuse concept, is also one of the guiding principles in green construction. Basically, we make use of materials that we have already used. Take denim jeans for example. These can be transformed to make effective insulation materials. Empty plastic and glass bottles could also be processed into flooring and wall tiles.


A sustainable building has to be healthy for both humans and the environment. Adhesives, for example, could cause significant impact on air quality that could affect the health of your family and construction workers. As much as possible, you should stick to adhesives that are water-based and free from solvents.


Get what you only need and use it efficiently—that’s what conservation means. And don’t forget to also observe strict compliance to building codes to protect our resources. This does not only mean choosing the right materials, but there should also be proper maintenance practices in order to prevent early destruction of a building.

Minimal Impact

Every building or home will have an impact. However, by using all these green design principles, you can reduce the impact on you, your family, on workers, and the environment. That’s why it is important to work with people who really know the ins and outs of sustainable construction.

Do You Need Certification for This?

Yes, you do. You have to get an LEED Certification to prove that your building (or home) is truly “green.” The LEED Certification was created and managed by the U.S. Green Building Council, which is found in Washington D.C. The highest possible certification that a building can get is what you call the LEED Platinum Building Certification.

Four Levels of LEED Certification

There are four levels to this—Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. During the examination, a structure is judged according to water efficiency, energy efficiency, resources, materials, indoor environment, and site sustainability. Just for clarification, LEED Certification is not only for commercial buildings, but it also covers newly constructed or renovated homes.

What’s The Cost of Green Building?

It’s really hard to give a fixed amount on the real cost of sustainable construction—precise and detailed information is still lacking. But, it is said by many that most green buildings cost almost the same, if not lower, than traditional buildings, but in reality expect to pay more for Green Building.  Factors that could affect cost are materials used, overall design, and the level of sustainability that owners want to achieve.

Green Construction Materials

Green construction materials typically follow the same principles that were mentioned above. They have to be energy efficient, recycled, produced locally (within 500 miles where you plan to construct), sustainably developed, and conserves water. It’s a good thing though that there are stores that offer green construction products, like the Natural Built Home store in Minneapolis.

Green Building involves a holistic approach. It considers everything, from the materials, site, and the people who will do the job. Supporting green construction is a great move for many people, including you; because this will help meet the needs of not only of this generation, but also of the future generation.



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