Building GREEN

Feb. 1, 2005
With more than 800 people logging in to the LEED Basics for Owners, Engineers, and Design/Build Contractors Webcast we hosted in December, it is safe

With more than 800 people logging in to the “LEED Basics for Owners, Engineers, and Design/Build Contractors” Webcast we hosted in December, it is safe to say the engineering community is caught up in the green-buildings movement. Judging by answers to questions we posed in the Webcast's exit survey, most engineers are involved in green buildings because they believe the environmental issues are real. Others are involved primarily for the business opportunities. Whatever the motivating factors might be, progress toward greener buildings is progress.

Of course, engineers have been contributing to — or detracting from — the environmental friendliness of buildings since the beginning of time. Energy efficiency, indoor-air quality, acoustics, comfort, health — all are pieces of the same puzzle. We have had to learn as we have gone because every building is unique, and materials, processes, and occupant activities are forever changing. Some lessons, such as asbestos, Legionnaires' disease, and mold, have been particularly hard.

Over the last three decades, we have became acutely aware of how local environmental impacts of buildings and mechanical equipment can, when added together, lead to profound global environmental ones. Green design is an efficient means of minimizing these impacts in a uniform, holistic manner. Because owners, architects, engineers, contractors, and others are so busy and so challenged to stay abreast of developments, issues need to be simplified and addressed simultaneously. Rising to that challenge has been Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the green-building rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED has done a tremendous job of communicating and engendering many fundamental principles of green design and operations.

Again this month, HPAC Engineering presents articles and columns addressing many aspects of green buildings. Energy efficiency, moisture and mold control, life-cycle engineering, and LEED are discussed in this issue. All are pieces of the puzzle. Many more pieces (i.e., more than 100 articles and columns on green-building topics) are available at HPAC Engineering's Engineering Green Buildings “industry microsite,” which you can get to by logging on to

See this month's “From the Publisher” column (Page 7) for information on the 2005 Engineering Green Buildings Conference.

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