New tools roll out to improve green building plans

January 2, 2013

Planning and development tools are being released to building professionals across the nation that aim to provide resources that support green-construction efforts. For example, two researchers at the University of Minnesota Center for Sustainable Building Research have recently set up a website that aims to help both developers and consumers identify and plan green building strategies.

Twin Cities Daily Planet reports that the site will be referred to as the Minnesota Sustainable Housing Initiative (MNSHI).

"Our goal (through the sustainable building program) is to ensure that future generations have access to clean air, water, and resources that we do and utilize today," Dan Handeen, research fellow at the Center for Sustainable Building Research, told the news source.

According to the news source, the website tool will provide builders and potential homebuyers valuable resources and guides. Directions include how to avoid pollution, the direction and angular tilt of the building in regards to sunlight absorption, access to roadways and open-space designs.

"This [source] is about identifying opportunities to maximize energy potential while optimizing,"said senior research fellow and Minnesota Sustainable Housing Initiative project manager William Weber, according to the news source.

Many cities and agencies are dedicating resources to developing websites and primary resources for builders and property owners looking to increase the sustainability of a structure or project. In Washington D.C., new building regulations for projects that receive state funding were passed and now developers are required to follow various green-building practices.

In other states, eco-friendly building practices are more suggested and encouraged than enforced. For example, the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) providers developers in the greater Philadelphia area direction on best sustainability practices. The organization was established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as an Energy-Regional Innovation Cluster. It intends to work with other commercial enterprises to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and promote regional economic growth.

Various organizations and agencies across the nation are focusing their attentions on developing new resources for commercial and residential building projects. From Pennsylvania to Minnesota the emphasis on eco-friendly design has grown in the past decade and now state and federal organizations, as well as interest groups are promoting the adoption of sustainable building practices.