April 26, 2019

What Is Sustainability In Building Design?

Whether you’re designing a new building or renovating a current structure, there’s more to a building than just getting the job done fast. Today, more organizations are requesting green building techniques, with innovative methods that blend efficiency, affordability, durability and style. When we look at the specifics of what constitutes sustainability in building design, it will vary from building to building, but some overarching concepts apply.

Approximately 40 percent of the world’s carbon emissions come from buildings. More and more companies are implementing green building design to reduce that statistic and maximize sustainable ROI.  What is the right sustainability building design for your enterprise?

Sustainable Commercial Building Design Considerations

Durable, Yet Sustainable Exteriors

Many sustainable exteriors are specifically designed to withstand the elements, while helping to give new buildings a modern look. For example, fiber cement siding, made of reinforced cement, can help to protect your building from impact, termites and rot. In addition, plant-based reinforced cement exteriors have unique fireproof properties.

Eco-Friendly Interiors

According to the WBDG Sustainable Committee, “environmentally preferable materials reduce impacts on human health and the environment, and contribute to improved worker safety and health, reduced liabilities, and reduced disposal costs.” Optimizing building space and utilizing environmentally-friendly interior materials, such as wood cladding or engineered flooring, bring a modern look for designers who want to add value and functionality.

Solar Energy

Solar energy, whether rooftop, parking canopy or ground-mount, is both sustainable and cost-effective. Not only does solar reduce carbon emissions and cut utility costs, solar can provide an opportunity for businesses to profit. If excess energy is collected, organizations can sell it back to their provider to really maximize ROI.

Other Sustainable Building Design Factors

There are many ways to make a building more sustainable beyond the three mentioned above. Other sustainable options building owners can adopt include:

  • Responsible site location
  • Water conservation features
  • Efficient operation and construction methodologies
  • Environmentally-friendly product choices
  • Minimal energy consumption (wind, water, lighting, etc.)


For more information, read about the 6 Fundamental Principles of Sustainable Building Design.

Demand is High for Sustainability In Building Design

City landscapes are getting a new look as a result of green design. As cities grow and buildings age, green building designs for new construction and sustainable retrofits are transforming urban streets. According to a recent report, LEED certifications are at an all-time high for office buildings among the 30 largest U.S. metro areas. Roughly 11.5% of these buildings had an Energy Star label, and 5.2% were LEED-certified.

Last year, Chicago (70%) had the most green certifications; followed by San Francisco (64%), Atlanta (58%), Los Angeles (56%) and Minneapolis (55%). According to the report, the top five states for LEED-certified buildings included: Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington, New York and Texas.

Integrate Sustainable Designs in Your Building Project

In addition to sustainable design in new construction, green building retrofits can often be a more cost-effective choice, with just as many benefits. Whether it’s the cost-savings benefits from investing in solar or enhancing indoor environmental quality through temperature control and air quality, KMB Design Group has helped clients nationwide implement the right sustainable design solutions to fit their unique needs.

Are you ready to put energy into your project? Contact the engineers at KMB Design Group at 888-942-9401 to learn more.

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