According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "Green building is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction."
The architect/designer attempts to maintain good quality of air, water, and earth by selecting eco-friendly designs, construction materials and practices, thus reducing any negative impacts on the built environment while improving the quality of life for the building’s occupants.
In most jurisdictions/communities, buildings only need to be designed to meet the building ordinances and code requirements for that particular area; thus, building with sustainability in mind becomes a choice, not a prerequisite. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has stated that, "Green building design challenges designers to go beyond the codes to improve overall building performance and minimize life-cycle environmental impact and cost."
There are few urban cities and communities that have started to adopt the rule of sustainable building, thinking about reducing the carbon footprint, and being more energy efficient. However, many local, state, and federal officials have not been persuaded to update these practices as a rule (as it is for fire prevention or other building practices). This leaves it up the designer, property owner, or other stakeholders to decide.
Residential and commercial buildings within the U.S. utilize 40% of total energy produced and consume 75% of electricity produced (U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2019).
The green building movement encourages structures that decrease these environmental impacts by using improved building construction, building operation and maintenance, and lifecycle considerations. These can include less construction waste (sometimes influenced by design), energy/water conservation and enriched indoor air quality.