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Sustainable Buildings

“Sustainability” has been defined variously, as was clearly illustrated at the recent United Nations Earth Summit in Johannesburg. When discussed in the context of the impacts of buildings on the environment, its meaning is ambiguous and often distorted.

Buildings are not either “sustainable” or not. No buildings being built today are sustainable in the true sense of the word. While many guidelines exist for guiding design to improve building environmental performance, most of the available guidelines do not assess the total impact of a building on the environment. Instead, they tend to rate buildings on the basis of individual features considered “green” or “sustainable” by the designers.

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