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Green Building: Essential Design Strategies for a Sustainable Future
Leveraging Environmentally Efficient, Economic Solutions with Solar Insulating Glass, Ceiling Recycling Programs, and Water Conservation

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Oldcastle Glass®
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By: Barbara A. Nadel, FAIA



Use the following learning objectives to focus your study while reading this month’s ARCHITECTURAL RECORD / AIA Continuing Education article.

Learning Objective:
After reading this article, you will be able to:

1. Evaluate how to reduce environmental impact and building energy costs through sustainable design..

2. Identify performance characteristics of solar insulating glass.

3. Analyze the sustainability benefits of a recycling program for mineral fiber ceiling tiles.

4. Explain why water conservation is important to the environment.

5. Implement water conservation strategies with water efficient plumbing fixtures and valves, including high efficiency toilets, dual flush toilets, waterless urinals, and electronic faucets .

Click for Additional Required Reading

To receive AIA/CES credit, you are required to read this additional text. The following quiz questions include information from this material.

This article is available in pdf format here.


“This is an opportunity for bipartisanship, an opportunity to find our better selves, and in rising to meet this challenge, create a better brighter future – a future worthy of the generations who come after us and who have a right to be able to depend on us.”

- Former Vice President Al Gore, policy address on Solving the Climate Crisis, New York
University School of Law, September 18, 2006


Buildings have an average lifespan ranging from 50 to 100 years. Recent studies indicate that buildings are the biggest source of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn impact the world’s climate changes. Most architects know that buildings can be designed to operate with far less energy than many U.S. buildings are currently consuming. Design professionals and the building industry are developing innovative approaches to improve energy efficiency and reduce annual operating costs to building owners through advanced technology and a variety of sustainable design practices.

“Benefits such as energy, water and operational cost savings, improved air quality, and increased productivity are drawing more attention to green building issues. Congressional leaders are discussing how to best support sustainability initiatives through legislation,” says Don Horn, AIA, LEED-AP, Director, Sustainable Design Program, Office of Applied Science, U.S. General Services Administration Public Buildings Service, Seattle, Washington.

Architects are well positioned to educate the public, facility managers, building owners, and elected officials about the clear economic benefits of sustainable design. Environmental design best practices and goals are achieved through attention to proper siting, building form, glass properties and location, material selection, heating, cooling, ventilation, day-lighting, and increasingly, water conservation through efficient plumbing fixtures.


ImaxTM Theatre
Architect: Gere Dismer Architects
Courtesy of Oldcastle Glass®


“Conservation of natural resources is an imperative for the socially responsible architect. Addressing sustainability requires that we redefine boundaries of traditional practice. The idea of an isolated building on a site is no longer acceptable. Buildings belong to a larger community and must begin to support and sustain our environment,” observes Harry Warren, AIA, Design Principal, Cannon Design, Grand Island, New York.

This article will explore avenues for increasing sustainability in building design through use of solar insulating glass, recycling programs for mineral fiber ceiling panels, and water conservation strategies with efficient fixtures. Case studies from public agencies and private sector practitioners will illustrate how these principles are being applied in civic facilities, universities, nonprofit organizations, and the hospitality industry.


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