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Whole Building Systems Thinking

Unlike conventional design processes, where components and disciplines are treated separately, sustainable design requires an evaluation of whole systems. When retrofitting an office, consider the space as a whole. This means thinking not only about the lighting, the flooring, the windows, the HVAC system, and the furniture as separate components, but also thinking about the relationship between each of these components and the ways that those relationships create the space, and how that fits with sustainability goals.

Check out the Whole Building Systems section in Explore for information on building systems, their relationship to one another, and the integrated design team necessary to reach sustainability goals.

For example, if a project’s goal is to save energy from lighting and improve occupant comfort, it should think not only about the type of lighting fixtures needed, but also how the space will be used by the occupants, the amount of sunlight streaming through the windows at different times of year, how that light gets bounced into the space, how the light levels are controlled, and even the colors of the walls. By thinking holistically about the lighting system, rather than simply about the lighting components, a more comfortable, efficient, healthy and productive space can be created. In addition, the project “system” is nested within larger systems, such as a watershed, an air shed, a forest, a neighborhood and city, and so forth; these larger systems should also be considered. 

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49 Results : Whole Building Systems Thinking

  • LCA in Building Standards and Certification Systems - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Planning and Engagement Processes Systems Thinking Integrative Design Process Collaborative...Life Cycle Perspective (Life Cycle Thinking) Life Cycle Assessment Conducting
    https://sftool.gov › plan › 628 › lca-building-standards-certification-systems
  • Life Cycle Assessment and Buildings - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Planning and Engagement Processes Systems Thinking Integrative Design Process Collaborative...Life Cycle Perspective (Life Cycle Thinking) Life Cycle Assessment Conducting
    https://sftool.gov › plan › 403 › life-cycle-assessment-buildings
  • What is Sustainability - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...designing, constructing and operating buildings and facilities must be identified...Topics Benchmarking To benchmark a building is to measure and rate the performance
    https://sftool.gov › learn › about › 41 › sustainability
  • Integrative Design Process > Planted Roof - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...the table to think about and integrate the planted roof system with the architecture...architecture and other systems of the buildings....Waste Submetering System Overview Integrative Design Process System Impacts Resources...Resources Human Behavior Financial O&M System Bundling Mandates / Standards Resources
    https://sftool.gov › explore › green-building › section › 77 › planted-roof › integrative-design-process
  • Systems Thinking - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Planning and Engagement Processes Systems Thinking Integrative Design Process Collaborative...Life Cycle Perspective (Life Cycle Thinking) Life Cycle Assessment Conducting
    https://sftool.gov › plan › 250 › systems-thinking
  • Life Cycle Assessment - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Planning and Engagement Processes Systems Thinking Integrative Design Process Collaborative...Life Cycle Perspective (Life Cycle Thinking) Life Cycle Assessment Conducting
    https://sftool.gov › plan › 400 › life-cycle-assessment
  • Integrative Design Process - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Planning and Engagement Processes Systems Thinking Integrative Design Process Collaborative...Life Cycle Perspective (Life Cycle Thinking) Life Cycle Assessment Conducting
    https://sftool.gov › plan › 261 › integrative-design-process
  • Buildings and Health - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...Buildings and Health What is Health? Table of Contents Site Selection and Construction...Health & Wellness Standards and Rating Systems Resources Case Studies Health, as
    https://sftool.gov › learn › about › 576 › buildings-health
  • System Bundling > Water - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...the water system, consider bundling that component with other building equipment...equipment and strategies. Building technologies work best when they work together....Roof Submetering System Overview Integrative Design Process System Impacts Resources...O&M System Bundling Mandates / Standards Resources / Case Studies System Bundling
    https://sftool.gov › explore › green-building › section › 21 › water › system-bundling
  • Life Cycle Perspective (Life Cycle Thinking) - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Planning and Engagement Processes Systems Thinking Integrative Design Process Collaborative...Life Cycle Perspective (Life Cycle Thinking) Life Cycle Assessment Conducting
    https://sftool.gov › plan › 399 › life-cycle-perspective-life-cycle-thinking
  • Best Practices & Case Studies - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...make the case for high-performance building innovations is to point to others'...employed. Return to Agency Green Building Practices Resources government wide
    https://sftool.gov › learn › agency-practices › 446 › iswg-case-studies
  • Planning to build green - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...planning and engagement activities: Systems Thinking Integrative Design Process Life...Tools LCA Tools for Buildings Total Workplace Scorecard Building Certification Standards
    https://sftool.gov › plan
  • Building Operations and Maintenance Services - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Renovation, and Construction Building Systems Upgrades Building Operations and Maintenance...Maintenance Services Building Operations and Maintenance Services Table of Contents
    https://sftool.gov › plan › 268 › building-operations-maintenance-services
  • Human Behavior > IEQ - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...behavior and interaction with the building space plays a critical component in...if the occupants and planted roof system are working in tandem....Roof Submetering System Overview Integrative Design Process System Impacts Resources...O&M System Bundling Mandates / Standards Resources / Case Studies System Impacts
    https://sftool.gov › explore › green-building › section › 49 › ieq › human-impact
  • Child Care Centers - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Child Care Centers Components Whole Building Classroom Toilet Area Kitchen Laundry...HVAC Location Parking Lot Entrances Building Materials and Finishes Service/Support
    https://sftool.gov › learn › about › 502 › child-care-centers
  • Conducting a Life Cycle Assessment - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Planning and Engagement Processes Systems Thinking Integrative Design Process Collaborative...Life Cycle Perspective (Life Cycle Thinking) Life Cycle Assessment Conducting
    https://sftool.gov › plan › 401 › conducting-life-cycle-assessment
  • Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Planning and Engagement Processes Systems Thinking Integrative Design Process Collaborative...Life Cycle Perspective (Life Cycle Thinking) Life Cycle Assessment Conducting
    https://sftool.gov › plan › 402 › environmental-product-declarations-epds
  • LCA Example - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Planning and Engagement Processes Systems Thinking Integrative Design Process Collaborative...Life Cycle Perspective (Life Cycle Thinking) Life Cycle Assessment Conducting
    https://sftool.gov › plan › 629 › lca
  • LCA Key Terms - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Planning and Engagement Processes Systems Thinking Integrative Design Process Collaborative...Life Cycle Perspective (Life Cycle Thinking) Life Cycle Assessment Conducting
    https://sftool.gov › plan › 630 › lca-key-terms
  • Contracting Officer/ Procurement Professional - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Planning and Engagement Processes Systems Thinking Integrative Design Process Collaborative...Life Cycle Perspective (Life Cycle Thinking) Life Cycle Assessment Conducting
    https://sftool.gov › plan › 587 › contracting-officer-procurement-professional

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