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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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74 Results : Whole Building Systems Thinking

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Integrative Design Process > Lighting - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...integrative design process understands that buildings, their components, and their context...representatives of the broader whole-building picture....Roof 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 › 2 › lighting › integrative-design-process
  • Integrative Design Process > HVAC - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...integrative design process understands that buildings, their components, and their context...representative of the broader whole-building picture....Roof 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 › 10 › hvac › integrative-design-process
  • 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
  • System Overview > HVAC - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are responsible for providing thermal...comfort and fresh air to building occupants. HVAC systems are often the source of...Roof Submetering System Overview Integrative Design Process System Impacts Resources...O&M System Bundling Mandates / Standards Resources / Case Studies System Overview
    https://sftool.gov › explore › green-building › section › 9 › hvac › system-overview
  • Integrative Design Process > Submetering - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...submetering team can involve the building owner, facility managers, operations...Planted Roof 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 › 87 › submetering › integrative-design-process
  • Integrative Design Process > Water - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...integrative design process understands that buildings, their components, and their context...Roof 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 › 19 › water › integrative-design-process
  • 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 > Solid Waste - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...integrative design process understands that buildings, their components, and their context...Roof 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 › 59 › solid-waste › integrative-design-process
  • Integrative Design Process > IEQ - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...integrative design process understands that buildings, their components, and their context...Roof 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 › 31 › ieq › integrative-design-process
  • 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
  • Building Certification Standards Crosswalk - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...within selected commercial building certification systems and standards that federal...Sustainable Federal Buildings (GP) and other sustainable federal building requirements...Crosswalk of Sustainable Federal Building Requirements and Certification Standards...within selected commercial building certification systems and standards that federal
    https://sftool.gov › learn › GRScrosswalk
  • 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
  • Building Water Use - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...Building Water Use Buildings are significant users of the Earth's freshwater...supply. The goal of a responsible building operator should be to encourage a
    https://sftool.gov › learn › about › 45 › building-water
  • System Bundling > Submetering - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...utility information or consumption for a system or space, however, its potential is...with centralized building automation and energy management systems....Planted Roof 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 › 89 › submetering › system-bundling
  • System Overview > Submetering - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Submetering systems capture utility and building performance data in real time...time. Well-designed submetering systems generate data that can guide management...Planted Roof System Overview Integrative Design Process System Impacts Resources...O&M System Bundling Mandates / Standards Resources / Case Studies System Overview
    https://sftool.gov › explore › green-building › section › 86 › submetering › system-overview
  • 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

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