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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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171 Results : whole building systems

  • System Bundling > IEQ - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    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 › 33 › ieq › system-bundling
  • 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
  • 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
  • Resources > HVAC - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    The HVAC system has a tremendous impact on natural resources, through electricity...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 › 44 › hvac › resources-impact
  • O&M > Water - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    These benefits are diminished if the system is not well maintained....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 › 43 › water › o-m-impact
  • Materials & Resources - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...construction and day-to-day operations of buildings, many materials and resources are...disposed of impact the environment. Building managers and operators should follow
    https://sftool.gov › learn › about › 43 › materials-resources
  • Green Procurement - Federal Requirements - Residential Water Heaters - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Optimization System for Chiller Plants Control Optimization System for Chiller...Non-Mechanical Heat Transfer Systems Non-Mechanical Heat Transfer Systems Non-Pressure Pipes
    https://sftool.gov › greenprocurement › green-products › 24 › hvacmechanical › 1378 › residential-water-heaters › 0
  • Facility Manager > User Guides - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...the following responsibilities: I. Building & Grounds Management II. Space Management...optimizing assets Maintaining building systems and exterior surroundings Ensuring
    https://sftool.gov › green-guidance › for › 1 › facility-manager
  • Policies & Strategies - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...policies and strategies covering the whole government or entire agencies, services...high-performance buildings. Return to Agency Green Building Practices Resources
    https://sftool.gov › learn › agency-practices › 444 › iswg-policies-strategies
  • Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...described as the conditions inside the building. It includes air quality, but also...is sufficient space for occupants. Building managers and operators can increase
    https://sftool.gov › learn › about › 1 › indoor-environmental-quality-ieq
  • Financial > Water - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    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 › 42 › water › financial-impact
  • Resources > Water - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    A sustainable water system reduces not only overall water consumption but also...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 › 40 › water › resources-impact
  • Mandates / Standards > HVAC - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    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 › 13 › hvac › relevant-mandates-and-rating-systems
  • Integrative Design Process - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Assessment and Buildings LCA in Building Standards and Certification Systems LCA Example...strategies to deliver high-performance buildings on time and on budget. View Collaborative
    https://sftool.gov › plan › 261 › integrative-design-process
  • Project Manager > User Guides - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...affecting Federal buildings Find regulatory content applicable to systems projects Reference...Options (hover) Explore > Building Systems > System Bundling Plan > Cost-Effective
    https://sftool.gov › green-guidance › for › 4 › project-manager
  • Life Cycle Assessment - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Assessment and Buildings LCA in Building Standards and Certification Systems LCA Example...life cycle of materials, systems, and the whole building when making design or
    https://sftool.gov › plan › 400 › life-cycle-assessment
  • 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
  • Mandates / Standards > Water - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    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 › 22 › water › relevant-mandates-and-rating-systems
  • Additional Resources - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...research focuses on both improving building systems and influencing occupant behavior...Facility New Buildings Institute (NBI). Path to Zero-Energy Buildings Blog NewBuildings
    https://sftool.gov › plan › 423 › additional-resources
  • Keys to Success - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Assessment and Buildings LCA in Building Standards and Certification Systems LCA Example... constructing, and operating our buildings and facilities. A few keys to success
    https://sftool.gov › plan › 250 › keys-success

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