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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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184 Results : whole building systems

  • System Overview > Lighting - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Developing a high-performance lighting system involves not only a successful coordination...cognizant integration with the building as a whole....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 › 1 › lighting › system-overview
  • 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
  • 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
  • Tour Sustainable Workspaces and Building Systems - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...the sustainability of materials and systems....BUILDING SYSTEMS Lighting EXPLORE Overview System Impacts Impacts Other Resources...Developing a high-performance lighting system involves not only a successful coordination
    https://sftool.gov › Explore
  • LCA in Building Standards and Certification Systems - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Assessment and Buildings LCA in Building Standards and Certification Systems LCA Example...LCA in Building Standards and Certification Systems A number of whole building
    https://sftool.gov › plan › 628 › lca-building-standards-certification-systems
  • System Bundling > HVAC - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...with other related building equipment and strategies. Building technologies work...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 › 12 › hvac › system-bundling
  • 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
  • System Overview > Water - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Sustainable water systems in commercial office buildings are considered a high...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 › 18 › water › system-overview
  • 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 Assessment and Buildings - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Assessment and Buildings LCA in Building Standards and Certification Systems LCA Example...Studies Life Cycle Assessment and Buildings As building teams attempt to assess the
    https://sftool.gov › plan › 403 › life-cycle-assessment-buildings
  • System Bundling > Lighting - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...that component with other related building equipment....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 › 4 › lighting › system-bundling
  • 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
  • Integrative Design Process > Planted Roof - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...planted roof system with the 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
  • Human Behavior > HVAC - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...behavior and interaction with the building space plays a critical component in...sustained if the occupants and HVAC systems 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 › 45 › hvac › human-impact
  • Human Behavior > Lighting - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...behavior and interaction with the building space plays a critical component in...sustained if the occupants and lighting 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 › 37 › lighting › human-impact
  • Building Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...Building Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Heating, ventilation...for approximately 44% of commercial building energy use.Source: U.S. Energy Information
    https://sftool.gov › learn › about › 571 › building-heating-ventilation-air-conditioning-hvac
  • Share - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    ...effective practices to make their buildings sustainable. Read policies, strategies...effective practices to make their buildings sustainable. Many share policies...Policies and strategies covering the whole government or entire agencies, services
    https://sftool.gov › apply
  • Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings - GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

    Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings Total Workplace Scorecard Looking...relating to high-performance sustainable buildings, as well as energy, water and environmental
    https://sftool.gov › learn › about › 631 › guiding-principles-sustainable-federal-buildings
  • 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

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