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Keys to Success

Sustainable design, construction, operation, and renovation are best thought of as an integrated process, rather than a collection of things. The process involves new ways of designing, constructing, and operating our buildings and facilities. A few keys to success include:

  • Think about sustainability goals and "greening" strategies as early as possible. Early planning allows you to identify synergies among potential strategies to increase their effectiveness and reduce costs and makes it easier to budget for the green elements.
  • Use a systems thinking approach. Instead of thinking about each strategy in isolation, systems thinking asks you to think about how the strategies interact, how they work together (or against one another) in the whole project, and whether there are unintended consequences. You look first at the project overall, then work toward specific strategies, such as selecting a floor covering or appliance, rather than starting with the details.
  • Use an integrative design approach. An integrative approach usually involves a team of relevant professionals and stakeholders - for a small project, this might include the facility manager, engineer, systems furniture vendor, a space planner, an interior designer, representatives of users of the space, and owner's representative. When this team works together early in the process to address space requirements, it works! For example: the paint color selected for walls should enhance the daylighting strategies, the modular furniture can allow light to penetrate the space, and the enclosures for private offices (located near the core of the building) should include enough glass to permit daylight to reach the occupant.
  • Use green building strategies that are appropriate for the project type, existing conditions, and intended use of the space. The "best" strategies for any project will vary based on the project type, goals, existing conditions, opportunities, and constraints. This Plan section helps you identify these strategies for your projects.

The Learn Section contains more information on these concepts.

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