Green Building: Considering the Commute


treehugger.comGreen building is definitely one of the subjects we like to discuss most here at Grid, which is why we get so excited when we see others spreading the word about sustainable building practices. A Chicago Tribune article posted on earlier this month explored a side of green building outside of the normal talk on solar panels, efficient heating/cooling systems, and green roofs. Instead, the article explored the amount of energy used by commuters to get to a building as an element that determines how sustainable a site actually is.

Part of the discussion included an overview of ASHRAE 189.1, a system developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers that is similar to LEED, but for building codes instead of building design. One of the major parts of the ASHRAE system is that a building be located in a developed area that is within walking distance of 10 different services (grocery store, bank, restaurant, etc.) transportation hubs, or apartment buildings. That way, less energy will be expended by those who use the building when they travel to work, or run personal errands.

Although measuring the carbon footprint created by individuals as they travel to and from a building is no easy task, the USGBCis hard at work on creating just that, says the article's author Julie Wernau:

But greater interest in the energy expended in commuting and other travel recently led the U.S. Green Building Council, the authors of LEED, to retool that focus. It has hired the Center for Neighborhood Technology to research a tool that can predict the energy required to travel to a building based on its location.

Using a complex formula that combines transportation and census data, the center developed a free online tool, launching in early 2011, that promises to deliver that kind of information in a matter of minutes.

Read the full article here.