There are many definitions. Some define green buildings as indigenous architecture that utilizes local materials and design options as well as utilizes passive solar. Adobe Homesin New Mexico are often a good example of this concept.
Others define green buildings in more modern terms. Over the past 20 years, the term "green buildings" has evolved from many experiments and programs developed around the country, such as Austin's green building program.
The U.S Green Building Council has developed LEED standards for commercial buildings and has a pilot program to develop LEED standards for residential buildings. Buildings become LEED certified by including a specified green building standards for construction.
In general, many of the green building programs often include some of these general principles:
•Site Selection, Design and Preparation: Design sites to have the minimum impact upon wildlife, trees, and other natural features.
•Educate contractors on minimizing environmental impact on construction sites. Recycle remainder building materials and minimize waste as well.
•Design buildings to efficiently use natural light, building orientation to sun, and other site features.
•Select low-impact building materials whenever possible—renewable materials (ex. Bamboo) or recycled materials.
•Select building materials with low volatile organic compounds and off-gassing for healthy indoor air quality.
•Energy-efficient appliances and HVAC systems.
•Solar energy whenever possible.
•Xeriscaping or other native plants for landscaping to eliminate the use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Minimize the use of water for landscaping. Use organic gardening practices.
•Select low-maintenance building materials whenever possible to minimize the future use of building materials and lower long-term costs.
•Promote less-toxic house cleaning practices to minimize indoor air pollutants and contaminants in water runoff.
For Books on Green Building