Green Building: Essential Design Strategies for a Sustainable Future
Learning Objectives - After this course, you should be able to:
- Evaluate how to reduce environmental impact and building energy costs through sustainable design..
- Identify performance characteristics of solar insulating glass.
- Analyze the sustainability benefits of a recycling program for mineral fiber ceiling tiles.
- Explain why water conservation is important to the environment.
- Implement water conservation strategies with water efficient plumbing fixtures and valves, including high efficiency toilets, dual flush toilets, waterless urinals, and electronic faucets .
Stormwater management has been an integral component of human civilization for thousands of years. Over 4,000 years ago, early inhabitants of the Greek island of Crete designed storm drains and channels, which are still intact today. Unfortunately, as civilizations grew and became increasingly urbanized, stormwater came to be seen as a hazard and nuisance rather than a resource worthy of treatment and conservation. This resulted in urban areas plagued with polluted rivers and undrinkable water.
Irresponsible dumping combined with uncontained overland runoff led to the Cuyahoga River in Ohio catching fire at least 13 times between 1868 and 1969. The largest fire, in 1952, caused over $1 million in damage.
These fires, as well as other environmental impacts, resulted in the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970 and significant expansion and amendment of the Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1972 to establish the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), a framework for regulating the discharge of pollutants into waters of the United States. Since 1972 the NDPES permit program has evolved into a multi-tiered framework of regulations at the federal, state and local levels addressing wastewater, stormwater and other discharges of pollutants.
The Need For Regulations
Originally enacted in 1948 as the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, and later passed as the Federal Water Pollution Control Amendments of 1972, the Clean Water Act (CWA) established the framework for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters.
Plastic arch system failure beneath parking lot
Photo courtesy of Zallen Engineering
As authorized by the CWA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit Program to regulate point source water pollution from municipal and industrial wastewater discharges and stormwater discharges from an array of industrial sectors, including construction, mining, transportation, manufacturing and other similar activities. The CWA also established technology-based and water-based water pollution control strategies, in the form of effluent limitations and water quality standards, respectively.