From the materials produced to construct buildings and the energy used to operate them, buildings consume vast amounts of resources and are responsible for nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions. High-performance buildings, which address human, environmental, economic and total societal impact, are the result of the application of the highest level design, construction, operation and maintenance principles—a paradigm change for the built environment.
- Our homes, offices, schools, and other buildings consume 40% of the primary energy and 70% of the electricity in the U.S. annually.
- Buildings consume about 12% of the potable water in this country.
- The construction of buildings and their related infrastructure consume approximately 60% of all raw materials used in the U.S. economy.
- Buildings account for 39% of U.S. CO2 emissions a year. This approximately equals the combined carbon emissions of Japan, France, and the United Kingdom.
- Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors.
- Poor indoor environmental quality is detrimental to the health of all Americans, especially our children and elderly.
- Residential and commercial building design and construction should effectively guard against natural and human caused events and disasters (fire, water, wind, noise, crime and terrorism).
- The U.S. should continue to improve the features of new buildings, and adapt and maintain existing buildings, to changing balances in our needs and responsibilities for health, safety, energy efficiency and usability by all segments of society.