The terms "green building" and "sustainable development" are ubiquitous these days in the construction industry,but what do they really mean? In 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Development drafted a definition of sustainability that has become the standard:

Sustainable development meets the needs ofthe present, without compromising the ability offuture generations to meet their own needs.

Thus, green building attempts to reduce thematerials, energy consumption, emissions, andwaste associated with the materials manufacturing,construction, operation, and deconstructionof a building -- in other words, its entire life cycle.

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