Keywords: sustainable architecture, green buildings, ecological design, healing building
What makes a building green?
The terms "sustainable architecture", "green building" and "ecological design" have emerged, along with a host of similar permutations, in recent practice as environmentally friendly modes of design, construction and operation geared towards producing healthy enduring communities. However, the terms are still vague and lead to much ambiguity in their implementation. This paper consolidates the current foci of sustainable architecture through a review of several projects and institutional guidelines that are geared towards achieving sustainability in the built environment. A contemporary checklist of desirable design strategies and building practices for a green building is presented. Consideration is given to attempts at ranking the importance of these strategies. While it is concluded that the implementation of green building design cannot be prescriptive, the checklist is intended to be an awareness-raising tool that provides the foundation for greater innovation in the designer's approach to building projects. The concept of a "healing building" is proposed as perhaps the next level of sustainable architecture.