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What Is Green Architecture and Green Design?


The Magney House

The Magney House by Pritzker Prize-Winning Architect Glenn Murcutt

Photo © Anthony Browell courtesy of the Pritzker Prize Committee
Green architecture, or green design, is an approach to building that minimizes harmful effects on human health and the environment. The "green" architect or designer attempts to safeguard air, water, and earth by choosing eco-friendly building materials and construction practices.

Green architecture may have many of these characteristics:

  • Ventilation systems designed for efficient heating and cooling
  • Energy-efficient lighting and appliances
  • Water-saving plumbing fixtures
  • Landscapes planned to maximize passive solar energy
  • Minimal harm to the natural habitat
  • Alternate power sources such as solar power or wind power
  • Non-synthetic, non-toxic materials
  • Locally-obtained woods and stone
  • Responsibly-harvested woods
  • Adaptive reuse of older buildings
  • Use of recycled architectural salvage
  • Efficient use of space
While most green buildings do not have all of these features, the highest goal of green architecture is to be fully sustainable.
Also Known As:
Sustainable development, eco-design, eco-friendly architecture, earth-friendly architecture, environmental architecture, natural architecture
  • The Magney House: Energy-conserving home by Australian architect Glenn Murcutt
  • LEAFHouse: A vine-covered solar house designed by students from the University of Maryland
  • Katrina Cottage: Low-cost and energy-efficient emergency pre-fab housing
  • Solar-Powered Victorian: A historic inn with high-tech photovoltaic panels
  • Earth House: This home in Loreto Bay, Mexico is made with compressed earth blocks
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Green Decor- Choosing Eco-Friendly Interior Design

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