More than any other human endeavor, the design of homes and buildings shapes our relationship with energy and the environment. In the United States, buildings use one-third of all the energy consumed, and roughly two-thirds of all electricity. Our buildings generate 30% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and 30% of waste output. For a new generation of architects, the challenge is to design “green buildings.” This means buildings that maximize energy efficiency and renewable energy, minimize waste and pollution, and increase the health, safety, and comfort of the people who live and work in them.

After reviewing your role (at right), choose the relevant team category below:



Each group, including the judging panel, consists of the following five experts (A–E). Research your area of expertise using the questions below as a starting point:

A. Land Use

• How does your building prevent soil erosion, manage stormwater, and protect or restore open space?

• How does your building support transportation options, such as public transit, bicycles, alternative fuel vehicles, and adequate parking?

• How does your building site enhance the local community?

B. Water Efficiency

• How does your building utilize landscaping to reduce the use of water?

• How does your building incorporate technology that reduces the use of water?

• How does your building re-use or recycle waste water?

C. Energy Use

• How does your building maximize energy efficiency?

• How does your building integrate renewable energy?

• How does your building encourage the purchase of “green power,” electricity from renewable energy sources.

D. Materials

• How does your building incorporate recycled or re-used materials?

• How does your building incorporate sustainable materials?

• How does your building recycle waste products?

E. Indoor Environment

• How does your building incorporate daylight and views for its occupants?

• How does your building ensure a comfortable temperature for its occupants?

• How does your building incorporate non-toxic paints, carpet, furniture, and sealants?

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