Creating new green buildings and refurbishing existing
T he design and development phase of a new building or a refurbishment is
the optimum time to enable it to achieve good environmental performance
and deliver the benefits of being a green building. It is also a time of high risk in
terms of ensuring that the building does in fact perform as intended. Good green
building design and delivery experience, and diligence in selecting technologies and
approaches will be critical.
Using This Guide
Following is a list of technologies and design approaches that can be employed in
a building to assist good environmental performance. The list is not exhaustive and
many of the items will not be appropriate in all circumstances. Good designers are
required to determine what specifically should be employed in each development.
This guide should be used in conjunction with the Colliers Managing Green Guide,
which provides additional technologies and approaches suited to the operation of
buildings. It will also be worth reviewing our Occupying Green Guide to understand
how to best work with the objectives of tenants.
Use the checklist to identify opportunities and begin to create a sustainability plan
for your development or refurbishment.
DevelOpInG Green | OppOrTUnITIeS
OppOrTUnITIeS FOr new DevelOpMenTS
Building Management – ensure building managers
understand how to manage and maintain all
building systems, and have the capability and
indoor environMental Quality – air
Quality and therMal CoMfort
Many of the items in this section are also great for
reducing energy, often through passive (low-technology)
capacity to do so. even the best green buildings, if approaches.
managed poorly, can become terrible buildings to
occupy. provide a Building Management Manual Mixed Mode Ventilation – natural (or passive)
that covers all environmental initiatives and ventilation system with air-conditioning system as
systems in the building. back up for when external conditions are not suitable
for comfort. Saves energy and gives occupants a
Tenant Knowledge – ensure tenants understand sense of control over their environment, which is
any non-conventional systems in the building and important to their sense of satisfaction.
have a means to ensure that all new occupants
in the building receive that knowledge. provide a Displacement Ventilation – Involves the supply
Building Users’ Guide. of air at low velocity and temperature at floor
level, letting it warm, rise and remove pollutants
Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) – Survey to above the occupants. Can provide better air
occupants after one year of occupation to quality, save energy and be coupled with raised
establish how the building is performing for them. data flooring.
Chilled Beams or Ceilings – Cool by pumping
Site chilled water through small pipes in the ceiling,
rather than blowing air through large ducts.
High Ecological Value Areas – Avoid sites with
These cool occupants more comfortably than
high biodiversity or agricultural value. preference
conventional conditioned air systems, save energy,
reusing ‘brownfield’ (previously used) sites and
support high fresh outdoor air rates, are robust
and reduce ceiling void heights.
Microclimate – Select and design sites to provide
Individual Controls – Studies have proven that a
good breezes, and suitable levels of thermal
sense of control over an indoor environment has
mass and shading for passive heating/cooling and
a big effect on an occupant’s satisfaction with it.
ventilation strategies in the building.
providing windows that can open can be effective
Soil – Minimize cut-and-fill and soil removal in doing this.
External Solar Shading – Control solar heat gains
Orientation – Orientate building and relevant into the building and possibly assist with glare
spaces within the building, to the South (in control. needs to be carefully designed according
northern Hemisphere) and the north (in to sun paths.
Southern Hemisphere). This can help with solar
Green Roofs – Soil and vegetation on the roof
heat gain and avoidance in winter and summer,
provides thermal insulation, absorbs water and
respectively, and simplify the design of facades for
solar control and glare reduction. supports biodiversity.
Insulation – In hot or cold climates, ensure good
Shading – Use adjacent buildings or trees for
shading. Deciduous trees will provide shade in building envelope insulation to keep heat out or
summer and shed their leaves in colder months in, depending on climatic requirements
to provide maximum access to natural light and Double or Triple Glazing – To optimize building
heat. envelope insulation in very cold or even hot climates.
DevelOpInG Green | OppOrTUnITIeS
indoor environMental Quality – viSual and
Many of the items in this section are also good for
Controls – Install timers to turn lights off,
occupancy sensors to turn on lights without
the use of light switches and daylight sensors
to enable dimming of perimeter lighting when
reducing energy. natural light levels are good
Daylight – Optimize with careful design of Zoning – Use small zones (ie 1,000 SF) to
window opening orientation, size, glazing type, minimize the number of lights turned on when
and solar and glare control systems. nB: lots one person enters a dark office.
of glazing (as is often advertised in real estate)
Task Lighting – Use lower ambient light levels
does not necessarily mean good natural light in a
combined with task lighting at workstations.
building, e.g. lots of glazing facing west will often
result in blinds being down and poor day lighting
Lightwells and Atria – To bring daylight into the energy – heating,ventilation and air-
building. Carefully manage sunlight intrusion, Conditioning (hvaC)
which can cause unwanted heat gain and glare.
Air-Conditioning – Avoid systems that heat
Light Shelves – Installed on windows to reflect and cool at the same time. Use smaller air-
daylight deeper inside. conditioning control zones
Low-E (Emissivity) Glazing – permits good Night Cooling – Flush the building with cooler air
daylight inside while omitting a proportion of during the night to reduce the amount of cooling
solar heat gain. the air-conditioning system needs to do the next
Reflective Surfaces – paint in white or light morning
colours to reflect light and reduce electrical Thermal Mass – Use stone and concrete to
lighting. Good for parking garages. naturally cool at night and then absorb heat
Glare – Specify glazing, blinds and fixed glare during the day, or absorb heat during the day and
screens to minimize glare from windows to reradiate it at night to warm the space.
occupants. Ground Source Heat Pumps (Geothermal) –
Connection to Outside – enable good views pump water through a long loop of pipe buried
to outside or at least a daylight source, such as in the ground to use the stable cool temperature
an atrium. narrow floor plates are helpful with below the ground to pre-cool water for an air-
this and are legislated in parts of europe. Aim for conditioning system.
occupants to be within 7 or 8m of a glazing line. Absorption Chillers – Uses heat to drive a
Noise Levels – Avoid both high background chilling system for air-conditioning. Can be fitted
noises (from outside or inside) and high to co-generation systems (called ‘tri-generation’)
intermittent noises that stand out above to use the heat produced.
background noise levels, e.g. in a quiet office,
noises such as a mobile phone ring or footsteps
seem much louder and distracting, and some
energy – other
gentle background (‘white noise’) might be Gas Cogeneration – Gas turbines produce
needed to mask these. electricity with low greenhouse gas emissions,
and the heat from the turbine is collected and
used, e.g. for building heating or a swimming pool.
energy – lighting
Solar Hot Water – provides very cost-effective
Office Lighting – Use T5 Triphosphur fluorescent hot water
lamps with high-frequency ballasts (less flicker) in
high-efficiency fittings. Avoid incandescent bulbs Renewable Systems – Systems such as
and low voltage downlights (unless new high- photovoltaic cells, solar thermals, micro-hydro and
efficiency models) and explore leD as the costs micro-wind turbines are increasingly becoming
reduce over time. Aim for less than 1.5 watts per more cost-effective and may suit particular
meter 2 per 100 lux (SI unit of illumiance and projects.
luminous emittance). Internal Stairs – provide for reduction of
elevator use and also social interaction value
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Fittings, Fixture and Appliances – ensure
efficiency, e.g. use tap flows of 2.5 liters of water
per minute compared to conventional rates of
Tenant Improvements – see Tenant Improvement
checklist in Occupying Green guide. This includes
10-12 liters of water per minute. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) – Avoid
Toilets – Upgrade to efficient dual flush models, these air-polluting emissions from some materials,
e.g. 6/4.1l flushes, 6 liters for solids, 4.1 liters for such as composite timber products (e.g. MDF
liquids. and particle board), carpet and underlay,
adhesives, paints and furniture upholstery.
Waterless Urinals – Install those that use a
chemical or oil trap and do not have a water Timber – Use Forest Stewardship Council
supply pipe. (FSC)-certified timber. This is a global and highly
regarded standard for sustainable timber and
Rainwater – Collect on roofs for use in toilets
timber products. Otherwise, use plantation or
recycled timbers. Do not use rainforest timbers
Greywater (waste water without feces) – or timbers that may be supplied through the
Collect, process and re-use for toilet flushing or black market.
PVC – Avoid due to toxicity in production and
Blackwater (waste water with feces) – Collect, other lifecycle impacts. Substitute pipes, cables,
process and re-use for toilet flushing or irrigation. etc. with other more benign plastics, such as
Stormwater – Minimize discharge from site by HDpe (High-density polyethylene)
using retention tanks, and maximizing permeable Recycled Content and Recyclability – Choose
landscaping surfaces and ability of the site to materials with a high recycled content and/or
absorb. that can easily be recycled after use. This helps
Plants – Use species that require little water, drip ‘Close the loop’ on materials. Otherwise, choose
irrigate below the ground surface and use soil those that are biodegradable and so return to
moisture sensors. the ecosystem. Design for disassembly, meaning
that materials can easily be separated for reuse
or recycling at the end of their current use. This
WaSte often means mechanical rather than chemical
Shell and Core – provide office space with no
finishes that a tenant might have to replace on Flexibility – Design for flexibility to enable the
occupation. building to adapt to different uses over time with
Operational Recycling – provide central and
floor-by-floor spaces for recyclables collection Maintenance – Use materials that require
and storage. minimal maintenance over their life cycle.
Construction – Minimize waste on site through Construction waste – Design and document
recycling off-cuts and reusing as much material to minimize wastage in construction, e.g. use
(such as demolition rubble) as possible. standard product sizes.
Public Transport – locate close to hubs that
provide frequent services to a wide range of
Construction – ensure appropriate construction
practices to avoid any air, water, land and noise
Bicycles – provide storage and changing facilities Site Pollution – remediate any existing pollution.
Small Car Parking Spaces – provide to
encourage small car use.