The design and construction of buildings that are based on low-energy use. Sustainable building designs place a strong emphasis on energy-efficiency in the design of the structure, to reduce the need for heating and cooling systems.
Typical considerations are the possibility of using solar panels or wind power. They will also look for energy savings in the physical layout, using natural light where possible to minimize the need for electric lighting and building orientation for optimal solar heating or cooling. Other considerations include water usage.
A sustainable building design will seek to minimize the need to tape into municipal water supplies, and will aim to use water at the site. This may be accomplished by using a dual water system, using non-potable water for the landscape, maintenance and toilets.
For information on sustainabale building resources, visit the EPA page on Buildings and Infrastructure Sustainability Resources.