Olympia, Wash. — According to the Washington State Department of Ecology (WSDOE), a third of all waste in landfills in the United States is construction related. The WSDOE is doing something about it by offering state-wide assistance to help cut the building waste through the department’s Green Building Group. In its Website, WSDOE proclaims, “The Green Building Group at the Washington State Department of Ecology was formed largely in response to the enormous amount of waste generated by the construction industry.” The Green Building Group does that and much more for the residents and businesses in Washington State.
The Bigger Picture
Washington State has in place a green building initiative called the Beyond Waste Plan. It is a 30-year plan for managing hazardous and solid waste throughout the state. According to their Website, the plan, “…has a clear and simple objective: eliminate wastes and toxins wherever we can and use the remaining waste as resources.” They have identified Green Building as one of the important ways to accomplish this goal. The ultimate goal is to have green building become a common practice and part of mainstream construction methods.
Green Building Group Assistance
To support the green building initiatives, the Green Building Group offers technical assistance and educational programs for nearly everyone in the state including: residents, businesses, non-for-profit organizations, and government agencies.
Green Buildings: The Basics
Green buildings, also referred to as sustainable buildings, are defined by the WSDOE as, “a structure that is designed, built, renovated, operated, or reused in an environmentally-sound and resource-efficient manner. Green building is defined by the United States Green Building Council as: Design and construction practices that significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impact of buildings on the environment and occupants…”
Buildings that are remodeled or newly constructed using environmentally sound practices and efficient resources have been found to reduce environmental impacts by reducing toxins, safeguarding waterways, and introducing healthy work and living environments.
In order to do this, the Green Building Group offers technical assistance and educational programs in the following areas:
1. Sustainable site planning: Strategies for minimizing negative site impacts.
2. Conservation of material and resources: Recommendations for selecting materials that last longer, can be recycled, reduce pollutions and cut down on waste buried in landfills.
3. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Ways to reduce building energy needs, which helps to reduce energy bills and helps to mitigate climate change.
4. Safeguarding water and water efficiency: Methods and products to take advantage of cost-effective, high-efficiency appliances and landscape management systems.
5. Indoor environmental quality: Recommendations for indoor air quality plans and management.
Building Green Helps the Economy, Too
The Green Building Group points out in the Website that in addition to the personal benefits of renovating or building with green resources, the process is establishing an economic base for the residents and businesses of Washington State. “In addition to the environmental and human health benefits, the green building sector is contributing to the emerging green economy and creating what may become hundreds of ‘green’ jobs in Washington. As energy costs climb up and continued emphasis is placed on climate change, storm-water management, and toxins reduction, the importance of having well-trained trades people to build and retrofit buildings will become even more evident.”
Contacting the Green Building Group
Planning a renovation or new construction? Go Green and check out the free resources at Washington State Department of Ecology’s Green Building Group. It will be good for you, the environment and the economy.
You can access the Website for the Washington State Department of Ecology Green Building Group here.
You also may directly contact Regional Coordinators:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-649-7224
email@example.com or 509-329-3448
firstname.lastname@example.org or 509-454-7863
email@example.com or 360-407-6351
Washington State Department of Ecology: Website
Washington State Department of Ecology, The Green Group: Website