The term "regenerative" describes processes integrated into the site or building design that restore, replenish, or revitalize resources such as energy, water, air quality or even social systems.
Buildings & Outdoor Spaces that Teach
Especially suitable for higher education and K-12, buildings and sites that exemplify sustainability can be used as effective learning laboratories anywhere. Educational components can be overtly visible or integrated into the operation of the building where they can be monitored or studied.
Sustainable site and building design can help support local communities by focusing on shared spaces and resources, which can promote positive social interaction.
Growing food locally can provide communities with healthier food options while reducing energy inputs from packaging and transportation. Local food systems can also provide important educational and social tools to community members. Local agriculture systems can be integrated by planting native species and by creating green roofs and walls, indoor plants, food plots and community gardens.
Integrating the Arts into the design of sustainable sites or buildings can activate creative thinking while adding depth and aesthetic pleasure to the space. Art can also positively contribute to biophilic design elements by expressing the beauty of natural materials such as wood, stone, sand, water and other earthen materials.
+ Indoor Air Quality
Sustainable building materials and finishes exhibit low levels of toxic material off-gassing; Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can compromise Indoor Air Quality. Indoor Air Quality can be positively impacted by incorporating operable windows, which provide natural daylighting and reduce cooling costs in favorable weather.
Conservation Stormwater Management
Incorporating storm-water conservation and management design principles such as bioswales, green roofs, rain gardens, disconnected water spouts, rain barrels, and permeable pavers can greatly benefit sewer systems and storm-water run offs by preventing flooding and enabling the groundwater to be recharged.
Utilizes Solar Income
Buildings that utilize solar income can generate electricity through the use of renewable energy sources or reduce energy demands through passive solar design. Electricity generated onsite can either be consumed or sold back to the utility grid based on local Net Metering agreements.
Net Positive Energy
A net positive energy building produces more energy from renewable sources than what is consumed on average over the course of a year. This is achieved by using onsite renewable energy sources combined with sustainable design techniques that minimize energy usage such as passive solar design and highly efficient building envelopes, materials, and systems.
Net Positive Water
Rather than polluting natural water, sites and buildings can be designed to utilize, clean, and recharge rainwater. Net Positive Water sites and buildings can recharge groundwater, produce safe drinking water, and reduce the risk of flooding from excess run-off.
The use of local materials and resources can help foster a sense of identity within the community while reducing embodied energy. Local resources can include sustainably sourced wood, stone, food, and other materials.
A healthy building maximizes efficiency and productivity by operating in tandem with the surrounding natural environment, and does not pose any adverse effects upon occupants or the larger community.
Buildings and sites designed with biophilic elements promote resilient communities that are healthy and diverse. By incorporating sustainable design elements, biophilic design promotes happiness and greatly benefits the native plant and animal species of the area. These sustainable benefits create a lasting, measurable impact on residents and consumers alike.
Sustainable materials are produced using methods that provide environmental, social and economic benefits while protecting public health within the built environment. Sustainable material production considers the life cycle assessment of products throughout the entire manufacturing and usage process, from the extraction of raw materials until the final use of the product.