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Use the Whole-Building Design Approach


The process of creating a high-performance building is different from the conventional design/build process. You and your design team will get the best results by using the whole-building design process.

Whole-building design considers all building components and systems during the design phase and integrates them to work together. Because all the systems are interrelated, it is essential that the design team be fully integrated from the beginning of the process. The building design team can include architects, engineers, building occupants and owners, and specialists in areas such as indoor air quality, materials, and energy use. The whole-building philosophy considers site, energy, materials, indoor air quality, acoustics, natural resources, and their interrelation.

Whole-building design takes into consideration the building structure and systems and examines how these systems work best together to save energy and reduce environmental impact. For example, a building that uses extensive daylighting techniques will reduce the amount of heat given off by lighting fixtures, thus allowing for a smaller air conditioning system.

As the example shows, the whole-building design approach brings together elements like building design, energy efficiency, and solar technologies to boost energy savings and make the most of all the building's elements.

Benefits of Whole-Building Design

  • Reduced energy use, by 50% or more
  • Lower maintenance and capital costs
  • Less environmental impact
  • Enhanced occupant comfort and health
  • Higher employee productivity

U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20585
www.eere.energy.gov www.energy.gov