We’re true believers in the environmental, economic, and health benefits of building green. So when we needed to expand our office, locker room, and cafeteria space at our manufacturing plant (you should have seen us, we were bursting at the seams!), naturally we had to do it green.
What is green building?
Green building is all about creating environmentally responsible, healthy, and productive places to live and work. It involves making the best choices for the environment and for people inside the buildings every step of the way—from design, to construction, operation, maintenance, and even demolition and removal. Green buildings make efficient use of energy, water, and materials. They are inviting, comfortable, and even inspiring places to be.
How do you know a green building when you see it?
Not all green building features are flashy or obvious, but each is doing its part to make the building greener. Check out the list of green building attributes that we compiled from some of the experts, and let your imagination run wild about how you can make your favorite school, workplace, or home greener.
Why build green?
Did you know?
- Worldwide, buildings are the #1 source of global CO2 emissions, ahead of emissions from the transportation and industry sectors.
- Buildings use 40% of natural resources globally.
- In the U.S., buildings account for:
- 39% of total energy use
- 72% of electricity consumption
- 38% of CO2 emissions
- 14% of drinkable water
- 30% of our waste (as construction & demolition debris)
Everything it takes to build and operate our communities comes from the earth. Natural resources are harvested and mined for the building blocks we need—wood, concrete, steel, asphalt, plastic, and glass. Our homes, high-rise apartment complexes, businesses, schools, hospitals, and shopping centers are built from the earth's natural resources. They’re powered by even more natural resources that provide energy for heating, cooling, and ventilation; electricity for lights; water for sinks, showers, toilets, kitchens, and landscaping; and materials for equipment, furniture, and flooring.
Building green can reduce this huge environmental footprint, but if that’s not enough to convince you, there’s more! Green building saves money by reducing operating costs (for example, less money spent on energy and water bills) and improving employee productivity. (That’s right, just like well cared-for cows produce healthy milk, we believe that well cared-for yogurt makers create better yogurt!) Green buildings generally have better indoor air quality and lighting, so they’re also better for our health.
Our green building efforts
Please flip through our photo album and read about our most recent addition’s green features!
And for the hard-hat–wearing, AutoCAD-drawing, wannabe LEED AP-certified architects out there, you undoubtedly are wondering, “Is Stonyfield’s green building certified by the U.S. Green Building Council?” Here’s the scoop:
Our design team followed the U.S. Green Business Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) principles during the building’s design and construction, but we chose not to pursue LEED certification in order to invest more money into the building itself. This isn’t a criticism of LEED, just our particular choice at the time. Our architecture firm’s analysis shows that the building was designed and built to a LEED Silver Level, but of course this would have to be verified by USGBC for us to claim Silver LEED status.
Green around the edges, too
Green building isn’t about just what’s contained inside a building. How you choose to landscape, maintain the surrounding land, and manage storm water is also an important part of building green.
We’ve pioneered the use of porous asphalt at our manufacturing facility in Londonderry, New Hampshire. Click here for the fact sheet on our porous asphalt parking lot. We also worked with specialists in native plants to choose landscaping species that are native to our region, and trees that will some day grow up to shade our parking lot.
Where to learn more
The amount of information out there about green building is expanding rapidly and can be a little overwhelming. Here are a few of our favorite sources:
The website of the U.S. Green Business Council provides a long list of links to other resources, broken down by category. They include the Whole Building Design Guide, the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Green Building website, and dozens more!
Sign up for the latest news, columnists, and resources on the greening of commercial real estate by GreenBiz.com’s Greener Buildings.
Green building attributes:
Select sustainable sites
- Encourage alternative transportation
- Protect or restore habitat
- Maximize open space
- Innovative storm-water design
- Heat-island effect
- Reduce light pollution
Save water by including:
- Water-efficient landscaping
- Innovative wastewater technologies
- Fixtures & equipment that conserve water
- Reduce heating & cooling loads
- Conserve energy & manage loads
- Include on-site renewable energy
- Purchase green power
- Conduct commissioning of building energy systems
- Manage refrigerants
Conserve natural resources
- Reuse buildings
- Reduce material use
- Salvaged, recycled, or agricultural waste content materials
- Certified wood products
- Rapidly renewable materials
- Exceptional-durability or low-maintenance materials
- Divert construction waste materials from disposal
Improve indoor environmental quality
- Increase ventilation
- Use low-emitting materials
- Release minimal pollutants
- Block indoor contaminants
- Improve light quality & controllability
- Include noise control
- Improve thermal comfort
- Use daylighting
- Enhance community well-being
 This list is compiled from 2 sources: BuildingGreen.com’s Green Attributes and the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for New Construction Registered Project Checklist.