With a society that is hyperfocused on saving the environment, reducing climate change, and lessening our impact on the natural world, terms with the prefixes “green” and “sustainable” are thrown around a lot. When it comes to green and sustainable building, they are often used interchangeably. But did you know that they do not have the same definition?

What is Green Building?

The U.S. Green Building Council defines it as “the planning, design, construction, and operations of buildings with several central, foremost considerations: energy use, water use, indoor environmental quality, material section and the building’s effects on its site.” (USGBC)

Green building focuses on three impact areas: environmental, economic, and social. These areas are kept at the forefront of the mind throughout the entire lifecycle of a building – design, construction, operations, maintenance, renovation, and, ultimately, deconstruction.

What is Sustainable Building?

Sustainable building or architecture is defined as “the practice of designing buildings which create living environments that work to minimize the human use of resources…providing healthy environments, improving the quality of life, and avoiding the production of waste, to preserve the long-term survivability of the human species.” (Encyclopedia.com)

What is the Difference Between Green and Sustainable Building?

Looking at these two definitions, green and sustainable building appear to be extremely similar, if not the same. The key difference comes into play when you look at the broader definition of sustainability.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that “to pursue sustainability means to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations.” (EPA) That “future generations” phrase is the key here. Focusing on future generations and our future impact means that sustainable building sets a higher standard than green building. This means that sustainable building materials are always green, but green building materials are not always sustainable.

FSC-Certified Means Green AND Sustainable

Luckily, Select Building Products is proud to offer a variety of FSC-certified wood products and building materials. This means that you never have to feel like you are compromising or choosing between green and sustainable products. Contact us to see how we can help you with our range of innovative and sustainable building products.