Why Create the Green Building Manual?

The legislature authorized the creation of the New Jersey Green Building Manual (C:52:27D130.6) to define baseline performance for green buildings and to provide best practice guidance to owners and builders who participate in any state program that either encourages or requires the construction of green buildings. In addition, there have been several major state and regional legislative initiatives over the last 40 years that have created the foundation for green building policy in New Jersey.

How a building is designed and operated clearly affects the users of the building, the community, and the environment. Green building aims to minimize negative environmental and human health impacts that may result from buildings, restore degraded environments, and contribute to the sustainable management of our air, energy, water and other resources. These methods provide positive and healthy environments that draw connections to more satisfying and productive economic outcomes. Adopting green building practices offers an opportunity to achieve these benefits; compared with conventional building practices, green buildings have demonstrated reductions in energy use by 30%, carbon dioxide emissions by 35%, water use by 50%, and construction waste by 50% or more (USGBC, National Research Agenda, 2007).

The barrier that the NJ Green Building Manual seeks to overcome is the slow dissemination of lessons from building-specific performance evaluations into general practice. Builders and users of green buildings have repeatedly asked to know more about what works. The information presented in the best practice strategies and case studies and underlying the compliance paths, which set a baseline of performance for green buildings in the State of NJ, were created with the objective of fulfilling this need.