There can be little doubt that building performance is increasingly coming under scrutiny from building owners and users: much of this can be ascribed to the rising cost of services, especially energy. However, the green building movement must also take some credit for this growing awareness as I very much doubt whether the construction and property industries would have become as focused as it has in the absence of green building rating tools.
With the establishment of the green building movement the focus has now shifted to defining, and improving, building performance. The net zero energy building movement in the United States has become almost mainstream: attention is now shifting to energy plus i.e., generating more energy than is required because it has become a tradable commodity.
The promulgation of energy efficiency building regulations in South Africa is stimulating a similar development trajectory: just how energy efficient can a building be in South African conditions is a question that many researchers are focusing on. But green building is, and should be, about much more than energy efficiency.
The argument for net zero water, net zero waste, net zero emissions, and net zero ecological loss has been made in this manual in previous volumes. In addition to these fields of enquiry, are newer performance considerations such as life cycle analysis, the environmental behaviour of materials, and indoor environmental comfort.
These topics are covered in greater detail in this volume: chapters reflect current research in these fields as researchers seek to better understand the nature of the problem in order to develop high performance solutions.
In addition the experience and knowledge gained in the field by practitioners is once again covered through case studies.
As in past editions, all the chapters have been subject to review by the editor and, in the case of published research papers, by two reviewers. This is done to ensure robustness and to enable evidence-based solutions to be developed.
I trust that this edition will stimulate greater enquiry among environmental designers into the development of built environment solutions that are resilient and sustainable.