Green building is a noble pursuit, but one that is all too often taking advantage of though greenwashing, which occurs when the ‘green’ label is applied to products, developments or ideas that do not actually deliver on eco-friendly principles.
Greenwashing is so rife in the design and building sectors due to the green halo effect that occurs when a development is perceived to be environmentally friendly, which gives that development a marked uptick in value.
The Israeli design and building arena, however, is taking pains to avoid greenwash even as it sees massive growth in green building, particularly with regard to its educational buildings.
According to Karmit Lior of the Israeli Green Building Council (ILGBC) , while all green buildings will be encouraged, only those in which designers and developers adhere to the strict LEED guidelines will be recognized as such.
“The certification practiced today isn’t indicative to the quality of the structure,” Lior said. “Not every school with an ecology program is ‘green.’”
A surge in green educational institutions in the country is based as much around encouraging green ideals for students as it is about improving the interior quality of buildings.
“Schools that incorporate green building elements and a green curriculum do more than just benefit the environment – they inspire the younger generation to practice environmental sustainability,” said ILGBC director-general Hila Beinish.
This includes creating spaces that run efficiently without the need for heavy-duty cooling methods even in the hot Israeli climate. The LEED Gold certified Kfar Saba Green School employs a ‘cave-like’ room design, which uses geothermal heating and cooling and natural ventilation while promoting solar shaded natural light.
The promotion of off-grid focused buildings offers a more holistic and rigorously green model through which the ILGBC is able to set a strict standard for educational facilities.
Growth in the Israeli green building sector is expected to continue to increase at a rapid pace, with these strong standards and highly acclaimed built green spaces setting benchmarks for future industry practices.