July Blog Post: Building Green

Green building, also known as green construction or sustainable building, is the method of construction that increases a building's efficiency in its use of energy, water and materials- all while reducing negative impacts on the environment. 

Sustainable building is all about efficiency in the use of resources in the constructing, renovating, and life cycle operations of a facility.  It emphasizes using renewable materials- minimizing waste and maximizing recycling/reuse of any construction decommissioned. 

From the Contractor’s point of view, this process starts in the very beginning of the Design and Pre-construction consulting phases through collaboration with the Client. The eco-friendly result not only impacts the entity occupying the structure, but the community and planet as a whole. By being energy efficient and reducing our carbon footprint, the return on investment of these efforts are almost immeasurable. 

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  • Lower overall life cycle costs
  • Directed and integrated Design/Procurement process tailored to local market = lower transportation costs, local sourcing, more certain pricing;
  • Work environment improvement for building occupants = greater health, productivity because of indoor air quality, HVAC efficiencies and control
  • Less dependence on the Grid, more independence in energy generation;
  • Local environment improvements – Storm water control, water usage, traffic and air quality, green space and utility usage.

What it means to be "LEED Certified"

LEED stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” and is a certification program developed and run by the USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council).  It attempts to award projects of all types for how the buildings are planned, constructed, maintained and operated by a structured points system.  To classify as a LEED project and achieve some level of certification, the Owner/Design/Constructor Team must apply and report to LEED throughout the Design/Building process to have all the elements reviewed by the LEED template and approved.  There is an administrative cost to the submission and documentation, and to have the review done and be awarded the level of LEED certification. 


The 4 levels of LEED: 

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These are the achievement levels that are awarded for different categories of building elements and systems.  Many require accompanying proof of calculations of projected energy savings, local sourcing, recycling volumes, etc.

Examples of Energy Efficient Exterior & Interior Solutions:

  • Site storm water runoff control, green space, porous pavement, improvements such as bike rakes encouraging green transportation means.
  • Building envelope systems such as green roofs, reflective (TPO) roof membranes, window and window wall systems with reflective glass, sun shading, insulation values, local sourcing of structural systems including structural steel, recycled concrete, FSC wood certification.
  • Interior finishes that include low VOC paints, renewable organic flooring products, occupancy sensors and light harvesting controls for energy efficient lighting.
  • HVAC and Electrical, Building Management systems such as Geothermal wells and heat pump systems, PV Solar panels for off-grid energy generation, “blow test” for building tightness and efficiency of air changes, heating and cooling, efficient set-back controls and entry/exit vestibules.

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Sano-Rubin is committed to the concept of Green Building and Sustainability. We are a member of the U.S. Green Building Council which provides valuable resources for LEED AP exam preparation, product research and credit evaluation. Currently on staff, we have several LEED Accredited Professionals BD+C and LEED Green Associates. In addition, we have handful of staff members in training to receive their accreditation in the coming months. 



The Big Picture

The energy use and carbon footprint generated by buildings is a large percentage of the total used by humans on the planet. Green construction and smart building innovations (whether they are officially “LEED certified” or follow similar guidelines) have become economically and morally imperative.

By establishing well considered systems and economic incentives to reduce greenhouse gases and fossil fuel use, we will as a society preserve our environment, gain greater control of limited resources, and reduce our impact on climate change for the benefit of future generations.


About the Author 

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David M. Rubin was born and raised in Albany. He attended Brown University, graduating in 1975 with degrees in Civil Engineering and Economics. In 1980, he received his Masters in Management & Finance from MIT’s Sloan School and returned to Albany to join his family’s construction firm, Sano-Rubin Construction. David was the third generation of the Rubin family to head the company, having taken over as President & CEO from his father, Donald, in 1985.  Today, he fills the role of Senior Advisor having transitioned the company to the 4th generation of his family, Cousin David Hollander in 2014. 

Serving in an advisory role, David provides expert counsel to the management team across all aspects of the business. Having been with Sano-Rubin for over 37 years, he imparts valuable insight and perspective about the construction industry.



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