- Low energy use - Building materials and design based on site features that help lower mechanical loads (e.g. heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting) & lowered consumption through fixture choice (e.g. LED lighting, low water flow sinks and toilets, energy start appliances, etc.)
- Energy production - renewable energy on-site, design dependent on climate
- Flexibility - how to meet immediate usability and operability needs and goals while considering potential future need and uses in design
- Resilience - ability to withstand or adapt to current and predicted natural disasters and conditions
- Designed for surroundings & community - how can a building improve the quality of the environment and the community around it? How are these features and people included in the design, construction, operation, and use?
- Consider embodied and life cycle consequences - while much of the energy consumption and pollution occur in the use phases of objects such as buildings and cars, it is still important to consider the greenhouse gas, chemical pollution, water-use, labor equity, etc. associated with the bones of your building. Is it possible to source building materials more sustainably? Can you purchase furniture and fixtures from local, minority or female-owned businesses with equitable labor practices or recycled materials? What are the operational tradeoffs between natural building materials (wood), high-energy and water embodied materials (steel and concrete), and materials that require high chemical use and can't be recycled at all or easily (custom polymers)?
- continuous monitoring to ensure that designed and modeled use and characteristics are actually what is occurring —> may need to adjust based on unpredicted occupant behavior, etc.
- Material guidelines - Living Building's Challenge Red List and FSC Guides and Databases are good places to start to find what materials introduce harmful toxins during processing or into the built structure and suppliers who meet different criteria for sustainably and equitably sourced building materials
- Passive Design in a challenging climate - RMI HQ in Colorado , in general Amory Lovins in THE energy efficient design expert
- Optimize daylighting and reflection to reduce glare and allow daylight to penetrate throughout as much of the building as possible