Environment Ministry launches new green building standards

Guidelines unveiled by Ministry and Israel Standards Institution expected to save families up to NIS 1,000 per year.

July 12, 2011 05:24
3 minute read.
Israel hopes to copy this Korean 'Green' building.

Korea’s National Institute of Environmental Research_311. (photo credit: Reuters)


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The Environmental Protection Ministry and the Israel Standards Institution unveiled a new “Israel Standard for Green Building” at a joint press conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday – a standard that officials from both offices said would significantly reduce electricity and resource consumption in the country’s new and renovated structures.

“A green building is a good type of building that is worth living in. It is a better quality and more economical,” said Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan in a statement. “I believe that promoting the use in the Green Building Standard will produce new building standards in Israel. Soon all homebuyers will demand that contractors adhere to the new standard.”

The new regulation, formally called “Israel Standard 5281,” will meet international standards, but is designed to fit Israel’s specific climate and construction style, and is expected to save a family living in a fourroom apartment approximately NIS 1,000 per year, the ministry said.

Among the categories to be examined under the new protocols – each of which will receive from one to five stars – are energy efficiency; land usage; water conservation; building materials; health and welfare; waste separation; transportation involved with work; construction-site management; and innovation.

Meanwhile, seven types of buildings will currently be evaluated during construction: residences; offices; educational buildings; tourism venues; health facilities; commercial structures; and public assembly buildings.

“Israel Standard 5281 is at the forefront of global green building standards and is easy to implement and understand,” Danny Goldstein, director of the Standards Institution, said in the statement. “The standard widens the possibilities of ranking green buildings and adds a system for evaluating new buildings and existing buildings undergoing renovation.”

The residential standards will begin being used on August 1, while the other six will be adopted on September 1, Avigail Dolev, head of the Standards Institution’s Green Building Program, told The Jerusalem Post following the briefing. “It is happening tomorrow,” she said, noting that next year industrial buildings and neighborhoods, as a unit, will also be included in the green building evaluations.

Avigail said that her team has been strongly influenced by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) international building certification system – particularly the organization’s program for submitting building data via the Internet, rather than in bulky forms.

“We built Internet support exactly like LEED, and all the buildings can follow guides in order to know how to fill out each category,” she said. “Then they submit all of their information to the Standards Institute.”

But, unlike the LEED system, the Israeli version will include site visits by the Green Building team from concept to completion, which will help guarantee that building contractors are being truthful about their information submissions, according to Dolev.

“We go to the building, to the site, and we check it once during the construction time and once when it’s finished,” she said. “Then we verify the correlation between their initial plans and obligations and what they have produced on the site.”

Buildings in Israel are responsible for more than 60 percent of the country’s electricity consumption, and with the help of smart planning and the implementation of new methods, technologies and green building materials as stipulated by Standard 5281, builders will be able to reduce 70% of construction waste, 10% of water use and 30% electricity use, according to the Environment Ministry.

“I view this as one of the most important days in the environmental field,” Erdan said.

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