Sustainability Defined

Sustainable Means …

When we use the word “sustainable” we mean homes that are designed to reduce the overall environmental impact during and after construction in such a way that we can meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. We accomplish this by:

  • Efficiently using energy, water, land and other resources
  • Protecting occupant health
  • Reducing greenhouse gases, pollution, waste and environmental degradation


Here are some of the ways that Sustainability has been defined by expert groups worldwide:

Sustainable Development

“Sustainable development is development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
(United Nations Bruntland Commission Report)

Sustainable Housing

“A sustainable house is one that uses energy and material more effectively both in production and operation while polluting and damaging natural systems as little as possible.”
(Green Building and Sustainability, John Straube, p.6)


Other definitions used for energy efficiency and net zero:

Energy Efficient Housing

“An energy-efficient home retains the best quality living environment for its occupants living while minimizing the consumption and waste of energy.”
(Dennis Crook, 2006)

Net Zero Energy Home

“A net-zero energy home is capable of producing, at minimum, an annual output of renewable energy that is equal to the total amount of its annual consumed/purchased energy from energy utilities.”
(The Net-Zero Energy Home (NZEH) Coalition, 2010)

Net Zero Energy Emissions or Zero Carbon Building

“In Europe, a Zero Energy Building is generally defined as one with zero net energy emissions. Under this definition the carbon emissions generated from on-site or off-site fossil fuel use are balanced by the amount of on-site renewable energy production. Other definitions include carbon emissions generated by the building in use, as well as those generated in the construction of the building and the embodied energy of the structure.”
(Zero-energy Building, F. Miller, A. Vandome, J. McBrewsters, 2009)