The Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Israel Standards Institution have launched a new green building standard which complies with international standards and is adapted to Israel's climatic conditions and construction methods.
It is expected that an Israeli family residing in an average four room apartment, built according to the green building standard, will save thousands of shekels a year, based on electricity and water savings alone. Additional savings cannot be quantified but include a rise in the quality of life and health of the residents, due to the use of natural, toxic free materials.
Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said: "A green building is a building in which it is good and worthwhile to live. It is a higher quality building and more economical. I believe that promoting the use of the green building standard will create a new standard for building in Israel. Soon all purchasers of apartments will demand that contractors comply with the new standard."
Mr. Danny Goldstein, director of the Standards Institution of Israel, added: "Israel Standard 5281 is at the forefront of green building standards in the world and is easy to implement and understand. The Israeli standard widens the possibilities of ranking a green building and adds a system for evaluating existing buildings for renovation and retrofit."
Israel's new green building standard includes five quality levels ranging from one star to five stars. Buildings will be ranked based on compliance with threshold levels and will be checked for the following, among others, in order to determine compliance with the requirements:
Was the building planned so as to save water use?
Was a waste separation system planned for the building?
Was the building planned for energy savings?
Was the building constructed from materials which are not harmful to the health of the residents?
The new standard is composed of a series of standards which define green building in Israel and include eight fields: energy, land, water, building materials, health and welfare, waste, transport, construction site management and innovation. The standard relates to different types of buildings: residences, offices, educational buildings, tourism, health facilities, commerce and public assembly buildings. Moreover, it applies both to new buildings and to buildings undergoing substantial renovation.
The standard was written by leading experts in Israel, including representatives of academic institutions, the business and professional sector, government ministries and planners and builders, with the help of international green building experts.
Major efforts will be invested in a support and instruction system for integrating the standard in the construction sector, including a website, Help Desk, forum and more. The Standards Institution of Israel has opened a hotline for stakeholders for the sole purpose of helping stakeholders implement the standard: 1-800 – 646646.
Quality of Life, Health and Economic Savings
Buildings in Israel are responsible for more than 60% of the country’s electricity consumption. With the help of wise planning and the implementation of green methods, technologies and materials in building, it is possible to reduce some 70% of the construction and building waste, some 10% of the water consumption and some 30% of the electricity consumption. Green buildings are therefore expected to significantly reduce electricity and water expenses of both households and industry.
Furthermore, a home or office built according to green building standards will afford a person a higher quality of life both indoors and outdoors due to the provision of open space and water-thrifty plants in garden areas, access to public transportation, bicycle paths and parking, etc.
Israel has already begun to take steps to implement the standard in different sectors, using government as an example by incorporating the standard in new government buildings through the Government Housing Administration. At the same time, steps will be taken to promote green building through a public information campaign to raise public awareness, professional training of contractors and builders, and academic training and instruction.