Building owners, designers and constructors are seeing a rapid increase in the number of sustainably designed high performance buildings. These buildings provide numerous benefits to the owners and occupants to include improved indoor air quality, energy efficiency, and environmental site standards; and ultimately enhance productivity for the building occupants. As the demand increases for higher building energy efficiency and environmental standards, application of a set of process models will support consistency and optimization during the design process. Systems engineering process models have proven effective in taking an integrated and comprehensive view of a system while allowing for clear stakeholder engagement, requirements definition, life cycle analysis, technology insertion, validation and verification. This paper overlays systems engineering on the sustainable design process by providing a framework for application of the Waterfall, Vee, and Spiral process models to high performance buildings. Each process model is mapped to the sustainable design process and is evaluated for its applicability to projects and building types. Adaptations of the models are provided as Green Building Process Models.

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Author notes


SAIC Energy, Environment and Infrastructure, 2929 Sabre Street, Virginia Beach, VA 23452, USA, email:


Operations Research and Engineering Management, The George Washington University (GWU), Washington, DC, USA.


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering, The George Washington University (GWU), Washington, DC, USA.