Sustainability's goal is to balance the needs of human development with the impact on the environment. Although, used interchangeable with being green, sustainability focuses more on the material and design rather than the recognition of and acceptance to the responsibility of individual and communal impact on the natural world. It is more than just being environmentally friendly; it considers the economic and social impact of the development. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), "Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony that permits fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations." (EPA Home, What is Sustainability? http://www.epa.gov/sustainability/basicinfo.htm) It is hoped that because of this principle, renewable, natural resources can be conserved in an effort to protect not only the environment, but human health as well.
The necessity for sustainability arose due to a rise in population growth that stimulated an overconsumption of natural resources. The primary goal of the EPA was to first and foremost control pollution, but due to community changes, they now proactively work to prevent it through extensive science and technology research. They promote human and environmental health not only through individual practices, but through the promotion of green business practices. This is supported through governmental regulations which set federal policies to "conduct environmental, transportation, and energy-related activities in support of their respective missions in an environmentally, economically and fiscally sound, integrated, continuously improving, efficient, and sustainable manner." Additionally their goals also are intended "to establish an integrated strategy towards sustainability in the Federal Government and to make reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) a priority for Federal agencies." (EPA Home, What is Sustainability? http://www.epa.gov/sustainability/basicinfo.htm.) The EPA also implements programs to inform citizens, including business owners about how to reduce the environmental impact of impending facilities as well as building newer, environmentally sustainable infrastructures that enforce energy efficient regulations for greener living. "The concept of sustainability centers on a balance of society, economy and environment for current and future health. Sustainability is the intersection of people, planet and profit, commonly referred to as the "three-legged stool." (NC State University, What is Sustainability? http://sustainability.ncsu.edu/about/what-is-sustainability)