Green Buildings Rising

Downtown: That’s where the fight to turn back global climate change is. The bad guys are the Jets and the Sharks and Officer Krupke (that’s a Westside Story reference) and the Crips and the Bloods (back to reality) and the cops and the robbers and the Mayor and the City Council and you and me and the guy on the corner.

But guess what: The people of the U.S., led by smart local politicians, are getting busy turning themselves into the good guys by doing what has to be done because it’s just as good for their pocketbooks as it is for their climate.  ::continue::

The widespread and rising development of green buildings in greening cities is documented in Local Leaders in Sustainability – Green Building Policy in a Changing Economic Environment, the latest report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

For all the effort and clamor about stopping deforestation – and it’s certainly important to stop it – deforestation accounts for only 17% of the world’s GhGs. 40% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (GhGs) come from buildings.

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The short answer to global climate change is not something exotic and out of reach. It’s insulation, weather stripping, efficient windows and doors, energy-saving appliances and equipment, habits that conserve heating and cooling energy and electricity, adding solar panels and small wind and using temperature-moderating geothermal and mass transit and other obvious innovations. ::continue::

While the economic downturn has slowed the growth of the New Energies and the construction industries because of slowed access to big capital, leaders in the cities of the nation have turned to Energy Efficiency and distributed small-scale New Energy like never before because it is so good for the bottom line. The costs of a green building are greater than those of traditional construction but a green building easily recoups the costs in its lifecycle and building green generates, jobs, tax revenues and supply chain business opportunities.

The ultimate goal of AIA’s report is to establish guidelines that lead to a way of life in which the concept of “building green” no longer exists because BEST building is green building.

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This post is based on New AIA study reports “green” buildings are on the rise (November 20, 2009, San Francisco Examiner)

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