by James Bedell
As one of the founders and leaders of Build2Sustain I am constantly trying to advocate for the business case for green building renovation. I do this for two reasons, the first, because I believe in it. Efficiency is at the heart of good capitalism and we need our built spaces to be more efficient to compete. I also make the argument because, frankly, I think it’s the one people outside of the “green” movement will listen to. It’s hard sometimes to make the argument about stopping climate change; it’s easier to defend someone’s wallet. But I want to make something clear, there is a moral imperative for every building to be a green building. Here’s the bottom line: there are a limited number of resources on this planet and as the population grows we know that we’ll need to be smarter about how we use those resources.
It’s so easy to look at SUVs and make them the target of our environmental ire. It also gives people a simple point of attack. Celebrities drop their Hummers and get Teslas and all the sudden everything is right with the world. I wonder if their home is as efficient as their car? The buildings we live and work in are responsible for half of the green house gas emissions in the world. They are also responsible for roughly the same percentage of our energy usage. We focus intently on transportation because we feel like we can engineer our way to a solution and maybe we can, but our houses, our offices, and our malls are just as much to blame and represent a lot more work.
Our buildings can be healthier places that disturb the natural environment less and actually contribute energy to the grid instead of only pull from it. We can actually remake our building stock into a net positive for the planet if we have the will. Where do we find that will? Imagine a tomorrow where our kids don’t pay electric bills. Where our water supply is constantly recycled. Where our cars are powered by electricity pulled from our homes. A world where we don’t have to worry about air quality because of burning coal to power our offices. Imagine built spaces that make us healthier. That’s the future we can provide for our children, if we only work for it. Don’t we owe that to them?
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