Green building’s too expensive . . . (not!)

green_building_university_of_newcastle_devonshire.jpgImagine a future world of extremely efficient buildings, arranged in their environment so as to maximize passive heating and cooling, outfitted with solar panels and highly efficient windows, and geothermal heating so that they are actually net producers of electricity by day, maybe even with inspiring vistas of butterfies and bees buzzing around the native plants on their green roofs.

Yeah, but this is all liberal-claptrap pie in the sky, right? Green building would hobble the economy and America’s competitive edge, right?

Actually, that view appears to be in error.  According to the Environmental Research Web, a new survey by the World Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) reveals that:

“Key players in real estate and construction misjudge the costs and benefits of ‘green’ buildings, creating a major barrier to more energy efficiency in the building sector . . . Respondents to a 1400-person global survey estimated the additional cost of building green at 17% above conventional construction, more than triple the true cost difference of about 5%. At the same time, survey respondents put greenhouse gas emissions by buildings at 19% of world total, while the actual number of 40% is double this.”

livingroof.jpgThe new study focuses on how to promote environmentally efficient building with the ultimate goal of moving toward zero-net-energy construction worldwide. Zero-net-energy buildings reduce power and material demands through efficient design and generate at least as much energy as they consume. The WBCSD’s “Energy Efficiency in Buildings” Project aims to develop plans for achieving zero net energy use for both residential and commercial buildings. Sounds Naturally Patriotic to me. 

The full report is available here.

About Emmett Duffy

I am a Natural Patriot and an ecologist with expertise in biodiversity and its importance to human society. My day job is Professor of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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One Response to Green building’s too expensive . . . (not!)

  1. from the ground up, building green is not much more expensive, especially with advances in design and materials. The long term benefits are the lower overall operation costs of a bulding over time.