Since 2003 the number of cities with Green Building programs has risen by 418%.
American cities are going green and local leaders are charging ahead with innovative sustainability policies. Buildings currently account for close to one-half of all greenhouse gas emissions, and the design and construction of Green Buildings offers the opportunity to create a more sustainable future.
According to a survey report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, nine out of ten cities anticipate requiring in the next year that new city buildings be energy efficient, healthy and environmentally sustainable. Forward-looking cities are adopting Green Building Standards to provide for long term operating cost savings, to facilitate positive results for the environment, occupant health, and to practice leadership by example.
Building construction and operation requires vast amounts of resources. A study by the World Watch Institute suggests that these activities account for one-sixth of the world’s fresh water withdrawals, one quarter of its wood harvest, and 40 percent of its material and energy flows. Green Building techniques make more effective use of these resources and reduce the environmental impact of structures over their lifetime.
The American Institute of Architects reports that the U.S. building design, construction, materials, and operation consume more energy than any other part of the economy. U.S. buildings produce as much carbon emission as does the entire economies of Japan, France, and the United Kingdom combined. Additionally, 76% of all power plant generated electricity is used to operate buildings globally.
Capital E findings indicate that average savings of Green Buildings are substantial: 50-90% decrease in waste cost savings; 30-50% decrease in water use savings; 35% decrease in carbon savings; and, a 30% decrease in energy savings.
More and more, Green Building ordinances are requiring that all new construction and building improvements meet certain energy, water, roofing, and lighting efficiency thresholds. For instance, the city of Dallas recently and unanimously voted to implement numerous Green Building regulations: Commercial buildings with less than 50,000 square feet will be required to be 15% more energy efficient and use 20% less water; and, buildings with more than 50,000 square feet will be required to meet strict LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards. Dallas’ Green Building ordinances most likely will serve as a model for cities across the nation. Read More →