Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Impact of Building Green

Every positive action counts. This is the answer I give when someone asks why build green. Many times there is an assumption that if you are going to build green, you must invest your effort and money with abandon; this is not true. From my vantage point, any improvement to any portion of the building process helps the environment. According to the Brookings Institution, within the next 22 years, in the United States, there will be 34 million new housing units constructed and 23 million existing units will be replaced. Imagine the impact on the environment that any small change could make when we consider the construction of 57 million housing units. Now imagine the impact that changes to the amount of energy consumed by those 57 million units during a conservative estimate of a 50 year building life span!

The global climate, carbon dioxide, natural resource depletion and increasing energy demands are all relevant and of great concern. In the United States, approximately 40% of energy consumption is attributed to non-industrial buildings; and 32% of that 40% is in heating & cooling. So if you wish to make the largest effect for the smallest effort & investment; build a better insulated home with more efficient heating and cooling systems. Utilize natural day-lighting and perhaps even harness some of the available solar energy to produce hot water or even electricity. Small steps in aggregate will have an enormous impact.

Visit these sites to learn more about leaving a greener footprint on the world.

Bonin Architects & Associates PLLC

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