Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Really green buildings are far too rare

What is a green building? Here's a quote from Time's Chevy sponsored blog post that sums it up perfectly:

If it meets standards for water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality, it can be certified by a nonprofit called the U.S. Green Building Council. The council created its LEED (which stands for leadership in energy and environmental design) certification in 2000 in response to the demand for standardization in the blooming area of green architecture, says Linda Sorrento, director of education and research partnerships. The platinum LEED rating is given to buildings that can minimize their energy dependence by incorporating green principles from the ground up--say, by picking a location near mass transit and using recycled material in construction. Only 41 office buildings in the U.S. are LEED certified at the platinum level, so chances are you don't work in one. You'll know if you do because your employer will have shared the news discreetly on billboards and in full-page newspaper ads.

So why are there so few truly green buildings?

1)It's nearly impossible to retrofit existing buildings to meet the standards, especially since some of the requirements have to do with location relative to transportation.
2)The information is just not out there to encourage businesses to seek this certification
3)Sky high real estate costs in prime "green" areas mean less companies can afford to build there
4)There is no real financial incentive to build completely green, although that is changing

Even if you can't qualify for Platinum Green status, you can still make your company greener with the right building materials and energy technologies. Watch this blog for specific ideas to move your building towards a greener future.