WSJ Enterprises Blog

Putting reality in real estate and green building

Changing Green Building to Common Sense Building

USGBC 2008 Incentive Award winner for education was Ying Hua of Cornell University. My lecture to her class on “Understanding Green Building  Certifications” last week went very well and I was amazed at how bright her students were and how eager they are to learn. I was welcomed warmly and can’t wait to continue with the next lecture.

During our class discussion of the current state of green building and the influx of tax incentives, both for green education and buildings, it has become apparent that green building really should be called common sense building.  If the Cash for Clunkers program was such a success by giving away $4500 for you to spend $18,000 on a new car, imagine the success a program to give you a check for $1200 per year by spending $8000 on a new high-efficiency furnace would produce.  Throw out that old boiler and water heater both and replace them with a new boiler and hot water storage only tank and save $100.00 per month in lower heating costs. That’s $1200 per year for approximately the next 22 years. Add new windows, insulation, sealing gaps and cracks in foundations and the building envelope and we start talking big money. And since money talks it becomes common sense to do those things that will not only save you money, but allow you to be more sustainable at the same time.

The key phrase is;  You need to educate to create the incentive for green building! If people don’t understand it they aren’t going to do it. Too many people see green building as a premium, an extra, an added cost that won’t bring any payback, is too difficult, takes too much time and effort. The definition of intelligence is behavior modified by experience. We all need to experience the benefits before we will start to act more intelligently in our sustainable practices.

I welcome my recent LEED Green Associate course graduates to spread the word on green building benefits. The next semester class begins soon. 



November 9, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments