Barriers to Green Building Growth

There remain barriers to the widespread adoption of green building techniques, technologies, and systems, some of them related to real-life experience and the rest to a lingering perception in the building industry that green buildings add extra costs. Senior executives representing architectural and engineering firms, consultants, developers, building owners, corporate owner-occupants, and educational institutions have positive attitudes about the benefits and costs of green construction, according to the 2005 Green Building Market Barometer, a survey conducted by Turner Construction Company.* For example, 57 percent of the 665 executives surveyed said their companies are involved with green buildings; 83 percent said their green building workload had increased since 2002; and 87 percent said they expected green building activity to continue. However, despite an overwhelming sense that green buildings provided considerable benefits, these same executives thought that green buildings cost 13 to 18 percent more than standard buildings!

In a 2007 survey by Building Design & Construction magazine, 41 percent of construction industry participants surveyed said that green buildings added 10 percent or more to cost of buildings, even while the clear evidence is that cost increases are less than 10 percent! ┬ž I address the cost issue in Chap. 7 but one should never forget that all building decisions are fundamentally economic ones and that the added costs of high-performance buildings will continue to be an issue, until project teams figure out how to design such projects consistently with no cost increase.

*See, for a fuller explanation of the term, ecological footprint, accessed July 31, 2008. *"A Cost Curve for Greenhouse Gas Reduction," McKinsey Quarterly, February 2007,, accessed June 30, 2008.

'Turner Construction Company [online], 05.pdf, accessed March 6, 2007.

┬žBuilding Design & Construction magazine, 2007 Green Building White Paper, November 2007, at page 8. Available at, accessed July 31, 2008.

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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