We’re counting down to Earth Day 2014 on April 22. Between now and then, check back with us daily for a new reason to celebrate green building. Reason #5. Green design is good design (and good business).
Want proof that green design and good design are one in the same? Just look at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment's (COTE) 2013 Top Ten Green Projects, and stay tuned: This year's winners will be announced on Earth Day and we've got exclusive coverage in the works. Once again, this year's competition will include the COTE Top Ten Plus Award to honor a past COTE Top Ten project for its ongoing performance.
Reason #4. Sustainability is driving the market.
Green building was one niche that carried the industry through the depths of the recession and it's not slowing down as the economy heats up again. The bottom line: If you’re not going green, you’re missing out. LEED just topped 3 billion square feet of certified space, the residential green building market valuation is expected to double to nearly $100 billion by 2016, and 55% of commercial and institutional construction will be green by 2015. According to a recent report, home buyers now consider many sustainable features to be "very important."
Reason #3. You aren’t alone.
There’s an entire community supporting what you're doing. Greenbuild International Conference and Expo 2014 is 187 days away and it’s not too early to start planning how you'll spend your time when the biggest green building event of the year hits New Orleans in November. Network with like-minded professionals, learn how sustainable practices can improve your business, learn about a ton of new products at the Expo, and maybe take in a little bit of Bourbon Street, to boot. Registration opens June 1.
Simple adjustments, such as switching to energy efficient light bulbs, can have a big impact on reducing our energy footprint. Just last month, Noah Horowitz, director and senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council's Center for Energy Efficiency, Energy & Transportation Program, told ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING (a sister publication to ECOBUILDING PULSE) that there are still "3 billion screw-based sockets in U.S. homes that don’t have energy-efficient light bulbs in them." Horowitz went on to estimate that switching them out for a more efficient replacement could save as much energy as can be produced by 30 coal fired power plants. Need another example? When the world celebrated Earth Hour 2014 on March 29, citizens of British Columbia, Canada, saved 65 megawatt hours of electricity, according to energy company BC Hydro. In just 60 minutes they reduced the provincial electricity load by 1 percent, about the same as of turning off about 1.4 million lights.
Reason #1. There's still a lot of important work left to do.
High-performance building is still a growing segment of the design and construction industry, which means there remains plenty of room for innovation and improvement—and maybe even a little risk. There's a lot to be done, as we've learned through our Vision 2020 program over the last couple of years. What will you do between now and the year 2020 to promote green building not just one day a year, but every day? Take a look at what is driving this year's members of the Hanley Wood Sustainability Council. How will you change the industry?