Nov. 12 — According to a new poll released today by AutoDesk, only 4% of Americans surveyed know that buildings--not automobiles--are the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

“Most people don’t realize that our homes, schools, and offices are sources of tremendous opportunities--to save energy, save money, create jobs, and ultimately help preserve our climate,” Michelle Moore, senior vice president, policy and public affairs for the U.S. Green Building Council, said in a statement. “This new survey underscores how much good work can be done to raise awareness.”   
“This is especially important given that half the buildings in which Americans will live, play, and work by 2030 have yet to be built,” Jay Bhatt, senior vice president for Autodesk AEC Solutions, added in the announcement.

The Green Building Awareness survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive, also revealed that 77% of those polled believe that constructing a green or highly energy-efficient building costs more than constructing a traditional one, with 35% stating it costs a lot more.

The American Institute of Architects’ Climate Change report states that all buildings represent 48% of carbon dioxide emissions, with transportation and industry representing 27% and 25%, respectively. Meanwhile, another study funded by the state of California’s Sustainable Building Task Force says that spending as little as 2% for green design would, on average, result in lifecycle savings of 20% of the total commercial construction costs—an average of 10 times the initial investment.