March 13, 2008

Build Green Today for a Cheaper Tomorrow!

Building "green" is the fastest way to cut carbon emissions in North America, says the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC). The Commission issued a report today from its Vancouver meeting detailing how rapid market uptake of currently available and emerging advanced energy-saving technologies could result in over 1,700 fewer megatons of CO2 emissions in 2030, compared to projected emissions that year following a business-as-usual approach. A cut of that size would nearly equal the CO2 emitted by the entire US transportation sector in 2000.

The report, Green Building in North America: Opportunities and Challenges, is the culmunation of a 2 year study by the CEC Secretariat. An international advisory panel of architects and developers, sustainability and energy experts, real estate appraisers and brokers, along with governmental officials oversaw the effort. John Westeinde, chairman of the advisory panel, believes the increased construction costs will begin to be paid back immediately.

"The investments made for climate change benefit in buildings have direct payback, generally from the point of view of reduced energy costs and water costs as well the indoor health environment and increased productivity of the inhabitants of those buildings," he said in an interview with Reuters

ScienceDaily has a very good breakdown of the report numbers here. I'll post the US numbers.

In the United States, buildings account for:

40 percent of total energy use;
12 percent of the total water consumption;
68 percent of total electricity consumption;
38 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions; and
60 percent of total non-industrial waste generation.

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