The Deseret News recently ran an article about saving energy from building "green" office complexes. I think it sounds like a great idea.
"We need to educate CEO's, COO's, brokers and investors about why they should be thinking about green," said Jeppeson, who is president of Salt Lake City-based Green Earth Development. "It's not just about being good for the environment."The implication here, I thought, was that money could be saved by the way buildings are architected. I hope this is true. In the case of at least one office tower, this is decidedly not the case.
The biggest benefits for businesses to consider environmental standards in their developments are economic, because they can pocket the savings from lower operating costs from energy efficiency and reduced maintenance.
"We can save 25 percent of operating costs, and that goes immediately to the bottom line of a developer," he said. "The value of the real estate increases tremendously."
The new Thomas Mayne designed Federal Building at 7th and Mission Streets in San Francisco is a case in point. Lauded by the New York Times as a building that “may one day be remembered as the crowning achievement of the General Services Administration’s Design Excellence program,” what some believe is the greenest federal building in the nation’s history also likely has the worst work environment. While architectural describe the building’s “sense of airiness” as “magical,” employees view working in this heat and air-conditioning free building with the wavy concrete floors and ceilings as a nightmare.It sounds like they've pretended to reduce their carbon footprint on the backs of Federal employees. Here are some of the features of the building:
- No heating or air-conditioning (as mentioned above)
- Elevators that only stop at every third floor. It remains to be seen how many employees will resort to using the disability elevator, which stops at all floors.
- People use umbrellas to block out the sun in certain portions of the building.
- The building was built for millions of dollars over budget, yet still failed to receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating.
- Employees can use the cafeteria--in the building across the street.
. . .
Here's a little something that has gotten me a tad nervous about the green movement, though.
Global Green USA establishes collaborative partnerships with local governments, affordable housing organizations, and other public and private entities to facilitate the development, adoption, and implementation of sustainable policies, programs, and practices. These partnerships inform and direct education, policy development, and advocacy efforts at the local, state, and federal levels. Global Green USA also partners with housing developers and public agencies to 'green' select affordable housing projects.Rather, I agree with Don Fitz.
Don Fitz is not a fan of green building. At least not the type he perceives the current green building vogue to represent: a movement by green architects, activists and politicians to promote building practices and "eco-techniques" with a narrow focus that do little to address the underlying environmental problems.I don't mind Global Green working with private entities to suggest new ways to build more energy-efficient buildings.
He laments the fact that politicians in particular rarely demonstrate any real concern towards global warming, often choosing just to hitch their rides to the green bandwagon in order to bask in the positive glow it brings.
It's this collaboration with government, government, and government in order to compel greenness that seems a little creepy.