Quality, Consequences and the Construction Industrial Complex (part 273).
I am so over the “green building” movement.
The green building movement is a bit like WWE wrestling with all the theatrics, misdirection’s and entertainment. Is it real? Or is it a way for us to outsource our thinking and worrying with the added bonus we can stand “with it” to look good?
The green building movement is not all bad. It has:
- Raised awareness of the poor performance of our existing building stock.
- Raised awareness of environmental degradation issues.
- Created over 600 Green Building certification systems worldwide.
- Created a ton of jobs in certification and continuing education for credential maintenance.
However the new “green building certifications bureaucracy” has created costs and inertia. Like all bureaucracies it now has a life of its own and its stakeholders defend it right or wrong. IMHO, a cult of “green building” is prevailing and if you criticize LEED et al, then you “do not care about the environment”!
Pearl clutching and virtue signaling aside, I think things are a lot more simple, but inconvenient than we think.
It is simple the same way dieting is simple. If you want to lose weight, then eat less and work out more, simple!
If we really do want “high performance buildings” (not green buildings) and less environmental degradation, it is simple:
- Chose the environment and pay for high performance.
- Do the high performance (right) thing e.g. triple glazing, low tolerance (high quality) construction, radiant heating & cooling, DOAS, BMS, I could go on.
- Meter, measure and manage performance of every individual building system.
- Open source all building performance data for bench marking.
Please note, third party, green building certification is not required to do any of 1 thru 4 above. Other things you do not need a third party certification to do are:
- Retro-fitting the existing building stock rather than build new. The greenest building is the one you do not knock down.
- Provide optimum IAQ for employees.
- Provide great facilities for employees.
- Use less energy.
- Reduce pollution and environmental degradation.
Oh, but it is expensive to build high performance buildings! Yes, so what! Environmental externalities are also expensive just less visible due to their being a “tragedy of the commons” phenomenon.
Price is a signal of value and a modifier of behaviour. We either;
1. do the right thing with our choices (market led solutions), or;
2. elect people who will pass laws to make us do it (enforced solutions).
The person in an air-conditioned 3,000 sq.ft. McMansion, with a pool and F150 truck in the drive who tells you they are concerned about the environment is like an over weight person ordering the double cream cake and telling themselves they have a glandular problem.
Buildings are like dieting, we know what to do, but we do not really want to do it or own the problem.
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