The recent Earth Day gave the green revolution another shot up the arm. When Earth Day started in 1970 a large number of people (20 million people one country) had already committed to celebrate it. Since then that number has exploded to 500 million (175 countries); about 7% of the world’s population.
But even prior to 2000 “building green” still remained outside mainstream awareness – but has that changed, and for many good reasons. Elevating the profile of “Green” has been added to the agenda of movie celebrities such as Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, music stars like Radiohead and of course, political celebrities like former vice president Al Gore.
Closer to the home front, the U.S. Green Building Council has made great strides with the release of the first green building standards under its Leadership Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system for new construction, existing building operations and commercial interiors. The USGBC also created its Certified Green Professional (CGP) designation that recognizes builders, remodelers and other industry professionals who incorporate green building principles into homes without driving up the cost of construction. The National Association of REALTORS® has also validated this growing trend when they launched their new designation aptly called “Green” for Realtors®.
With buildings accounting for large amounts of land use, energy and water consumption, and air and atmosphere alteration, it’s important that we start building new eco-cities. Here are some of the buzz words and concepts that are contributing to reducing the impact of building on human health and the world we live in:
- Advanced water conservation
- Greywater and wastewater-treatment techniques
- Lush planted terraces with parapets collecting rainwater for reuse
- Air-quality-enhancing garden filled atriums
- Passive solar building design
- Heavily insulated walls, triple-glaze doors and windows
- Heat recovery ventilation systems
- Reduced surface area designs to minimize loss of heat
- Environmentally-controlled systems
- Reducing environmental degradation
So after years of doing very little and now after months of consultation with the American Institute of Architects comprehensive, new legislation is at last being introduced that is aimed at promoting energy efficiency in residential buildings. The bill would provide incentives to lenders and financial institutions to provide lower interest loans and other benefits to consumers who build, buy, or remodel their homes and businesses to improve their energy efficiency.
Living “green” isn’t an one-legislation-event or an all-or-nothing proposition. It is an evolution, a growth process, and a re-thinking of our existing patterns, habits and thoughts. Above it all we must recognize that we have a responsibility to our children to take care of the place we call earth and to preserve it for future generation.
What will you do to help?
Written by Stefan Swanepoel. For more information visit www.RETrends.com