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Greenbuild: Three Takeaways
Katie Weeks / ECOBUILDINGpulse / November 25, 2013
I have Greenbuilditis and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. Symptoms include sore and sometimes swollen feet from walking convention center halls; achy shoulders from carrying an oversized bag to carry convention gear; a raspy voice eerily reminiscent of Peter Brady in a well-known episode of The Brady Bunch; and a unique mix of near-total exhaustion and a sense of invigoration. It’s an affliction you can wear with pride (and can be cured with lots of sleep).
What has me so worn down yet fired up? Here’s some of what I was exposed to in Philadelphia last week:
“Green is here to stay. It’s not a fad. It’s the future.”
Judging by his remarks at the Greenbuild Opening Celebration Thursday night at Temple University, Philadelphia’s mayor Michael Nutter is one smart cookie. While he opened with admission that he recognized his place as the opener of a headliner roster of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bon Jovi, Nutter hit home with his remarks. For many years, the green building movement has been dismissed as a passing fad. No more. Green building, Nutter told a packed crowd, is now a $100 billion industry that doubles in size every three years. USGBC co-founder and CEO Rick Fedrizzi followed him up, adding that research now indicated that more people support sustainable building than those that do not.
There’s room to grow, too. At the closing plenary on Friday, Yalmaz Siddiqui, senior director of environmental strategy at Office Depot, explained that there is $15 trillion worth of institutional buying power in the United States and construction and real estate directly influences 8 percent of this amount. That’s a lot of power. Recognizing this opportunity, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced last week that it is proposing draft guidelines to green federal procurement processes, and wants public input on the proposed approached to how the government interprets and uses ecolabels and non-governmental environmental standards.
So what next? Buckle down and work harder: As recapped by Residential Architect and Architect executive editor Katie Gerfen, Hillary Rodham Clinton summed it up as this: “’Take what you know works and explain it to anyone who will listen to you.” Clinton noted that sustainability is not just about green buildings, but also about economic security, health and well-being, and “about building the kind of future we want to leave for our children.’”