Friday, October 28, 2005

"Green" buildings as a productivity enhancement?

The "Green" building idea has been long in development. The ideal is to make the buildings in a way that they're less damaging in multiple ways. For example, not built from materials that cause the occupants sickness. Or built with passive solar heating and/or cooling features. Or installed with toilet plumbing that uses less water.

Selling green buildings with people power (By Martin LaMonica, Staff Writer, CNET News.com, Published: October 28, 2005, 4:00 AM PDT)

The idea here is that what will drive the adoption of "green buildings" is employee productivity gains. The article cites a few sources claiming productivity gains. Which makes me wonder where they might be coming from, and the article doesn't really point to the source of the productivity gains.

Clearly if a building is built so it doesn't impede the health of its occupants, then they'll be sick less often and you might spin that as a productivity gain. But how does installing solar panels on a building make the occupants more productive?

Not that I'm resisting installation of solar panels. I'd be excited to have more businesses doing so. And there can be an effect on business bottom line, because once the solar panels are paid off the company has free electricity (minus a few administrative and maintenance costs). While that affects the health of the business, how can it affect employee health?

Clean Tech Venture Forum (cleantech.com): Hosted a "venture forum" from which this article seems to have been derived.

The Cleantech Venture Network is a unique opportunity for investors and others to profitably facilitate the growth of young companies with the potential for delivering major economic, environmental and social benefits. Cleantech organizes Venture Forums, provides deal flow, publishes its Venture Monitors and offers related services to investors and entrepreneurs. In doing so, the Network will accelerate the development of the next and necessary wave of ventures.

U.S. Green Building Council (usgbc.org): A council of leaders in the building industry that promote green buildings.

Green Building Expo (http://www.greenbuildexpo.org/)

LEED building rating system

Developed by the USGBC membership, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System is a national consensus-based, market-driven building rating system designed to accelerate the development and implementation of green building practices. In short, it is a leading-edge system for designing, constructing and certifying the world’s greenest and best buildings. The full program offers training workshops, professional accreditation, resource support and third-party certification of building performance. LEED for New Construction and Major Renovations (LEED-NC), was launched in March 2000 following review by the entire USGBC membership and a national pilot testing program. LEED-NC is designed for rating new and existing commercial and institutional buildings; however, active member committees are developing criteria addressing other project types.

Liberty Property Trust (http://www.libertyproperty.com/): Is a real estate investment trust (REIT) corporation who is said in the CNET article to have committed to building and operating only green buildings. REIT's own and administer real estate for rental, so for a REIT to operate only green buildings means that decision has affected dozens or hundreds of companies. However it seems from the article this is only a pledge, as they are said to be seeking LEED certification. On Liberty Property's web site they don't discuss green buildings.

Building Investment Decision Support (http://cbpd.arc.cmu.edu/bids/) is a program developed at Carnegie Mellon University that helps someone make decisions around green building features. WARNING: The dumbasses made this specifically for Internet Exploiter.

Carnegie Mellon’s BIDS, Building Investment Decision Support, is a case-based decision-making tool that calculates the economic value added of investing in high performance building systems based on the findings of building owners and researchers around the world. The framework of multiple life-cycle variables to cost justify key design innovations within a rich data base of international case studies, and the EVA/NPV calculator that incorporates a range of financial assumptions linked to international organizations, is fully patented by U.S and Pennsylvania law as well as legally adopted by all ABSIC members.

But ... it's not all roses: LEEDing Us Astray? Top green-building system is in desperate need of repair (By Auden Schendler and Randy Udall, 26 Oct 2005, gristmagazine.com)