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(8) - The Big Picture - Why is Building Green So Important?

There are plenty of good reasons to build green, apart from the environmental benefits it affords. But we want to say a word about the importance of those benefits. Environmental consciousness and Green-oriented action is no longer a left-wing, wouldn’t-it-be-nice-if concern; it has become an imperative with urgency that is relevant to all. Global climate change is now widely understood as a ticking time bomb, with about 40-50 years left on the clock.

This view is not based on a political agenda, nor a conspiracy theory like mentality – it is the product of a mounting body of research. Just as many scientists wrote papers and even books predicting well in advance that a Katrina-like disaster would soon befall New Orleans, researchers are now writing many similar articles and books that tell the likely scenario, in which carbon emissions continue to increase global warming, which eventually results in a variety of weather and topographical shifts. These changes will lead to a variety of major problems, including the seaboard advancing steadily inland, wiping out whole cities (for good), and extreme weather becoming more and more prevelant. The cumulative effect of these events will be major social and economic upheaval. This is not the sort of world most people would want to pass on to their children. Especially knowing that there is something that can be done about it.

Architect turned activist Ed Mazria and others are making the case that the most significant change that needs to occur to prevent global warming from reaching cataclysmic levels is to greatly reduce the energy use and carbon emissions related to buildings – both in their production and operation. It is a common assumption that vehicle and industry emissions are the biggest source of green house gases. But a careful analysis shows that it is in fact buildings (commercial and residential) and the building industry that are the real culprits, producing approximately 50% of carbon emissions (with industry and vehicles accounting for most of the other 50%).

The solution is green building. But how can it happen quickly enough? Clearly, it will have to occur at all levels within the industry as well as through consumer demand But according to Mazria, the group of people who can have the most far reaching and fast effect are architects. Architects are responsible for determining how a building is built and what materials/systems are to be used. They do this in consultation with a contractor and owner, but they are in a position to be able to greatly influence final decisions in this regard.

There is much more of this story to be told. We recommend visiting the site of the organization that Ed Mazria founded for more info: www.Architecture2030.org

The point we want to make here is that we at Sage view what we are doing as having a greater purpose – helping to ensure that our children grow up to inherit an earth which is not plagued by ongoing climate related upheaval. We hope you will agree, and that you will do your part by buying a green home, whether from us or from another builder.