Not all environmental news is bad

Slowly, so slowly, we’re changing the gluttonous habits that have laid the groundwork for planetary doom. Here are a couple of happy bits of news I’ve learned while reporting this past week:

• Sustainable construction is now being driven in part by major investors. Fund mangers like the ones govenring CalPERS (the California state pension) are trying to put together real estate investments made up entirely of sustainable buildings. If there’s one thing we learned from the sub-prime mortgage debacle, it’s that the demand of big investment funds motivates people to create a supply.

• The Green Building Council, which created the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification process, unveiled LEED for Homes in January.  It’s the first attempt at certifying single-family or smaller multi-family homes. Just eight months after establishing the process, they have 12,664 homes in the certification pipeline, representing half of all registered projects. There are many criticisms of  LEED, but when people apply for certification, it at least suggests that they want to construct buildings on environmentally sound principles.

• Bank of America has made a commitment that all new construction of branches and offices will be LEED-certified.

• Both Meeting Professionals International and The Association of Meeting Professionals have been meeting (who plans the meetings of the meeting planners?) to find ways to make all those conventions and annual gatherings more environmentally neutral. Among recent brain storms: Get rid of individual water bottles in favor of a single reusable water cooler.

• A recent white paper from Norm Miller of the University of San Diego analyzed Energy Star and LEED certified buildings against non-certified buildings. The paper (PDF) indicated that the greener buildings had higher occupancy rates despite charging higher rents.

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4 Responses to Not all environmental news is bad

  1. Christi says:

    I can provide some feet-on-the-ground anecdotal evidence to back this up. My father has been trying to get people interested in green construction since the 70’s and has finally gotten some significant green projects going on Nantucket, including a low-income house being built by the town. Interest in investing in energy efficient and sustainable building is moving out of the fringe.

  2. Sam says:

    It’s becoming trendy in educational institutions, too. Sometimes public schools, when they can get grants or are in wealthy districts, but mostly it’s private universities and secondary schools. Those institutions are all about publicity, and energy efficient building is damn good publicity these days.

  3. Nancy Wilson says:

    Meeting planners are indeed going green. Take a look at the Green Meeting Industry Council and the work they are up to http://www.greenmeetings.info.

    Nancy J. Wilson, CMP
    Meeting Strategies Worldwide
    Blog: http://blog.meetingstrategies worldwide.com

  4. Tyler Rhone says:

    I blog often and I genuinely appreciate your content. This article has truly peaked my interest. I am going to book mark your website and keep checking for new information about once per week. I opted in for your Feed as well.

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