Current Situation

Owners and developers of residential, commercial and institutional properties across North America are discovering that it is often possible to build green buildings on conventional budgets. Many developers, building owners and facility managers are advancing the state of the art in commercial and large residential buildings through new modeling tools, design techniques and creative use of financial and regulatory incentives. For the past ten years, in ever-increasing numbers, we have begun to see development of commercial structures using green building techniques and technologies. With more than 1,200 corporations issuing sustainability reports of some form in 2006, it is clear that this market will not be a short-lived fad. Companies want to locate in a space that reflects their values, and a highperformance building goes a long way toward satisfying that requirement.3 Most long-time participants in the real estate, architectural design and building construction industries realize that sustainable design is the biggest sea change in their business careers. The urgency of global warming and the increasing US dependence on imported fuels have led architects to urge more concerted action to reduce energy use in buildings. In late 2005 the American Institute of Architects (AIA), representing more than 70,000 architects, released a major policy statement that sets a goal of reducing the fossil fuel consumption of new buildings by 50% by the year 2010, with additional 10% reductions every five years thereafter, to reach 90% reduction from 2005 levels by 2030. While this declaration has no legal force, it does add pressure to incorporate superior energy performance into the goals for each project.4 As architect Edward Mazria observes, one can achieve a 50% reduction with existing building technology at no extra cost by simply using the right design strategies, such as proper orientation and form, daylighting, solar control and passive heating and cooling techniques.

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