Green & Design - May/June 2009 - (Page 56)

opinion The Hardest Part of Being Green By Thomas Schuler The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has a stated vision of “a world in which buildings consume zero net energy.” As a member of WBCSD, DuPont not only helped formulate the vision and the plans to drive it, but also has adopted it as part of its business vision. But how do we get our customers as excited as we are? sustainable building. Buildings are the largest single contributor of CO2 emissions, accounting for 40 percent of global emissions. Industry professionals believed contributions were half of that. The incremental cost of making an energy efficient building is perceived to be 17 percent, when the reality is closer to 5 percent. Most striking is that 90 percent of our industry believes that sustainable Consumers do not yet realize their power building is very or quite important, but to help move the world to a sustainable only a third are getting involved. The future. The vast majority of people number one reason for not participating? believe that “green” is all about energy Lack of personal know-how. We know it’s efficiency and recycled material. A niche important; we want to participate; but audience is willing to pay for just that, we don’t know how. while the majority demands uncompromised value, focusing simply on comfort This challenge is immense but not extraoror survival. The global recession and dinary. Try to imagine a time when the accompanying decline in oil prices will ideas that permeate our lives today were drive this internal focus even more just getting off the ground. “There is no aggressively, making the ready adoption reason anyone would want a computer of sustainable building practices even in their home,” said Ken Olson, president, more difficult. chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, in 1977. Even our own building industry appears to be conflicted. A recent WBCSD survey As a mechanical engineer, I learned of building professionals revealed many quickly that the most elegant designs important industry misperceptions about were also the simplest, but the most diffi- 56 | May/June 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Green & Design - May/June 2009

Green & Design - May/June 2009
LEED v3: A Highly Evolved Solution
Book Review
Learning Curve
Environmental Trends in Kitchen Design
The Butterfly Effect
Eastern Promise
Social Science
Retail Remedy
They Speak for the Trees
Up to the Challenge
Here Come the Lawyers
Green Gets Political
The Hardest Part of Being Green
Products: Designer’s Picks
Sources and Ad Index

Green & Design - May/June 2009