By now, anyone remotely involved with construction has probably heard some version of the statement, “You can make green by building green.”
Sure, it's a cliché, but rings true, especially in a marketplace where being environmentally friendly can set one contractor apart from the competition. With many prominent organizations working to increase our nation's spending on sustainable building projects, there is more incentive than ever before to “go green.”
This recent Greenbuild Conference & Expo in Chicago, which showcased green products and services, had the highest attendance in its history. The event attracted national attention with its keynote speaker, former President Bill Clinton, who opened the conference with, “Going Green Is Good Economics.”
Clinton stressed the importance of adopting green practices in the U.S. “This idea is the biggest economic opportunity we have had since World War II,” he emphasized.
Clinton also acknowledged the key role of the construction industry, which is on the front lines of implementing green technology. Green building dovetails the former President's own efforts through the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) by “Applying a business-oriented approach to the fight against climate change in practical, measurable, and significant ways.” CCI created the global Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program in early 2007, providing cities and owners with money to retrofit existing facilities to reduce energy consumption.
Clinton announced several new partnerships and programs at Greenbuild. Together with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), CCI has established the Green Schools Program to reduce energy consumption. “We are honored to have partnered with the President's Climate Initiative to convene this historic effort to green our nation's schools,” said Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC's CEO.
Green Schools will work with K - 12 facilities to create new buildings and retrofit existing ones. In addition to improving students' health, green schools save money. The annual operational savings of one green school is enough to pay for 2 new teachers, 250 computers, or 5000 textbooks, according to the program's partners.
“When it comes to climate change, the hurdles we face aren't technological,” said Clinton. “They're organizational, which is why my foundation is partnering with cities, businesses, non-profits, and schools to design systems and programs that reduce energy consumption.”
Clinton predicted that within five years we will be past the point of discussing energy savings. Instead, we'll be talking about technologies for energy-positive building.
With such high-profile efforts, contractors are ideally poised to join the green movement and to enjoy its economic benefits.
World of Masonry turns green
The green movement will be taking center stage during the upcoming World of Masonry/World of Concrete, Jan. 21 - 25, in Las Vegas.
Six new green building seminars are included in the educational program:
- Green building and Sustainable Design: Impacts and Challenges
- Opportunities in Pervious Concrete: Why, How, and Where
- How to Finish Floors Containing Fly Ash
- Sustainable Masonry: LEED Design and Energy Efficient Walls
- How CO2 Emissions Are Changing the Industry
- Sustainability & Productivity: People, Process, and Product Innovation.
Attendees also will have the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge at Greensite, a new exhibit space in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Visitors will learn how the industry is making unique contributions to the green movement from contractors, producers, engineers, and designers who have successfully completed environmentally friendly projects.
Exhibitors will present groundbreaking research with live presentations, videos, and displays throughout the show.
To register for the World of Masonry/World of Concrete green seminars or to learn about Greensite, visit www.worldofconcrete.com.