Make Buildings Behave Better

Professor Ted Kesik of the University of Toronto spoke at the OAA convention and pointed out that if every computer manufacturer sold sustainable green computers tomorrow, it would take only three years for the great majority to be green. If every car manufacturer sold only energy-efficient cars starting tomorrow, it would take ten years for almost all cars to be green. Yet even if every building was LEED Platinum starting tomorrow it would take a hundred years for the building stock to turn over.

According to the Economist, "The IPCC report looked at the potential for cutting emissions of carbon dioxide from all major culprits—including transport, power generation, general industry, agriculture and buildings. Despite all those exhaust-pipes and power-station chimneys, it found that the greatest potential lay with buildings."The Economist discusses the reasons that buildings are so inefficient and continue to be built that way:

-developers save money on capital costs by shifting the burden of operating costs to tenants or purchasers;

-purchasers are more interested in location, size and appearances than they are in loft insulation; (which is why architects and developers can build residential towers with floor to ceiling glass walls with an R value of about 4- it looks great but watch out in ten years!)

-"Another factor might be called the "dimes-not-dollars" problem. Companies, even households, can pay too little attention to outlays on lighting and heating. Individuals often pay by direct debit from their bank accounts. Promotions are rarely won by cutting corporate electricity bills." ::Economist
air conditioner picture from Echiner1/Flickr via economist