Just as the housing sector did after 9/11, green-building is poised to become the new engine of the U.S. economy. By improving the infrastructure of many buildings through enormous energy resource savings, creating tens of thousands of jobs, stimulating consumer spending, and improving the environment in numerous ways, green-building projects could propel the U.S. into a new era of growth. Along the way, we have the potential to benefit from:
- Reducing waste streams
- Conserving and restoring natural resources
- Reducing operating costs
- Optimize long-term investment costs
- Minimize need for local infrastructure
Why Build Green?
The E.P.A. says that in 2005, buildings, like offices and public buildings, as well as housing and commercial properties, used as much as 39% of the total energy use nationwide and used as much as 69% of the total electricity consumption. In each case, residential housing accounted for more than half on this consumption. In their annual review published in 2008, The Department of Energy expected the number for total energy use nationwide to rise to 75% by 2025. In addition, in the Energy Information Administration Report published in 2008, contends that buildings in the United States contribute as much as 38.9% of the nation’s total carbon dioxide emissions with nearly a quarter of the number attributed to residential housing.
Making Green Building Choices
The only way to ensure that you know what’s going on and understand the choices you have is to find valuable and trusted resources. Many of the recent federal green-building initiatives actually get implemented at the state and local levels. The best way to learn about these is to determine what kind of building type you have and to decide what kind of green-building initiative you wish to implement. Browsing our extensive Incentives and Rebates section is a good place to start as it is state green-building-initiative-specific. For example, under the state of Florida, a program like the Florida Renewable Energy Property Tax Exemption is easy to understand and use.
Having questions answered by industry experts who specialize in green-renovation and green-retrofit industries is another good way to make sure you are getting regionally-specific information.