Leaning Green: Sustainability in the New Year

January 27, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Happy New Year  everyone!

Now that we’re settling into a brand new 2009, welcoming a new U.S. leader and fresh perceptions, we can appreciate the hard work ahead for all of us in this global economy, but you can also sense the excitement and hope for a brighter future.   It’s not going to happen overnight, but it will happen.   President Obama’s inaugural message calls us to action:

“What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility,” President Barack Obama said. “A recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.”

While everyone’s dealing with the credit crunch,  wavering markets, layoffs, and overall tightening of our collective belts, I strongly believe that one area of the economy is not only stagnant or diminishing in value but growing – the green sector.

Big Views and Big Ideas Equal  Green Innovation

It used to be that “green” anything was simply a buzz word to describe individual topics – green living, green architecture, and yes, green roofs.   Sustainability was perceived as a compartmentalized ideal relating to a specific area of practice.   Of course we know that all things are connected, and sustainability itself is simply a way of life, a philosophy, a big world view, and it’s come a long way.   Now, sustainability is much more than a trend in any one field –  driving sustainability mainstream  is a manifesto of our times.

Leading the way is the need to continue investing in alternative fuels and renewable energies, and for the U.S. at least, to become more independent from foreign sources.   We need to create greener infrastructure which will lead to green jobs.   A greener economy will naturally follow, and with the proliferation of green innovations in all shapes and forms, green building will not only flourish but become the expected standard in construction.      Numerous reports and articles are discussing these outlooks for 2009, and I’ve found these particularly interesting – please feel free to share other articles, too:

Green makes good business sense
Richmond Times Dispatch, by Rex Springston, January 25, 2009

Sustainability in ’09 Reflects Robust ’08: Even in a Bad Economy, an Enormous Pipeline of Green Building Projects is Positioned to Flood the Market
CoStar Group, by Andrew C. Burr, January 24, 2009

National Studies Show Green Building as Key Part of America’s Economic Future Green Building Creates Green Jobs that Save Energy and Money
GLASS ON WEB, by USGBC, January 19, 2009 – this one’s particulary useful as it contains quotes from Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council along with figures from Turner Construction Company’s “Green Building Barometer;” McGraw-Hill Construction’s 2008 SmartMarket Report, “The Green Home Consumer;” “2008 Green Survey: Existing Buildings,” a survey jointly funded by Incisive Media’s Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com, the Building Owners and Managers Association International and the U.S. Green Building Council; a Greener World Media study on green building; and a September 2008 study from The Center for American Progress and the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

2008 Autodesk/AIA Green Index: Architects Report Increased Adoption of Green Building; Survey Shows Growing Use of Green Roofs, Renewable Energy Sources and Design Software to Improve Building Performance, November 2008

Helping the Environment Helps the Bottom Line

Going green is not only responsible, it makes good business sense, too.   And it appears this concept is also  establishing a firm trench hold in  the mainstream consciousness.   In fact, according to the AIA Green Index (see above), architects continue to cite client demand (66%) as the primary influence on their likelihood to design green buildings.   Consumers are buying green products, governments are requiring energy-efficient green buildings, and corporations are discovering the green goodwill and marketing advantages that  green operations can bring.    All this brings me to my feelings for a rosy outlook in our own Greenroof Industry.

We continue to enter case studies in The Greenroof Projects Database on a weekly basis and report on new and planned projects daily in NewsLinks, and in our view  there’s no easing up of living roof projects on the boards.  Green Roofs for Healthy Cities continues polling its corporate membership on built projects, and figures continue to rise yearly.   On a national and international level, our advertising partners as well as associates in university and business continue their research, development, and introduction  of new products and  systems.   And the increase of greenroof organizations, green building conferences and individual workshops on vegetative roofs wordwide is staggering – but all good!   Surely we all have different viewpoints but we do all have the same common interest in promoting green architecture.

I’ve voted Democrat, I’ve voted Republican, but either way in these times I feel we all need to lean a little green to advance a sustainable way of life.     Let’s all work together and create a sustainable greenroof community of collaboration.

We look forward to a momentous and robust 2009, and hope you are doing the same!

Happy Greening,
~ Linda V.