Homes, Green Buildings,
Green Communities and Green Cities
and Edited By
Boise, Idaho: Global
Affairs Publishing Company
P. O. Box 16184. Boise, Idaho 83715
Copyright © 2009 of Written Text and Electronic Text by Michael L. Chadwick.
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1. The Climate Change Debate Heats Up
2. A New Paradigm Shift Transforms the World
3. The Re-emergence of the Natural World
4. Eco-Design Becomes Fashionable
5. The Green Building Movement
6. Natural Building Materials Hit the Market
7. Energy Savings Becomes Popular
8. Solar Power Lights up the World
9. Wind Power Blows the Carbon Based Economy Away
10. Geothermal Power Warms the Green Building Movement
11. Ocean Power Waves the Way
12. Natural Gas Lights the Way
13. LEEDS Leads the Way
14. New Green Building Codes Set New Standards for the
15. Green Design Components - Green Roofs and
16. Green Developers Transform the Building Industry
17. Green Homes Lower Your Carbon Footprint
18. Green Buildings Lower Your Carbon Footprint
19. Green Communities Lower Your Carbon Footprint
20. Green Cities Lower Your Carbon Footprint
21. The Rise of Sustainable Cities
22. Developing Your Green Team
23. A Bright New Green Future
24. Conclusion – Warning - Owner's Beware
Each day millions of tons of chemicals, gases and toxins are
spread throughout the land, air and water on the earth. The planet’s atmosphere
is full of air pollutants; the lakes, streams, ponds, rivers and oceans are
full of deadly toxins and chemicals that are destroying millions of life forms;
pure drinking water is now becoming a global challenge for millions of people;
and the land is being bombarded with chemicals that are killing the microscopic
life forms in soil and polluting the groundwater which flows into streams,
rivers and the oceans of the world. Every life form on earth is under siege.
It is imperative that individuals, families, business and
government leaders work together to alter the life-threatening effects of
climate change and global pollution. The future of all life forms and the earth
itself is hanging in the balance. We must confront these challenges today
otherwise, there will be no tomorrow.
The challenges of climate change and global pollution are
creating a new awareness of the delicate eco-systems that work in harmony
throughout the planet. All life forms depend upon clean air, pure water and
nutrient rich soil for life to grow on earth. It is important for individuals,
families, businesses and government entities to measure their carbon footprint
and design ways to save energy and lower the CO2 and GHG emissions that are
spreading throughout America and the entire world and threatening all life
It is imperative that people of all ages learn about the
impact of climate change on the earth and how they can lower their carbon
footprint through a series of important changes in their lifestyles. The
purpose of this volume is to encourage the creation of new green homes, new green
buildings, new green communities and new green cities.
Climate Change Debate Heats Up
On February 25, 2009 President Barack Obama used his first
speech to a Joint Session of Congress to call for a cap and trade bill to spur
economic recovery in the United States by providing an incentive for companies
to start producing more wind turbines, solar panels and electric powered
"To truly transform our economy, to protect our
security, and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to
ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy,"
President Obama said in his address. "So I ask this Congress to send me
legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the
production of more renewable energy in America. That's what we need."
The climate change crisis in the world presents both a
global challenge and a global opportunity. The challenge will be to move away
from a fossil fuel-based economy, known as the brown world. The opportunity
will be to create a new green global economy and a new green world order based
upon alternative energy sources and renewable energy sources.
The brown world is dominated by the large multinational oil
companies which have invested trillions of dollars in oil exploration,
refineries, oil tankers, transportation vehicles and gasoline stations
throughout the world. These giant global companies have created a world economy
that is based upon carbon producing fossil fuels. The goal of the brown world is
to further dependence upon fossil fuels and to control the world economy.
The global addiction to fossil fuels will only lead to a
continuance of natural resource wars in key areas of the world where oil and
natural gas reserves are stored deep beneath the earth’s surface.
Prize – The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power
The brown world has existed since the days of Standard Oil
Company. In 1991 Daniel Yergin published in massive study of the petroleum
industry. His classic book was entitled, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil,
Money and Power. In the preface, he stated:
“Though the modern history of oil begins in the latter half
of the nineteenth century, it is the twentieth century that has been completely
transformed by the advent of petroleum. In particular, three great themes
underlie the story of oil.
Rise of Modern Capitalism
“The first is the rise and development of capitalism and
modern business. Oil is the world’s biggest and most pervasive business, the
greatest of the great industries that arose in the last decades of the nineteen
century. Standard Oil, which thoroughly dominated the American petroleum
industry by the end of that century, was among the world’s first and largest
multi-national enterprises. The expansion of the business in the twentieth
century –encompassing everything from wildcat drillers, smooth-talking
promoters, and domineering entrepreneurs to great corporate bureaucracies and
state-owned companies-embodies the twentieth-century evolution of business, of
corporate strategy, of technological change and market development, and indeed
of both national and international economies. Throughout the history of oil,
deals have been done and monumental decisions have been made – among men,
companies, and nations – sometimes with great calculations and sometimes almost
by accident. No other business so starkly and extremely defines the meaning of
risk and reward- and the profound impact of change and fate.
“As we look toward the twentieth century, it is clear that
mastery will certainly come as much from a computer chip as from a barrel of
oil. Yet the petroleum industry continues to have enormous impact. Of the top
twenty companies in the Fortune 500, seven are oil companies. Until some
alternative source of energy is found, oil will still have far reaching effects
on the global economy; major price movements can fuel economic growth or,
contrarily, drive inflation and kick off recessions. Today, oil is the only
commodity whose doings and controversies are to be found regularly on the
business page but also on the front page. And, as in the past, it is a massive
generator of wealth - for individuals, companies, and entire nations. In the
words of one tycoon, ‘Oil is almost like money.’
Battles to Control the World’s Oil Reserves
“The second theme is that of oil as a commodity intimately
intertwined with national strategies and global politics and power. The
battlefields of World War I established the importance of petroleum as an
element of national power when the internal combustion machine overtook the
horse and the coal-powered locomotive. Petroleum was central to the course and
outcome of World War II in both the Far East and Europe.
“The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor to protect their flank
as they grabbed the petroleum resources of the East Indies.
“Among Hitler’s most important strategic objectives in the
invasion of the Soviet Union was the capture of the oil fields in the Caucasus. But America’s predominance in oil proved decisive, and by the end of the war
German and Japanese fuel tanks were empty.
“In the Cold War years, the battle for oil between
international and developing countries was a major part of the great drama of
de-colonization and emergent nationalism.
“The Suez Crisis of 1856, which truly marked the end of the
road for the old European imperial powers, was as much about oil as about
“‘Oil power’ loomed very large in the 1970s, catapulting
states heretofore peripheral to international politics into positions of great
wealth and influence, and creating a deep crisis of confidence in the
industrial nations that had based their economic growth upon oil. And oil was
at the heart of the first post-Cold War crisis of the 1990s – Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.
“Yet oil has also proved that it can be fool’s gold. The
Shah of Iran was granted his most fervent wish, oil wealth, and it destroyed
him. Oil built up Mexico’s economy, not only to undermine it. The Soviet Union - the world’s second largest exporter – squandered its enormous oil earnings
in the 1970s and 1980s in a military buildup and a series of useless and, in
some cases, disastrous international adventures. And the United States, once
the largest producer and still its largest consumer, must import half of its
oil supply, weakening its overall strategic position and adding greatly to an
already burdensome trade deficit – a precarious position for a great power.
A New World Order Emerges
“With the end of the Cold War, a new world order is taking
shape. Economic competition, regional struggles, and ethnic rivalries may
replace ideology as the force of international – and national – conflict, aided
and abetted by the proliferation of modern weaponry. But whatever the evolution
of this new international order, oil will remain the strategic commodity,
critical to national strategies and international politics.
“A third theme in the history of oil illuminates how ours
has become a ‘Hydrocarbon Society’ and we, in the language of anthropologists,
‘Hydrocarbon Man.’ In the first decades, the oil business provided an
industrializing world with a product called by the made-up name of ‘kerosene’
and known as the ‘new light,’ which pushed back the night and extended the
“At the end of the nineteenth century, John d. Rockefeller
had become the richest man in the United States, mostly from the sale of
kerosene. Gasoline was then only an almost useless by-product, which sometimes
managed to be sold for as much as two cents a gallon, and when it could not be
sold at all, was run out into rivers at night. But just as the invention of the
incandescent light bulb seemed to signal the obsolescence of the oil industry,
a new era opened with the development of the internal combustion engine powered
by gasoline. The oil industry has a new market, and a new civilization was
“In the twentieth century, oil, supplemented by natural gas,
toppled King Coal from his throne as the power source for the industrial world.
Oil also became the basis of the great postwar suburbanization movement that
transformed both the contemporary landscape and our modern way of life. Today,
we are so dependent on oil, and oil is so embedded in our daily doings, that we
hardly stop to comprehend its pervasive significance. It is oil that makes
possible where we live, how we live, how we commute to work, how we travel –
even where we conduct our courtships. It is the lifeblood of suburban
“Oil (and natural gas) are the essential components in the
fertilizer on which world agriculture depends; oil makes it possible to
transport food to the totally non-self-sufficient megacities of the world. Oil
also provides the plastics and chemicals that are the bricks and mortar of
contemporary civilization, a civilization that would collapse if the world’s
oil wells suddenly went dry.
War Erupts Over Fossil Fuels and Climate Change
“For most of this century, growing reliance on petroleum was
almost universally celebrated as a good, a symbol of human progress. But no
longer. With the rise of the environmental movement, the basic tenets of
industrial society are being challenged; and the oil industry in all its
dimensions is at the top of the list to be scrutinized, criticized, and
opposed. Efforts are mounting around the world to curtail the combustion of all
fossil fuels – oil, coal, and natural gas – because of the resultant smog and
air pollution, acid rain, and ozone depletion, and because of the specter of
“Oil, which is so central a feature of the world as we know
it, is now accused of fueling environmental degradation; and the oil industry,
proud of its technological prowess and its contribution to shaping the modern
world, finds itself on the defensive, charged with being a threat to present
and future generations.” (The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power.
New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991, pp. 13-15.)
Resource Wars Will Flourish
The major global corporations reap hundreds of billions of
dollars in profits from the brown economy. They will use every strategy and
tactic in their arsenal to keep it alive and well. Their goal is to uphold and
promote a world order and world economy based upon fossil fuels. They will
seek to undermine the green economy at every turn. One of their latest
strategies is to purchase new green technology companies and control their
products and services.
If you look at a geologic map of the world’s natural
resources, then you will be able to determine where future wars will occur as
the advanced large multinational oil and gas companies seek to control the flow
of oil and natural gas through the use of the military-industrial-intelligence
complexes that exist in each of the G-9 nations.
Green World Order
On the other hand, the green world is being promoted by tens
of thousands of entrepreneurs throughout America and the world who are creating
new companies which promote the use of alternative energy sources and renewable
energy sources to solve the climate change crisis and to end the dependence of
nations upon foreign oil and natural gas. The goal of the new green world and
the new green economy is to produce a healthier, cleaner world for all people
and all life forms on earth.
Oil Companies Foster War to Seize Oil Reserves
The giant global oil companies are the main forces behind
the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan and the building of U. S. military bases and oil and natural gas pipelines in the Middle East and the Caspian Sea. In
the end, the Iraq War will cost the American people over four trillion dollars.
Imagine if those funds had been invested in clean renewable fuel sources such
as wind and solar power.
The continual burning of fossil fuels around the world
produces a greenhouse gas emissions know as carbon dioxide. These emissions
pose a health risk and an economic risk to people in every nation. The main
producers of carbon dioxide are coal burning power plants and gasoline
vehicles. The burning of fossil fuels traps heat in the atmosphere and produces
the greenhouse effect.
Global Movement to Reduce Carbon Emissions
It is imperative that the people in America and throughout the world move into a green economy and leave the old brown world
behind. One way to effectively undermine the brown economy, reduce carbon
emissions and greenhouse gases and wean the United States from fossil fuels is
to adopt the cap and trade rules being promoted by various think tanks and the
A fierce debate that is currently being waged in the U. S. is between the proponents of the carbon tax and the cap and trade rules. The carbon
tax is being promoted by the large oil companies and the fossil fuel industry
in order to pass on the cost of the tax to the consumers. The cap and trade
rules are being promoted by the Obama Administration and those who favor
market-based rules being established by Congress rather than the Environmental
Protection Agency (government bureaucrats).
and Trade System
In January of 2009, the Sightline Institute, a non-profit
research organization based in Seattle, Washington issued a dynamic report
entitled: Cap and Trade 101: A Climate Policy Primer. It was written by Alan
Durning, Anna Fahey, Eric de Place and Clark Williams-Derry. The summary of the
“Climate change presents both a challenge
and an opportunity. The
same actions that will curb greenhouse-gas emissions will also let us break
through to a clean energy economy—an economy that ends our addiction to oil and
other dirty fossil fuels once and for all.
we are to seize this opportunity, however, a fundamental change is required: We
must stop treating earth’s atmosphere as a free dumping ground for pollution.
The key to making polluters pay for emissions is a system known as “cap and
trade.” A cap-and-trade system, when done right, enforces an economy-wide limit
on greenhouse gas emissions; sets realistic goals and commonsense rules for
reducing emissions over time; and harnesses the creativity and dynamism of the
market to achieve these goals.” (Cap and Trade 101. Sightline Institute,
January 2009, p. 6.)
report asks a number of pertinent questions and then provides insightful
answers. It states:
Why Do We Need Cap and
change is not only one of the greatest challenges of our time, it’s also an
epic opportunity. When we rise to the challenge through smart solutions, we
will also unleash a wave of new economic development, generating jobs and
revitalizing local economies. We already have the technology to jump-start a
clean-energy economy. The ingenuity and dynamism of the marketplace can expand on
these technologies over the coming decades, generating broadly shared
prosperity while safeguarding our climate.
seizing this opportunity will require us to adopt policies that effectively
curb climate-changing emissions. At base, the threat of climate disruption
stems from a single fact: We treat the atmosphere as a free dumping ground. No
one has to pay to pollute our shared air. The result has been increasing
concentrations of climate warming gases, along with other maladies of our
energy system like oil addiction.
a transition to a clean-energy economy means, above all else, putting a price
on climate-warming emissions: no more free dumping. The way to make
polluters pay, while guaranteeing that we’ll meet emissions-reduction goals, is
to implement a system called “cap and trade.” Cap and trade commits a region to
responsible limits on global warming emissions; gradually ratchets down those
limits over time; and harnesses the power of the marketplace to reduce
emissions as smoothly, efficiently, and cost-effectively as possible. (Cap
and Trade 101, p. 6.)
What Does Cap and Trade
Cap: A cap is a legal limit on the quantity of greenhouse gases our
economy can emit each year. Over time, the legal limit diminishes—the cap gets
tighter—until we’ve hit our targets and launched a clean-energy economy. The
cap acts as a solid backstop behind all other climate policies. Energy
efficiency standards for vehicles and appliances, smart-growth plans, building
codes, transit investments, tax credits for renewable energy, public investment
in energy research and development, utility regulatory reforms—all manner of
public actions can move us toward our climate goals. But the cap is our only
guarantee that we will get there. There is no substitute
for the certainty of an emissions cap.
Trade: “Trade” means that, by law, companies may swap among themselves
the permission to emit greenhouse gases. In other words, there is a market for
pollution “permits.” The point of such a trading system is to put a price on
pollution that will travel throughout the economy, motivating businesses and
families to find ways to trim greenhouse gases. By turning the permission to
pollute into a commodity that is bought and sold, everyone up and down the
economic ladder gets new opportunities to make and save money. “Trade” hitches
the flexible power of the marketplace—the mobilized ingenuity of millions of
diverse, dispersed, innovative, self-interested people—to our climate goals.
Cap and trade is a compelling combination: guaranteed results, flexible means.
Putting a price on pollution may sound a lot like “higher energy
prices.” But fossil fuel prices are already up because of basic supply and
demand. Were cap and trade in effect already, it would probably simply maintain
high prices, not raise them further.
Besides, a well-designed trading system encourages efficiency,
innovation, and lowest cost solutions. In the long term, cap and trade will
reduce demand for dirty energy and make emerging clean technologies more and
Most important, a well-designed cap-and-trade climate policy
allows us to take charge of our energy future, rescuing ourselves from our
fossil-fuel dependence. It redirects the proceeds of high energy prices toward
the common good. In short, if we do it right, cap and trade lets us all share
in not only the costs but also the benefits of the new economy.
Much depends, then, on the design of cap and trade. Different
cap-and-trade proposals vary on how both “cap” and “trade” function. These
differences have profound implications for the fairness and effectiveness of
climate policy. Explaining these differences is the purpose of this primer. (Cap and Trade 101,
How Does Cap and Trade
Here are the basic steps to operating a cap-and-trade system:
Tally greenhouse-gas emissions. For example,
track fossil fuels at the points where they enter the region’s economy: the
pipeline or oil tanker.1 The state of Washington has only about 100 companies
in business at such entry points.
Set a cap. Decide how much carbon pollution to
allow in the program’s first year and require permits for emissions: one permit
per ton of carbon dioxide or its equivalent in other heat-trapping gases (known
as CO2 equivalent, or CO2e
of permits will match the cap to ensure we hit our goals. (A cap does not limit
emissions from individual citizens; no paperwork for families or small
businesses is required. Instead, it affects wholesalers or suppliers of fossil
fuels and similar big “upstream” businesses. Price signals travel downstream
through the economy to other businesses and to consumers.)
Distribute permits. Permits can be valid for a
single year, or for a multi-year period. One method for distributing them is
auctioning; another is to give them away free on the basis of past emissions
(“grandfathering”), past energy sales, or some other criterion. Permit holders
can buy and sell allowances among themselves. That’s the “trade” part.
Enforce the cap. Affected businesses (for
example, those that bring fossil fuels into the economy) will file periodic
reports verifying that they hold enough permits to cover their emissions.
Authorities will audit some reports to deter misrepresentation. They will curb
speculation and gaming by overseeing the permit market, much as the Securities
and Exchange Commission oversees Wall Street.
Step it down. Each year, distribute fewer
emissions permits, on a predictable, published schedule that takes us to our
targets. The gradual nature of this transition maximizes choice and flexibility
in a way that narrowly targeted climate policies cannot match.
general description, cap and trade can vary, depending on how a specific system
is designed. Key design choices make a world of difference. (Cap and Trade 101,
In Brief: Why Cap and
tested and proven. A cap-and-trade system worked cheaply and efficiently to
reduce acid rain pollution in the United States in the 1990s.
cost-effective. A cap provides market incentives to steadily reduce pollution
in a cost-effective and efficient manner, encouraging a healthy shift away from
the instability and insecurity of fossil fuels.
economically sound. Today, we stand at the top of the pollution staircase. It
would be dangerous and risky to jump to the bottom or run down too fast.
Instead, cap and trade allows our businesses and families to step down, stair
by stair, at a gradual pace that is safe and manageable. We can adjust through
fuel efficiency and increased renewable energy resources like solar and wind
power. Cap and trade offers us a path to success in the new energy economy:
maximum flexibility, clear and feasible goals, and a predictable timeline.
a prudent, long-term investment. The key to our long-term prosperity and a
stable economy is a shift away from oil. This shift can work for businesses and
consumers alike, allowing us to take charge of rising energy costs, invest in
new technologies, and ensure a smooth transition. Right now, we’re sending
billions of dollars a year out of local economies to pay for dirty energy.
importantly, the cap is a solid guardrail on the path to success. No policy
measure can substitute for setting a solid cap on the greenhouse gas emissions
that are allowed into the atmosphere; it’s our firm guarantee that we will meet
crucial pollution targets. (Cap and Trade 101, pp. 6-7.)
conclusion to the report states:
Conclusion: The Cap
the economic opportunities of a clean-energy future, while avoiding the perils
of climate disruption and oil addiction, is arguably the defining challenge for
have exciting chances to slash emissions through low-carbon energy sources such
as wind and other renewables and through a revolution in energy efficiency.
Similarly, we have an abundance of ways to curb hard-to-track emissions at
landfills, industrial facilities, and factory farms. We may be able to soak
carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere by restoring forests and grasslands to
their historic richness. We may even perfect underground carbon storage.
ease compliance with the cap, we will need a host of other smart policies and
innovations: complete, compact neighborhoods that free us from long, tiresome
commutes; pay-as-you-drive insurance; bounties on juice-hogging old appliances
and gas guzzlers; efficiency standards for buildings, vehicles, and appliances;
weatherization brigades to retrofit low-income homes; continuous, separate,
citywide bikeways and walkways; pervasive for-profit and nonprofit car-sharing;
richly networked, flexible, and reliable public transit; loans for efficiency
upgrades that are repayable on your utility bill or property tax; and more.
a bracing challenge, and the clock is ticking. But the most important step—bar
none—is the cap. With a firm, legal, comprehensive cap, emissions will decline.
one, there’s no guarantee. In the absence of a cap (or a self-adjusting carbon
tax shift), we could do everything else on the list—including even radically
high regulatory standards—and still watch emissions grow.
key to smart climate policy is putting a price on carbon—ideally through a
comprehensive, auctioned, upstream cap-and-trade system with built-in
protections for Northwest families. Anything else is second best. (Cap and
Trade 101, p. 32.)
is time to create a new green economy in America. Cap and trade rules are an
integral part of the process of reducing carbon emissions and lowering
is time to support the efforts of cities, counties, states and the federal
government to lower carbon emissions, to free the nation from the grasp of
large multinational oil corporations, to end the nation’s dependence upon
foreign oil, to end the natural resource wars that are ravaging and pillaging
nations and regions of the world, and to make the nation energy independent,
healthier, cleaner and brighter.
is time to create a new green world order based upon green homes, green
buildings, green communities, green cities, sustainable living and renewable
Paradigm Shift Transforms the World
In the Structures of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas
Kuhn shows how “almost every significant breakthrough in the field of
scientific endeavor is first a break with tradition, with old ways of thinking,
with old paradigms.”
Today the world is undergoing a major paradigm shift. The
old way of doing things and thinking, (a world based upon fossil fuels, natural
resource wars, energy dependence, toxic chemicals, drugs and fertilizers,
pharmaceuticals and processed food laced with chemical additives) – is being
replaced by a new way of doing things and thinking – (a green world based upon
green buildings, sustainable living, clean tech, renewable energy sources and
For over 125 years the world has lived under a global system
designed by the elite in nine major countries. The main purpose of this global
system is to concentrate power and wealth into the hands a small group of
people. These people control the world economy and the natural resources of the
world – oil, coal and natural gas. The global system is based upon fossil fuels
and continual warfare.
The global system designed by the elite is now being
challenged by tens of thousands of people who believe that globalism is a
failure. A new paradigm shift is occurring among the new elite, those who do
not believe in the tenants of globalism and a world based upon fossil fuels,
war and poisonous toxins, chemicals and drugs.
The world is undergoing three major global revolutions.
These global revolutions will alter the course of political, economic and
social affairs on earth for a millennium. The Wellness Revolution, the Green
Building Revolution and the Clean Tech Revolution are now sweeping the earth. A
new green world order and a new green economy are emerging.
In 2002 Paul Zane Pilzer published a new book entitled, The
Wellness Revolution: How to Make a Fortune in the Next Trillion Dollar Industry.
The book became a best seller and the publisher updated the book and released a
new edition in 2007.
The cover of the book states that: “The Wellness
Revolution was the ‘shot heard round the world’ for the wellness industry.
It defined wellness as an industry - linking tens of thousands of disparate
service and product suppliers with a single cause. It showed scientists,
fitness providers, businesspeople, food manufacturers, doctors, and others
focused on disease prevention and anti-aging that they were part of a worldwide
revolution-rather than merely lone iconoclasts inside their chosen professions
“The New Wellness Revolution shows that even though millions
of people have embraced wellness, the need for wellness has actually expanded
due to declining health trends, particularly the rising obesity rate in the United States and other developed nations. Medical costs now exceed profits for most large
employers, and corporations are beginning to recognize that wellness and
disease prevention are the only viable solutions to rising healthcare costs
that threaten their very existence. (Paul Zane Pilzer, The Wellness
Revolution. Hoboken, New Jersey, 2007, Dust Cover)
the Trillion Dollar Wellness Industry
In a chapter entitled, Why Wellness Is the Next Big Thing,
Paul Zane Pilzer outlines the parameters of the wellness revolution and the
impact it will have on America and the world. He states:
“The wellness industry is tackling one of the most profound
issues of life, solving one of the few remaining mysteries of human existence –
age and vitality – on which technology has yet to make its mark. In order to
define the wellness industry and identify its opportunities, we must first
distinguish it from a related industry based on some of the same technology –
the current $2.0 trillion (U. S.) healthcare industry.
“Approximately one-sixth of the U. S. economy, about $2.0
trillion, is devoted to what is erroneously called the ‘healthcare’ business.
Healthcare is a misnomer, as this one-sixth of the economy is really devoted to
the sickness business – defined in the dictionary as ‘ill health, illness, a
disordered, weakened, or unsound condition, or a specific disease.’
“The sickness business is reactive. Despite its enormous
size, people become customers only when they are stricken by and react to a
specific condition or ailment. No one really wants to be a customer.
“In the next 5 years, an additional $500 billion of the U.
S. economy will be devoted to the still relatively unknown already - $500
billion wellness business – defined in the dictionary as ‘the quality or state
of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal.’
“The wellness business is proactive. People voluntarily
become customers – to feel healthier, to reduce the effects of aging, and to
avoid becoming customers of the sickness business. Everyone wants to be a
customer of this earlier-stage approach to health. (The Wellness Revolution,
Wellness Industry Verses the Sickness Industry
In The Wellness Revolution, Paul Zane Pilzer provides
the reader with a clear definition of the sickness industry and the wellness
industry. He stated:
“Sickness Industry products and services provided reactively
to people with an existing disease, ranging from a common cold to existing
cancerous tumors. These products and services seek to either treat the symptoms
of a disease or eliminate the disease.
“Well industry products and services provided proactively to
healthy people (those without an existing disease) to make them feel even
healthier and look better, to slow the effects of aging, and/or to prevent
diseases from developing in the first place. (The Wellness Revolution.
Need a Revolution
One of the more interesting chapters in The Wellness
Revolution is entitled, Why We Need a Revolution. Paul Zane Pilzer
begins this section by quoting John Milton who saw “revolution as the right of
society to defend itself against abusive tyrants….” He states:
“Entrepreneurs and revolutionaries are really the same kind
of people born into different circumstances. Both see the status quo in need of
change, and both are willing to take the risks, and reap the rewards, of
“The emerging wellness industry is as much a reaction to the
tyranny of the sickness and the food industries as it is to every person’
desire for the freedom wellness offers. Wellness is the next natural step
forward in our destiny and in the advancement of humankind. By extending your
years of strength and wellness, you can accomplish those things you want to
“The revolutionary leaders in wellness are the entrepreneurs
who grow and procreate wellness, the inventors who instigate wellness services
and products, and the practitioners and distributors who carry the wellness
message throughout society. Take your pick of how you want to be a leader of
this new industry.
“Revolutions and entrepreneurial journeys often begin with
an epiphany – an illuminating discovery by an individual that typically sets
him or her out on a quest…. (The Wellness Revolution, pp, 15-16.)
Economic Forces Promote Illness
Paul Zane Pilzer feels that the sickness industry is
attempting to undermine the wellness industry at every turn. They are utilizing
every tool in their arsenal to promote their deadly poisons and toxics in every
aspect of the food chain and then when people become sick, as they undoubtedly
will, when they consume the food products laden with chemicals from the seed to
the grocery store, they have tons of prescription drugs waiting to treat the
diseases which were caused by their poisons and toxins from chemicals in GMOs,
fertilizers, food additives, etc.
In his famous book, The Wellness Revolution, Paul
Zane Pilzer states that:
“Incredibly powerful economic forces are preventing people
from taking control of their health and are actually encouraging them to gain
weight – forces so powerful that nothing short of a revolution will be able to
“For many individuals, it may be impossible to take control
of their health until they first understand the $1.3 trillion dollar food and
$2.0 trillion medical industries that represent a quarter of our national
economy…. (Paul Zane Pilzer The Wellness Revolution. Hoboken, New Jersey, 2007, p, 18.)
Forces Acting in Concert to Promote the Sickness Industry
Who are these incredibly powerful forces preventing people
from being healthy today? They are the global food conglomerates and the global
chemical and pharmaceutical companies. Concerning the collusion between these
two forces Paul Zane Pilzer said:
“Although there was obviously no direct conspiracy between
the $1.3 trillion food industry (which causes most of the problems) and the
$2.0 trillion medical industry (which treats just enough of the symptoms to get
the target consumers back to work and consumption), the economic effect was the
same as if these two industries were conspiring against the American consumer
in the most sinister fashion.
“The thousands of companies that comprise that comprise the
$1.3 trillion U. S. food industry and the $2.0 trillion U. S. medical industry are governed by universal laws of economics that cause them to act in
concert, as though they were part of a vast, nefarious conspiracy…. .” (The
Wellness Revolution, p, 25.)
The Wellness Industry is
transforming the way people look at factory farms, GMOs, poisonous chemical fertilizers,
processed food, pharmaceutical drugs and sickness. A new green world is
emerging based upon organic farming, family farms, organic food, natural
healing techniques, sustainable living practices and respect for the earth and
all life forms. It is a revolution whose time has come.
The Green Building Revolution
In 2008 Jerry Yudelson, one of the nation’s leading experts
on the newly emerging green building industry, published a remarkably
insightful book entitled, The Green Building Revolution. He outlined the
scope of the new green building revolution that is sweeping the earth in these
“The green building revolution is sweeping across not only
the United States but most of the world. It’s a revolution inspired by an
awakened understanding of how buildings use resources, affect people, and harm
the environment. This revolution is further fueled by the knowledge that the
world has little time to respond to the growing dangers of climate change,
especially global warming, and that buildings play a huge role in causing
carbon dioxide emissions that drive global climate change. According to
Architecture 2030, our commercial and residential buildings generate, directly
or indirectly, nearly half the carbon emissions of the entire United States.
“How important is the green building revolution? A 2007
study by McKinsey, an international consulting firm, showed that changes in
building design and construction could offset up to 6 billion tons of carbon
emissions annually ‘through measures with a zero or negative net life-cycle
cost.’ This amount constitutes about one-fourth of the abatement required to
keep atmospheric carbon emissions below 450 parts per million in 2030. In other
words, green building saves carbon emissions, water heating, air-conditioning,
lighting, and other energy-efficiency measures. This is a win-win scenario on
which both climate-change activists and hardheaded businesspeople can agree.
“The green building revolution is part of a paradigm shift
toward sustainability, a growing realization that current ways of living, made
possible largely because of cheap and abundant fossil fuels, are not
sustainable in the long term. Green building revolutionaries work in all
industries, in all income groups, in all social strata, and in all guises. They
may be aging baby boomers or high school students taking an early interest in
building and design. In my own experience, the present decade (and particularly
the second half of it) – a fresh new decade of a fresh new century – marks the
first time in a generation that the American public has been worried, very
worried about the state of the world and the provenance of energy to fuel the
myriad activities of a global postindustrial economy.
“With these thoughts in mind, let’s see what we can learn
about green buildings as a solution to the many global issues associated with
climate change, human health, and the quality of the environment.
Origins of the Green Building Revolution
“The revolution can be traced to many causes over the past
several decades, just as the seeds of the American Revolution were planted
fifteen years or more before the country erupted into open rebellion. In the
1980s, the Montreal Protocol limited the use of chlorinated fluorocarbons,
which were found to be harmful to the ozone layer that is so vital for human
life. In 1987 the United Nations’ World Commission on Environmental and
Development, aka the Brundtland Commission, was the first to define
sustainability, calling it the ability of the present generation to meet theirs
– echoing the American Indian seventh-generation rule: Each generation is
responsible for making decisions that ensure the survival of the seventh
generation. In the late 1980s, a group of farsighted architects formed the
committee on the Environment within the American Institute of Architects and
began the process of steering the profession toward sustainable design.
“Two major events occurred in the early 1990s that
influenced the creation of the U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC). In the United States, the 20th anniversary of the original Earth Day took place in 1990; in Brazil, the U. N. Conference on Environment and Development, popularly known as the Earth
Summit, was held in Rio Janeiro in 1992. Both of these events precipitated the
formation of the USGBC in 1993.
“The USGBC is a consensus-based group consisting solely of
other organizations: companies, government agencies, universities, primary and
secondary schools, nonprofits, environmental groups, and trade associations.
Its membership growth has been rapid…. From a base of about 150 companies of
1998, the USGBC has grown 50-fold, to 7,500 companies, as of early 2007. This
rapid growth is emblematic of Victor Hugo’s mid-19th-century remark
that ‘one withstands the invasion of armies; one does not withstand the
invasion of ideas,’ often paraphrased as ‘nothing can stop an idea whose time
“The late 1990s saw the establishment of the Kyoto Protocol,
an amendment to the U. N. Framework Convention on Climate Change that
represented the first attempt to regulate greenhouse gas emissions on a global
scale. More than 170 countries, which together produce more than 55 percent of
global greenhouse gas emissions (but not including the U. S.), have so far signed and ratified the protocol.
“In 2000, the USGBC unveiled
the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating
System for public use. LEED was the first rating system in the United States to hold commercial projects up to scrutiny for the full range of their effects
on energy and water use, municipal infrastructure, transportation energy use,
resource conservation, land use, and indoor environmental quality. Prior to
LEED, most evaluations systems, such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s
Energy Star program, had focused exclusively on energy use. (Jerry Yudelson, The
Green Building Revolution. Washington, D. C.: Island Press, 2008, pp.
Factors Are Driving the Green Building Revolution
Today the U. S. Green Building
Council is the leading green building rating system in the nation. It has an
excellent programs and each day more and more people are becoming certified
LEED Accredited Professions. The private sector building industry has begun to
embrace the reality of the new green building revolution and each day more and
more green buildings are arising throughout the land.
The growth of the green
building revolution has been a partnership of private sector architects,
designers and planners and government agencies. They foresaw the wisdom of
utilizing LEED design standards in lowering carbon emissions of public and
private buildings throughout the United States. They were right. LEED standards
are now revolutionizing the nation.
The green building revolution
has gained such momentum that is now unstoppable. Each day more and more green
buildings are being assembled and built throughout the nation. It is a
revolution whose time has come.
Rise of the Clean Tech Revolution
The Wellness Revolution, the Green Building Revolution and
the Clean Tech Revolution are literally changing the world forever. A new green
world order and a new green economy are emerging that are based on these three
major global, earth-shaking, transformational revolutions.
In 2007 Ron Pernick, cofounder of Clean Edge (Clean Tech
Research & Publishing Firm), and Clint Wilder, contribution editor at Clean
Edge published a major treatise entitled, The Clean Tech Revolution: The
Next Big Growth and Investment Opportunity.
Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder outline the Clean Tech Revolution
“For most people the concept of clean technology, or clean
tech, is relatively new. Clean tech refers to any product, service, or process
that delivers value using limited or zero nonrenewable resources and/or creates
significantly less waste than conventional offerings. Clean technology
comprises a diverse range of products and services, from solar power systems to
hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), that
renewable materials and energy sources or reduce the use of natural resources by
using them more efficiently and productively
or eliminate pollution and toxic wastes
equal or superior performance compared with conventional offerings
investors, companies, and customers with the promise of increased returns,
reduced costs, and lower prices
quality jobs in management, production, and deployment
“Clean tech covers four main sectors: energy,
transportation, water, and materials. It includes relatively well known
technologies such as solar photovoltaics, wind power, biofuels, bio-based
plastics, advanced lithium-ion batteries, and large scale reverse-osmosis water
desalination. It also includes such emerging technologies as tidal power,
silicon-based fuel cells, distributed hydrogen generation, plug-in hybrid vehicles,
and nano-technology based materials.
“in the 1970s, clean tech was considered ‘alternative,’ the
province of back-to-the-land lifestyle advocates, altruistic environmentalists,
and lab scientists on research grants – and for good reason: It was in an early
stage of development, it was too expensive, it didn’t have widespread political
support, and very few large, established companies were embracing the sector.
“Even at the start of the twenty-first century, the term
clean tech wasn’t yet in the financial or business community’s lexicon. If you
had done a web search on clean technology or clean tech in 2000, you’d have
received only a few relevant results. If you did a similar Web search on the
topic today, you’d find more than 500,000 relevant hits, reflecting today’s
reality – clean technology is everywhere.
“Throughout the world, in trends large and small, we’re
seeing the beginning of a revolution that is changing the place where we live
and work, the products we manufacture and purchase, and the development plans
of cities, regional governments, and nations around the globe. One need look no
further than the daily headlines to see clean tech taking hold. Portland, Oregon, recently became the first city in the United States to require all
gasoline sold within city limits to contain at least 10% ethanol. California passed landmark legislation to cap and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and
to install nearly 1 million solar roofs over the next decade. Gas-guzzling
sport utility vehicles (SUV) proprietor Ford has seen its fortunes plummet as
those of hybrid-leader Toyota rise. Entrepreneurs have raised venture capital
(VC) to develop everything from a high performance, battery-powered, $92,000
electric sports car to solar cells based on nanotechnology.
“The revolution is not coming: It’s here today. Consider
State mandates in the United States. More
than half of the American people live in states that have mandated that their
utilities generate a specified percentage of electricity (in many cases up to
20% or 25%) from renewable sources such as solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal
by a specific target year. Two recent states to join the club, Colorado and Washington, did so by 2004 and 2006 ballot measures that each state’s voters
approved by comfortable margins.
Leadership in the European Union. Wind
farms in Denmark, many of them offshore, now generate about 20% of the nation’s
electricity, proving many doubters wrong about the viability of clean,
renewable energy. Germany and Spain rank first and second, respectively, in
wind power production, creating thousands of jobs in the process.
Clean power options. Hundreds of investor-owned
utilities, municipal utilities, and electric cooperatives in every region of
the United States offer the option of green power to customers who can choose
to receive electricity from renewable sources. While most of these utilities
charge a small green surcharge, that charge is sometimes locked in for a fixed
period, providing a hedge against spikes in the price of natural gas. In some
regions, green-power customers have at times seen their electric rates below
those of their neighbors who are paying for conventional power.
A soar boom. The solar PV (photovoltaic)
industry reached more than 1 gigawatt (GW, or 1,000 megawatts [MW] of total
manufacturing output in 2004, approximately 1.5 GW in 2005, and more than 2 GW
in 2006, making the solar manufacturing and installation industry worth nearly
$16 billion. And it is projected to continue to expand by more than 30% each
year for the foreseeable future. Sharp, the leading manufacturer of solar PV
modules, believes in a bright future for the technology. The company has
expanded its manufacturing capacity from 54 MW in 2000 to a planned 710 MW in
A hybrid takeoff. Since 2003, hybrid cars have
gone from a tiny speck on the automobile landscape to one of the U. S. vehicle market’s fastest growing segments. Toyota doubled its flagship hybrid car’s
allocation in North America in 2005, to 100,000, and started building hybrids
on U. S. assembly lines in 2006. By the end of 2006 there were some 15 hybrid
models on showroom floors, including hybrid models from such popular vehicles
as the Honda Civic and Accord and the Toyota Camry.
Clean extreme makeover. Since 2000, more than
730 buildings comprising 5% of all new commercial structures in the United States have been certified as green buildings by the U. S. Green Building Council,
and nearly 5,800 more are in the pipeline. For example, Ford’s 600-acre Rouge
Factory complex in Dearborn, Michigan, the world’s largest integrated
industrial facility when it was completed by Henry Ford in 1928, has undergone
a complete ‘greening’. Ford workers assemble trucks under a 10-acre roof with
grasses and plants growing on it; the insulation cuts energy costs by nearly
Bio big business. Bio-based materials are
moving the organic food co-op to the shelves of major chains such as Wal-Mart
and Sam’s Club. Cargill, via its NatureWorks unit, is manufacturing bio-based
materials using renewable resources such as maize instead of petro-chemicals.
The material uses up to 50% less energy to produce and is compostable. DuPont
has also been aggressively pursuing the biopolymers market, launching a new
manufacturing facility in 2007 to produce a patented biomaterial based on
fermented and purified sugars. Agribusiness giat Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is
building a plant in Clinton, Ohio, that will produce 45,000 tons of natural,
corn-based plastics annually after it opens in 2008.
list goes on and on.
(Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder, The
Clean Tech Revolution: The Next Big Growth and Investment Opportunity. New York: Collins, 2007, pp. 2-5.)
The new green world order and the new green economy are
being driven by the Wellness Revolution, the Green Building Revolution and the
Clean Tech Revolution. It is to join the new green revolution. It will require
a major paradigm shift in your life and lifestyle. It will require a new way of
thinking about everything you do.
Re-emergence of the Natural World
For nearly six thousand years the people of the world lived
in a 100% organic world. The air was clean and pure, free of harmful, toxic
gases. The water found in lakes, streams, ponds and the ocean was clean and
pure, free of toxic pollutions, chemicals and drugs. The land was clean and
pure, free of toxic chemicals, seeds, fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides,
herbicides and poisons.
In the last 100 years, however, the natural world has been
under attack by large multinational corporations which are determined to
plunder and control all of the natural resources on the earth. Their goal is
power and gain - hence the rise of the natural resource wars.
The large global food companies provide billions of people
with processed food laced with chemical additives that are harmful to the body.
A constant diet of such dead food eventually leads to disease in the body. The
global chemical and pharmaceutical companies have created a medical system that
is ready to treat all of the diseases caused by the consumption of processed
food laced with toxic chemicals. Together this powerful combination of food,
chemical and pharmaceutical companies have placed the health of the planet,
every person and all life forms in extreme danger from the poisonous toxins,
chemicals and drugs.
world created by multinational corporations in not sustainable. It is not a
healthy world. It is not a just world. It is not a beautiful world. It is a
world filled with greed, tyranny, bondage, exploitation, enslavement,
corruption, crime, drugs, armaments, pollution, famine, poverty and social
inequality. It is not a true and just world order. In fact, it is just the
opposite. It is a global system that serves to concentrate wealth and power in
the hands of a small elite who control the world economy and seek to ensure
that fossil fuels remain the dominant source of energy for decades to come.
The land air and water on earth is now completely saturated
with chemicals. The giant chemical companies have released hundreds of millions
of tons of poisons and toxins upon the land and into the lakes, streams,
rivers, and oceans on earth. The air is no longer crisp and pure. The water is
no longer clean and pure. The land is no longer full of trillions of
microscopic life forms that nourish the seeds which God has placed upon the
earth. The global oil companies have created a world economy where people are
addicted to fossil fuels – a key source of carbon emissions and global
is time for a major paradigm shift in the way we look at the earth, the people
who live on the earth and the trillions of life forms that inhabit the earth.
is time for a major paradigm shift in the way we look at the political,
economic and social systems designed by the elite to govern the planet.
is time to replace the current form of monopoly capitalism with a true and just
form of capitalism known as “natural capitalism.”
is time to construct a new world order - a true and just world order. It is
time to construct a new green world order and a new green world economy based
upon the principles of naturalism.
It is time for people in America and the world to eliminate
the use of toxic chemicals in every phase of their lives and become wise
stewards of the land, air, water. We should respect all life forms on earth as
creatures of God by ensuring that the earth is free of poisons and toxics that
destroy all life forms.
It is time for people in America and the world to embrace
the natural world – a world of natural organic farming and natural healing
techniques, therapies, treatments and products that nourish, heal and
strengthen the body and mind.
It is time to begin building green homes, green buildings
and green communities that are healthy and free of toxic chemicals and
is time to choose the natural world. After all, that is the world that God
created for his children and all life forms on earth in the beginning.
we construct this new green world order it is important to remember the words
of Albert Einstein when he said,
will not evolve past its current state of crisis by using the same thinking
that created the situation.”
The Rise of Natural
1999 Paul Hawken, the author of Ecology of Commerce joined with Amory
and L. Hunter Lovins, the founders of the Rocky Mountain Institute, to publish
a thought provoking treatise entitled, Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next
Industrial Revolution. The authors believe that the industrial revolution
is over and a new revolution is underway. The authors feel that a new form of
capitalism is needed for the new world order that is emerging – “natural
authors outlined their new system in these words:
climate debate is a public issue in which the assets at risk are not specific
resources, like oil, fish, or timber, but a life-supporting system. One of
nature’s most critical cycles is the continual exchange of carbon dioxide and
oxygen among plants and animals. This ‘recycling service’ is provided by nature
free of charge. But today carbon dioxide is building up in the atmosphere, due
in part to combustion of fossil fuels. In effect, the capacity of the natural
system to recycle carbon dioxide has been exceeded, just as overfishing can
exceed the capacity of a fishery to replenish stocks. But what is especially
important to realize is that there is no known alternative to nature’s carbon
climate, the changes in the biosphere are widespread. In the past half century,
the world has lost a fourth of its topsoil and a third of its forest cover. At
present rates of destruction, we will lose 70 percent of the world’s coral
reefs in our lifetime, host to 25 percent of marine life. In the past three
decades, one-third of the planet’s resources, its ‘natural wealth,’ has been
consumed. We are losing freshwater ecosystems at the rate of 6 percent a year,
marine ecosystems by 4 percent a year. There is no longer any serious
scientific dispute that the decline in every living system in the world is
reaching such levels that an increasing number of them are starting to lose,
often at a pace accelerated by the interactions of their decline, their assured
ability to sustain the continuity of the life process. We have reached an
of this shadow side of the success of industrial production has triggered the
second of two great intellectual shifts of the late twentieth century. The end
of the Cold War and the fall of communism was the first such shift; the second,
now quietly emerging, is the end of the war against life on earth, and the
eventual ascendance of what we call natural capitalism.” (Paul Hawke, Amory
Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins, Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next
Industrial Revolution. New York: Little Brown & Company, 1999, pp.
A New Mind Set and a New
Set of Values
a chapter entitled, “The Next Industrial Revolution”, Paul Hawke, Amory Lovins
and L. Hunter Lovins ask the following questions:
would our economy look like if it fully valued all forms of capital, including
human and natural capital? What if our economy were organized not around the
lifeless abstractions of neoclassical economics and accountancy but around the
biological realities of nature? What if Generally Accepted Accounting Practice
booked natural and human capital not as a free amenity in putative
inexhaustible supply but as a finite and integrally valuable factor of
production? What if, in the absence of a rigorous way to practice such
accounting, companies started to as if such principles were in force? This
choice is possible and such an economy would offer a stunning new set of
opportunities for all of society, amounting to not less than the next
capitalism and the possibility of a new industrial system are based on a very
different mind-set and set of values than conventional capitalism. Its
fundamental assumptions include the following:
environment is not a minor factor of production but rather is an ‘envelope
containing, provisioning, and sustaining the entire economy.
limiting factor to the future economic development is the availability and
functionality of natural capital, in particular, life-supporting services that
have no substitutes and currently have not market value.
or badly designed business systems, population growth, and wasteful patterns of
consumption are the primary causes of the loss of natural capital, and all there
must be addressed to achieve a sustainable economy.
economic progress can best take place in democratic, market-based systems of
production and distribution in which all forms of capital are fully valued,
including human, manufactured, financial, and natural capital.
of the keys to the most beneficial employment of people, money, and the
environment is radical increases in resource productivity.
welfare is best served by improving the quality and flow of desired services
delivered, rather than by merely increasing the total dollar flow.
and environmental sustainability depends on redressing global inequalities of
income and material well-being.
best long-term environment for commerce is provided by the true democratic
system of governance that are based upon the needs of people rather than business.
Hawke, Amory Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins, Natural Capitalism: Creating the
Next Industrial Revolution. New York: Little Brown & Company, 1999,
is time to construct a new world order - a true and just world order. It is
time to construct a new green world order and a new green world economy based
upon the principles of naturalism.
tenants and principles of the Wellness Revolution, the Green Building
Revolution and the Clean Tech Revolution form the foundation of a true and just
If one spends time in the majestic mountains, strolls
through the open desert, visits the marshlands, traverses the Amazon, swims in
the lakes and oceans located on the earth, it does not take one long to see the
miracle of creation. The earth is truly a remarkable life support system for
trillions of life forms. Everything really does works together in a harmony
that surpasses human understanding. It is only when we take time to study
nature do we begin to see the miracle of life on earth. God really has designed
an amazing planet for all of his children.
It is no wonder that Leonardo da Vinca, one of the world’s
greatest inventors stated: “Human subtlety will never devise an invention more
beautiful, more simple or more direct than does Nature, because in her
inventions, nothing is lacking and nothing is superfluous.”
The writings of such prominent naturalists as Henry David
Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and John Muir helped us appreciate the beauty of
nature. Emerson’s Nature (1836), Thoreau’s Walden (1854) and
Muir’s Our National Parks (1901) and The Yosemite (1912) open
one’s eyes to the natural beauty that surrounds us every day.
In 1962 Rachel Carson, a leading naturalist, published a
small treatise entitled, Silent Spring. The book set a powerful message
around the world and opened the eyes of people to the dangers and destructive
impact of poisonous toxics, chemicals, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and
insecticides were having on the eco-system of the earth.
Rachel Carson voice of warning awakened a sleeping world to
the importance of nature and the eco-system in the life of people everywhere. A
chorus of environmentalists resulted in the first Earth Day in 1970. Over 20
million people joined in a day of appreciation for the wonders of the earth and
the miracles of nature.
Tens of thousands of naturals spearheaded a movement that
became known as naturalism, environmentalism, and sustainability. The efforts
of these naturalists over the last 175 years have culminated in three global
movements that are sweeping the earth today: (1) The Wellness Revolution; (2)
The Green Building Revolution; and (3) Clean Tech Revolution.
These three revolutions have led to a reevaluation of life
as we know it today. A major paradigm shift of tectonic proportion is underway
throughout the earth. A new green world order and a new green economy is
unfolding. A new design movement has emerged under the name of Eco-Design.
Interdependence of Human Environments and Ecosystems
In 2005 Andres R. Edwards published a treatise entitled, The
Sustainability Revolution: Portrait of a Paradigm Shift. The author is an
outspoken advocate of sustainability movement. Concerning Ecological Design he
“The Sustainability and Ecological Design principles examine
the interdependence of human environments and ecosystems and point to the
far-reaching effects that design decisions have on the environment. The
statistics for the environmental impacts of buildings are staggering. In the United States, buildings are responsible for over 65 percent of total electricity
consumption, 30 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, 136 million tons per
year of construction and demolition waste (approximately 2.8 pounds per person
per day) and 12 per cent of the portable water use.
“Globally, buildings use 40 percent (3 billion tons
annually) of all raw materials. Given the magnitude of the built environment,
finding alternative building strategies that are in harmony with communities and
ecosystems is imperative.
“The benefits of sustainable or ‘green’ building practices
extend beyond reducing environmental impacts. Green building strategies also
make wise business sense by promoting economic savings through reduced
operating costs, by improving health and safety for occupants and visitors and
by enhancing quality of life in local communities.
“The principles of ecological design focus on the
interaction of architecture, people and nature. They use environmental impacts
(both positive and negative) to evaluate design and product life cycle and
reinterpret the concept of waste. They explore the benefits of regenerative
design, which goes beyond limiting environmental impact and strives to enhance
our life-support systems. These principles also take a broad perspective that
incorporates cultural, spiritual and historical traditions into the design
“It is important to understand efficient energy use and the
life cycles of products. Although embodied energy – the energy required to manufacture
products – is not always considered, it can play a significant role in the
environmental impact of a building project…. (Andres R. Edwards, The
Sustainability Revolution: Portrait of a Paradigm Shift. Gabriola Island, British Columbia, Canada, 2005, pp. 97-98, 99.)
Five Principles of Ecological Design
Concerning the five principles of ecological design Andres
R. Edwards writes:
“The Five Principles of Ecological Design stem from Sim Van
Ryn and Stuart Cowan’s groundbreaking book Ecological Design (1995), which
explore the integration of sustainability concepts and ecological design. The
Five Principles clearly articulate the interdepencene of design, function and
nature. The principles are being implemented in the work of the Ecological Design
Institute (EDI and Sim Van de Ryn Archietects.
Solutions Grow from Place. Ecological design
begins with the intimate knowledge of a particular place. Therefore, it is a
small scale and direct, responsive to both local conditions and local people.
If we are sensitive to the nuances of place, we can inhabit with destroying.
Ecological Accounting Informs Design. Trace
the environmental impacts of existing or proposed designs. Use this information
to determine the most ecologically sound design possible.
Design with Nature. By working with living
processes, we respect the needs of all species while meeting our own. Engaging
in processes that regenerate rather thatn deplete, we become more alive.
Everyone is a Designer. Listen to every voice
in the design process. No one is participant only or designer only. Everyone is
a participant-designer. Honor the special knowledge that each person brings. As
people work together to heal their places, they also heal themselves.
Make Nature Visible. Denatured environments ignore
our need and potential for learning. Making natural cycles and processes
visible brings the designed environment back to life. Effective design helps
inform us of our place within nature.
(Andres R. Edwards, The Sustainability Revolution:
Portrait of a Paradigm Shift. Gabriola Island, British Columbia, Canada, 2005, pp. 103-104.)
of Ecological Design and Living Machines
“John and Nancy Todd’s Principles of Ecological Design stem
from their book From Eco-cities to Living Machines (1994). The Todds co-founded
the New Alchemy Institute and later Ocean Arks International and Living
Technologies. Their work in ecological design incorporates aspects of energy,
architecture, food production and waste management. Their living machines use
microorganisms and plants to purify and reclaim waste.
living world is the matrix for all design.
should follow, not oppose, the laws of life.
equity must determine design.
must reflect bioregionality.
should be based on renewable energy sources.
should be sustainable through the integration of living systems.
should be co-evolutionary with the natural world.
and design should help heal the planet
should follow a sacred ecology.
(Andres R. Edwards, The Sustainability Revolution:
Portrait of a Paradigm Shift. Gabriola Island, British Columbia, Canada, 2005, pp. 10-105.)
Comprehensive Approach to Ecological Design
The Ecological Design process is a comprehensive and totally
inclusive approach to merging nature and design into an integral process that
sustains life while taking into account the life-cycle process of every
material used in the design, construction and operation of green homes, green
buildings and green communities.
Architects, planners, environmental consultants are
implanting the principles of ecological design throughout the world today. In
fact, they form the foundation of the new Green Building Revolution that is
sweeping across America and the world today.
The Green Building Movement
The green building revolution is being led by a unique group
of insightful, dedicated and prominent architects, designers, planners,
environmentalists, manufacturers, government officials, scholars, educators.
journalists and business leaders who feel that it is time to design, construct
and operate green homes, green buildings and green communities. One of the
bright stars in this constellation is the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
The Council has been at the forefront of the movement since its inception.
Concerning the role of the U. S. Building Council, Andres R.
Edwards, a leading environmental systems consultant and author, stated:
“One of the most encouraging developments within the
Sustainability Revolution is the rise of the US Green Building Council with its
international counterpart, the World Green Building Council, and the LEED
(Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System.
“Established in 1993, the US Green building Council aims to
‘promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy
place to live and work.’ Through the LEED products and resources, GreenBuild,
the Annual International Green Building Conference and Expo, and the current
157 LEED-Certified projects and over 1,700 LEED-Registered projects in all 50
states and 13 countries, the US and World Green Building Councils are
spearheading a transformation in the building industry….” (Andres R. Edwards, The
Sustainability Revolution: Portrait of a Paradigm Shift. Gabriola Island, British Columbia, Canada, 2005, pp. 109-110.)
U. S. Green Building Council Set the Standards for the Building Industry
In 2008 Jerry Yudelson
published an insightful treatise known as The Green Building Revolution.
He is a professional engineer, the author of numerous books on the subject and
a prominent leader and consultant in the green building industry.
Concerning the USGBC’s unique
rating system, Jerry Yudelson writes:
“Over the ensuing seven years, LEED has become the de facto U. S. rating system for commercial, institutional, and high-rise residential buildings. In
the process, LEED has defined what it means for a building to be sustainable
and how architects, engineers, builders, owners, and developers should approach
creating green buildings. This is a remarkable achievement for a nonprofit
“Projects register to use the LEED rating system; when
finished, they submit documentation to receive a certification at one of four
levels: basic (Certified), Silver, Gold or Platinum. The initial LEED system
covered only new construction and major renovations of commercial and
institutional developments and then, with some modifications, became usable for
residential developments above three stories. This original system is now generally
referred to as LEED for New Construction (LEED-NC), to clearly indicate its
“Since 2000, the USGBC has unveiled five additional LEED
rating systems. They apply to commercial interiors (tenant improvements),
existing buildings (operation and maintenance activities), core and shell
buildings (for developers), homes (for single-family and low-rise residential),
and neighborhood development (for urban districts and higher-density mixed use
“ … By the year-end 2006, cumulative LEED-NC registrations
exceeded 2005 totals by 50 percent, growing to nearly 4, 000, while the number
of LEED-NC certified projects increased over the same period by nearly 70
percent to 513…. In an industry (construction and development) that typically grows
about 5 percent (or less) per year, this rapid growth is an earthshaking
phenomenon. You can also see the large number of projects in the other major
“For 2007, I predict that more than 1,500 new projects will
register to use the LEED system, representing about 150 million square feet of
new construction, or about 8 to 10 percent of the total U. s. commercial and institutional building market. Based on the current rate of growth, I
anticipate that 300 to 400 of those projects will receive LEED certification in
2007, representing about one per day. By the year-end 2008, I conservatively
predict that more than 1,500 LEED-certified projects will exist throughout the United States and Canada.
“As Rich Fedrizzi wrote in the foreword [The Green Building
Revolution], the USGBC has even more dramatic goals for LEED rating system: by
the end of 2010, the council hopes to see 100,000 LEED-certified commercial and
institutional projects and one million LEED-certified homes in the United States. If achieved, this would represent a 200-fold increase in certified
commercial buildings and a 1–-fold increase in certified homes (estimating
that about 10,000 homes were certified green in 2006).
“In the residential sector, there has long been a focus on
energy efficiency through the Energy Star home-certification program, which is
aimed a cutting energy use 15 percent below a 2004 baseline. In 2006 this
program certified 174,000 homes, about 12 percent of all new homes built. Other
industry-based certification programs produced thousands of additional green
homes in 2006.
“The USGBC estimated that through its member organizations,
its programs are affecting hundreds of thousands of people each year. One
indication of this is the growth in attendance at workshops that show building
industry professionals how to work with the LEED system. By the end of 2006,
nearly 45,000 people had taken an all-day LEED training workshop. At the same
time, nearly 35,000 people has passed a national exam to become LEED Accredited
Professionals, or LEED APs. These numbers indicate LEED’s tremendous reach
within the commercial building sector; they also show how the USGBC is building
the capacity for people to take part in the green building revolution. The
USGBC’s goal is that each green building project use at least one LEED AP guide
it through the LEED certification process.
“But the green building
revolution is not just about the USGBC and the LEED process. It is a broader
movement by the building industry to become more responsible: toward the
occupants of its buildings; toward community infrastructure, energy and water,
and other natural resources and materials; and toward the global environment.
(Jerry Yudelson, The Green Building Revolution. Washington, D. C.: Island Press, 2008, pp. 4-6.)
Market for Green Buildings in America
A new market for green buildings has arisen in America. Concerning this major new trend, Yudelson states:
“Kathleen O’Brien runs a small green-building consulting
firm in Seattle. Speaking of her experience, she says: ‘Now that compelling
information about climate change is available, people who were on the fence are
deciding that green building is definitely the right thing to do. They are
starting to see the connection between global environmental impacts and
possible costs to their operations. In additional to proportional immediate
operational savings, marketing savings, design savings, for example, they are
also thinking about long-term protection from volatile energy pricing, energy
security, and things like that.’
“The market for green buildings includes commercial,
institutional, and residential buildings as well as public, educational,
nonprofit, and corporate owners. Green buildings are found in locations all
over the United States and Canada, from the Arctic Circle to the tip of Florida, from the rocky coast of Nova Scotia to the tropical beaches of Hawaii. They
comprise a vast array of building types, including offices, police stations,
baseball stadiums, museums, libraries, animal shelters, and industrial
buildings. Green building projects involve new and historic buildings; urban
infill, brownfield restoration, and suburban ‘greenfield’ sites’ and all sizes
of projects, ranging from a few thousand to more than one million square feet.
“LEED-registered public-sector and nonprofit green buildings
in the U. S. are approaching 10 percent of the total annual new construction
value of such buildings, while commercial green buildings are approaching 5
percent of the total annual new construction. While these numbers may seem
small, they indicate solid acceptance by the early-adopter market and provide a
basis for predicting a rapidly growing market share of green buildings in each
component of the building industry: commercial, primary and secondary school,
higher education, government, health care, retail, and hospital.
Policy Case for Green Buildings in America
“Until the USGBC formed and
began to talk about the need for market transformation, few people were aware
of the tremendous impact of buildings on the environment. According to the
USGBC, buildings directly account for 12 percent of all freshwater use, 30 per
of all raw materials, 30 percent of all greenhouse emissions (the indirect
effects of materials and transportation account for another 18 percent), 45 to
65 percent of waste outputs to landfills, 31 percent of all mercury in sold
waste, and 70 percent of all electricity consumption.
“On the other hand, we know
that green buildings offer a 30 percent energy savings, a 30 to 50 percent water
savings, a 35 percent reduction in carbon emissions, and a 50 to 90 percent
reduction in construction waste and waster generation from building operations.
“Buildings are long-lived: the
typical life of a non-residential building is 75 years, while a public school
building might last 60 years. Since energy costs may increase dramatically over
the lifetime of a building, total lifetime energy costs can often exceed the
cost of the building itself….
Role of Government in Launching the Green Building Revolution
“At the beginning of the
present decade, government leadership was vital for the growth of green
buildings, with government and nonprofit buildings making up more that 70
percent of all LEED project registrations and more than 60 percent of the value
of all green buildings. By mandating LEED standards for their own buildings,
governments set an example for the private sector.
“In 2001 the Seattle City
Council became the first governmental body in the nation to issue a
LEED-related mandate, requiring LEED Silver certification for all new public
buildings over 5,000 square feet. In 2004, the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, mandated LEED Gold certification for all new public buildings above a
certain size. And in 2004, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed
Executive Order S-20-04, requiring the LEED Silver certification for all new
state buildings, while also mandating a 15 percent reduction in electricity use
in state buildings within ten years.
“These examples energized the
private sector to follow suit. By 2005 the momentum had shifted, with nearly
half of all LEED registration and new green building certifications coming from
nongovernmental sources. Corporate goals of pursuing sustainability in all its
dimensions have played a part in this growth, as has a growing awareness of the
business-case benefits of green buildings…. (Jerry Yudelson, The Green Building Revolution. Washington, D. C.: Island Press, 2008, pp. 7-9,)
The election of President Barack Obama in 2008 gave an
unprecedented boost to the Green Building Revolution and the Clean Tech
Revolution. Over the next eight years the Obama Administration is going to
bring about a transformation in the way Americans think about green buildings,
sustainable living, renewable energy sources and energy independence.
Hundreds of billions of dollars are going to be spent in an
effort to make America independent of foreign energy and fossils fuels and to
eliminate greenhouse emissions in the United States and around the world.
Every new government building will be a LEED certified
building. Every existing government building will be retrofitted to save energy
and lower their carbon footprint.
The old brown world (based upon fossil fuels and excessive
energy consumption), is dying and a new green world is emerging. The old brown
world is dying and a new green world order is emerging. The old brown world
economy is dying and a new green world economy is emerging.
The dawn of a new age has arrived.
Materials Hit the Market
The Green Building Revolution could hardly exist if tens of
thousands of entrepreneurs had not caught the vision of the movement and began
altering their manufacturing facilities to meet the demand that is now being
thrust upon them
The Green Building Revolution is the next trillion dollar
industry and the individuals who enter the new green building industry are
going to reap untold financial and personal rewards. Each day new companies
surface with new green products and new green consumers are standing in line to
purchase their products.
A new green world is emerging and the green building
products industry is an integral part of the new green world economy that is
In an article entitled, “The Future of Eco-Friendly Home
Design”, Kasen Seaver stated:
‘There are plenty of changes occurring in the homebuilding
industry, and even if you aren’t planning on moving anytime soon, it pays
(literally) to know what changes are in store for when you finally make that
Percent of Homes in 2010 Will Be Green Homes
On the forefront of these changes are eco-friendly
improvements and practices. In fact, the National Association of Home Builders
estimates that almost 50 percent of homes built in 2010 will be green.
“LEED”ing the Way
Consider moving to one of the more than 200 pilot projects
across 39 states that are part of LEED for Neighborhood Development. These
projects incorporate smart growth and eco-conscious design into each urban
community. What does this mean for you?
The first home in the country to be given LEED Platinum
status, the house is also the prototype for LivingHomes, a prefabricated home
builder. In fact, the “bulk of the house was built at a factory in Santa Fe
Springs, Calif., and assembled in one day.” - Socketsite.com Living in a
LEED-certified development means residents inhabit mixed use spaces with access
to a variety of housing types, from multi-unit to single family residences,
public green spaces and a system of networked roadways that are pedestrian,
cyclist and public transit friendly. As a member of this community, you not
only combat urban sprawl, which strains already limited resources and natural
animal habitats, but also decrease greenhouse gas emissions by cutting back on
the use of your automobile with daily amenities located in the neighborhood.
Not convinced that living a LEED neighborhood is your style?
LEED homes that are designed and constructed based on green principles, helping
you live in a healthier environment with power water and energy bills.
Translation: they save you money in the long run.
It’s a Material World
You would probably be surprised at how creative we’ve become
with materials for green home construction. For example, the foundation of
homes can be made with Styrofoam blocks, and insulation can come from recycled
paper or denim scraps instead of toxic fiberglass.
Interiors have earth-friendly options as well. For example,
Eco-Kitchens Online sells countertops made from recycled yogurt containers,
coffee cups or bamboo. According to your tastes, an eco-friendly, low-VOC paint
or wax can be applied as well.
Reducing energy usage is one of the easiest ways to lower
bills in a green home, and although solar panels and geothermal heat are great
options, here are some relatively low-cost ways to achieve that goal.
Purchase Energy Star electronics and appliances.
Use automatic light switches that use infrared and
A multi-zone HVAC unit segregates temperatures in various
zones of the home. Advanced programmable thermostats allow you to use a phone
to set temperatures in your home for different days and times. Some models
may also tell you when to change the air filter.
Development of an Automatic Metering Infrastructure (AMI)
with smart metering from utility companies will allow users to log in
remotely to adjust energy usage associated with heating, cooling, lighting
Slow the Flow
Green homes make an efficient use of water, an increasingly
limited resource. With methods involving collection of graywater for reuse in
non-drinking areas of the home, harvesting rainwater to use as irrigation and
installing efficient fixtures such as low-flow shower heads and dual-flush
toilets, homes can drastically reduce their water consumption. One cool new
product is Eco-Click by Hudson Reed, a faucet that clicks when you are using 50
percent of the available water flow. A second click gives you full capacity.
With the eco-conscious movement in full-force, there is no
shortage of options when building or remodeling, and technologies will only get
better. The future is green (and bright).
(Kasen Seaver, The Future of Eco-Friendly Home
Design. Earth911.com, January 19, 2009.)
Although the commercial building industry is facing a
challenging time at the moment, this will soon pass. However, the majority of
new commercial building in future will be green building, not the old brown,
energy consuming buildings of the past.
The internet now contains thousands of web sites that
advertise green building products and green building services. One of the
fastest growing areas is that of green consulting firms. They are literally
sprouting up everywhere as companies begin to change their development and
building strategies to bring them into alignment with the green building
industry guidelines and new governmental rules and regulations. New magazines,
books, newsletters, articles and blogs are arising daily on the green building
Building Product Companies and Consultants
There are a number of outstanding organizations and web
sites that are promoting green building products and services. These include:
Sourcebook for Green and Sustainable Building – Greenbuilder.com
of Green Products – Buildinggreen.com
Directory – Greenspec.com
Associates – Greenbuildconsult.com
Professionals – Greenbuilder.com
As the green building continues to gain support among
builder and developers, more and more companies will begin supplying them with
green building products. It is important to note that the “National Association
of Home Builders estimates that almost 50 percent of homes built in 2010 will
be green.” In a few years almost all of the homes built in America will be green homes. The energy savings, tax incentives and government mandated green
building codes will pave the way.
Savings Becomes Popular
In 2005 Andres R. Edwards published a treatise entitled, The
Sustainability Revolution: Portrait of a Paradigm Shift. Concerning the
energy consumption of buildings in America he stated:
“The statistics for the environmental impacts of buildings
are staggering. In the United States, buildings are responsible for over 65
percent of total electricity consumption, 30 percent of total greenhouse gas
emissions, 136 million tons per year of construction and demolition waste
(approximately 2.8 pounds per person per day) and 12 per cent of the portable
“Globally, buildings use 40 percent (3 billion tons
annually) of all raw materials. Given the magnitude of the built environment,
finding alternative building strategies that are in harmony with communities
and ecosystems is imperative.
(Andres R. Edwards, The Sustainability Revolution:
Portrait of a Paradigm Shift. Gabriola Island, British Columbia, Canada, 2005, p. 97.)
Let us look at some startling facts about energy consumption
in the USA.
- Though accounting
for only 5 percent of the world's population, Americans consume 26 percent
of the world's energy. (American Almanac)
- In 1997, U.S. residents consumed an average of 12,133 kilowatt-hours of electricity each, almost
nine times greater than the average for the rest of the world. (Grist
- Worldwide, some 2
billion people are currently without electricity. (U.S. Department of Energy)
- Total U.S. residential energy consumption is projected to increase 17 percent from 1995 - 2015. (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
- World energy
consumption is expected to increase 40% to 50% by the year 2010, and the
global mix of fuels–renewables (18%), nuclear (4%), and fossil (78%)–is
projected to remain substantially the same as today; thus global carbon
dioxide emissions would also increase 50% to 60%.
industrialized and developing countries, Canada consumes per capita the
most energy in the world, the United Sates ranks second, and Italy consumes the least among industrialized countries.
countries use 30% of global energy. Rapid population growth, combined with
economic growth, will rapidly increase that percentage in the next 10
- The World Bank
estimates that investments of $1 trillion will be needed in this decade
and upwards of $4 trillion during the next 30 years to meet developing
countries' electricity needs alone.
- America uses about 15
times more energy per person than does the typical developing country.
appliances, including heating and cooling equipment and water heaters,
consume 90% of all energy used in the U.S. residential sector.
- The United States spends about $440 billion annually for energy. Energy costs U.S. consumers $200 billion and U.S. manufacturers $100 billion annually.
- Worldwide, 1995 was
the warmest year since global temperatures were first kept in 1856. This
supports the near consensus among climatologists that emissions of carbon
dioxide and other gases are causing global warming. (Chivilan and
Epstein, Boston Globe)
- On average, 16
million tons of carbon dioxide are emitted into the atmosphere every 24
hours by human use worldwide. (U.S. Department of Energy)
- Carbon emissions in
North America reached 1,760 million metric tons in 1998, a 38 percent
increase since 1970. They are expected to grow another 31 percent, to
2,314 million metric tons, by the year 2020. (U.S. Department of Energy)
- The United States is the world's largest single emitter of carbon dioxide, accounting for 23
percent of energy-related carbon emissions worldwide. (U.S. Department of Energy)
- An average of
23,000 pounds of carbon dioxide are emitted annually in each American
home. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
- The transportation
sector consumed 35% of the nation's energy in 1990; this sector is 97%
dependent on petroleum.
- Fossil fuels are
depleted at a rate that is 100,000 times faster than they are formed.
30,000 lives are cut short in the U.S. each year due to pollution from
electricity production. (ABT Associates study)
- About 81 tons of
mercury are emitted into the atmosphere each year as a result of electric
power generation. Mercury is the most toxic heavy metal in existence. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
- Burning fossil
fuels to produce energy releases carbon dioxide and other
global-warming-causing gases into the atmosphere. Global warming will
increase the incidence of infectious diseases (including equine
encephalitis and Lyme disease), death from heat waves, blizzards, and
floods, and species loss. (Chivilan and Epstein, Boston Globe,
April 10, 1997)
- The United States consumes about 17 million barrels of oil per day, of which nearly two-thirds
is used for transportation.
- The United States imports more than seven million barrels of oil per day.
- While the world's
population doubled between 1950 and 1996, the number of cars increased
tenfold. Automobile congestion in the United States alone accounts for
$100 billion in wasted fuel, lost productivity, and rising health costs.
Still, analysts project that the world's fleet of cars will double in a
mere 25 years. (Worldwatch Institute)
- Americans use a
billion gallons of motor oil a year, 350 million gallons of which end up
polluting the environment. (Department of Energy and Maryland Energy
- A car that gets 20
miles per gallon (mpg) emits approximately 50 tons of
global-warming-inducing carbon dioxide over its lifetime, while a 40-mpg
car emits only 25 tons. Over the average lifetime of an American car
(100,000 miles), a 40-mpg car will also save approximately $3,000 in fuel
costs compared to a 20-mpg car. (Natural Resources Defense Council)
- The cars and trucks
reaching the junkyards this year have higher gasoline mileage, on average,
than the new ones rolling off dealers' lots, for the first time on record.
(Matt Wald, The New York Times, August 11, 1997)
- Only 7.5 percent of
total U.S. energy consumption came from renewable sources in 1998. Of that
total, 94 percent was from hydropower and biomass (trash and wood
incinerators). (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
- For the 2 billion
people without access to electricity, it would be cheaper to install solar
panels than to extend the electrical grid. (The Fund for Renewable
- Within 15 years,
renewable energy could be generating enough electricity to power 40
million homes and offset 70 days of oil imports.
- Providing power for
villages in developing countries is a fast-growing market for
photovoltaics. The United Nations estimates that more than 2 million
villages worldwide are without electric power for water supply,
refrigeration, lighting, and other basic needs, and the cost of extending
the utility grids is prohibitive, $23,000 to $46,000 per kilometer in
- A one kilowatt PV
system* each month:
- prevents 150 lbs.
of coal from being mined
- prevents 300 lbs.
of CO2 from entering the atmosphere
- keeps 105 gallons of
water from being consumed
- keeps NO and SO2
from being released into the environment
* in Colorado, or an equivalent
system that produces 150 kWh per month
Wind power is the fastest-growing energy source in the world. (Worldwatch
- The wind in North Dakota alone could produce a third of America's electricity. (The Official
Earth Day Guide to Planet Repair)
- Wind power has the
potential to supply a large fraction–probably at least 20%–of U.S. electricity demand at an economical price.
- In 1990, California's wind power plants offset the emission of more than 2.5 billion pounds of
carbon dioxide, and 15 million pounds of other pollutants that would have
otherwise been produced.
- Using 100 kWh of
wind power each month is equivalent to:
- planting ½ acre of
- not driving 2,400
- Research shows that
an average household with an electric water heater spends about 25% of its
home energy costs on heating water.
- Solar water heaters
offered the largest potential savings, with solar water-heater owners
saving as much as 50% to 85% annually on their utility bills over the cost
of electric water heating.
- You can expect a
simple payback of 4 to 8 years on a well-designed and properly installed
solar water heater. (Simple payback is the length of time required to
recover your investment through reduced or avoided energy costs.)
- Solar water heaters
do not pollute. By investing in one, you will be avoiding carbon dioxide,
nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and the other air pollution and wastes
created when your utility generates power or you burn fuel to heat your
household water. When a solar water heater replaces an electric water
heater, the electricity displaced over 20 years represents more than 50
tons of avoided carbon dioxide emissions alone.
- Using biodiesel in
a conventional diesel engine substantially reduces emissions of unburned
hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, sulfates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons,
nitrated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and particulate matter.
- can be used at
100% levels or mixed in any proportion with No. 2 diesel or No. 1
- Contains no
nitrogen or aromatics
- Typically contains
less than 15 ppm sulfur - Does not contribute to sulfur dioxide
- Has characteristically
low carbon monoxide, particulate, soot and hydrocarbon emissions
- Contains 11%
oxygen by weight
- Has the highest
energy content (BTUs) of any alternative fuel and is comparable to No. 1
- Over 4,000 electric
vehicles are operating throughout the United States (with the largest
number in California and the western United States).
- More than 20,000
flexible-fuel vehicles are in operation.
- Over 75,000 natural
gas vehicles in U.S. and nearly 1 million worldwide.
- By taking appropriate
energy-saving measures, by 2010 the United States can have an energy
system that reduces costs by $530 per household per year and reduces
global warming pollutant emissions to 10 percent below 1990 levels. (Energy
- Just by using the
"off the shelf" energy-efficient technologies available today,
we could cut the cost of heating, cooling, and lighting our homes and
workplaces by up to 80%. (U.S. Department of Energy and Maryland Energy Administration)
- Replacing one
incandescent lightbulb with an energy-saving compact fluorescent bulb
means 1,000 pounds less carbon dioxide is emitted to the atmosphere and
$67 dollars is saved on energy costs over the bulb's lifetime. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Alliance to Save Energy)
- A decrease of only 1% in
industrial energy use would save the equivalent of about 55 million
barrels of oil per year, worth about $1 billion.
(Energy Facts, Solar Energy
International. Carbondale, Colorado. 2009)
It is imperative that we begin in
earnest to curtail the usage of fossil fuels and begin using clean energy
sources and clean technology. In an article entitled, “Energy Use Can Be Cut by
Efficiency, Survey Says,” Steve Lohr stated:
“The growth rate of worldwide energy consumption
could be cut by more than half over the next 15 years through more aggressive
energy-efficiency efforts by households and industry, according to a study by
the McKinsey Global Institute, which is scheduled to be released today.
“The energy savings, the report said, can be achieved
with current technology and would save money for consumers and companies. The
McKinsey report offers a long list of suggested steps, including the adoption
of compact fluorescent light bulbs, improved insulation on new buildings,
reduced standby power requirements, an accelerated push for
appliance-efficiency standards and the use of solar water heaters.
“Those moves, among others, could reduce the
yearly growth rate in worldwide energy demand through 2020 to six-tenths of a
percent, from a forecast annual rate of 2.2 percent, the report concluded.
“The estimate of potential energy savings is one
conclusion of a yearlong research project by McKinsey that analyzes energy
productivity worldwide by regions, fuels and industrial and residential
“To take advantage of the energy-saving
opportunities, some product standards would have to be tightened and some
policy incentives changed. Current regulations and fuel subsidies, for example,
often favor consumption over efficiency. But many steps are not taken, the
report said, because energy users lack information or do not value efficiency
enough to change their buying habits.
“’The opportunities are huge and yet they are
being left on the table,” said Diana Farrell, director of the McKinsey Global
Institute, a research arm of the McKinsey consulting firm. “Standard economics
would say that energy prices would work their way through everything. But
that’s not really the case, particularly in the consumer market.”
“That is especially the case, according to other
energy experts and executives, if an energy-thrifty product has a slightly
higher purchase price and the financial payoff for users takes a while. That
helps explain the slow progress made by compact fluorescent light bulbs in the
“Years ago, these efficient light bulbs cost up
to 10 times as much as conventional incandescent bulbs, and their light had a
somewhat different hue.
“But today, the light spectrum has been
corrected and compact fluorescents are only slightly more costly than
conventional bulbs, yet they last 10 times as long and consume 75 percent less
electricity. The overall financial advantage of using compact fluorescent bulbs
is obvious and sizable, even if the initial purchase price is higher.
“’One of the great mysteries is why the public
has not shifted faster to fluorescent bulbs,” said Alexander Lidow, a
Stanford-educated physicist and the chief executive of International Rectifier,
a maker of power management equipment for energy-efficient appliances.
‘Such shifts might well go more quickly if
electric utilities were encouraged to promote efficiency. Under state rate
regulation, utilities are compensated for producing energy, but rarely for
conserving it. A few states, notably California, allow electric companies to
pass through the costs of energy-saving programs, but they are the exceptions.
“With changes in state regulation, we could
really stimulate energy efficiency,” said James E. Rogers, chief executive of
Duke Energy, a big utility in the Midwest and Southeast.
“Energy-saving investments, Mr. Rogers said,
would include on-site visits by experts to advise consumers on how to make
their homes more energy efficient; pass-through subsidies for the purchase of
fluorescent light bulbs; and sophisticated network technology to manage energy
use remotely during periods of peak demand.
“Mr. Rogers, who is chairman of the Edison
Electric Institute, a utility trade group whose members provide 60 percent of
the nation’s electric power, refers to energy efficiency as the “fifth fuel”
for electricity, after coal, natural gas, nuclear and renewable fuels.
“’The most efficient and environmentally
responsible plant you can build is the one that you don’t build,” he said.
“By easing demand, efficiency programs can help
restrain energy prices and help curb global warming. In the long term, the way
to deal with global warming is to switch from burning fossil fuels, which emit
carbon dioxide, the main global warming gas, to new clean-up technologies like
carbon sequestration, which refers to processes that remove carbon from the
“But Jeremy Symons, a climate expert at the
National Wildlife Federation, said, “Energy efficiency is an important part of
any intelligent climate control campaign.”
“The energy-saving opportunities identified in
the McKinsey report are steps in what Stephen H. Schneider, a climatologist at
Stanford, refers to as a “start smart” approach to global warming policy. “The
economy needs time to adjust, the politics takes time to gel and people need to
understand and get use to change to really support the big moves,” he said.”
(Steve Lohr ,“Energy
Use Can Be Cut by Efficiency, Survey Says.” New York Times, November 29, 2006.)
It is abundantly clear that the
current world order (based upon fossil fuels and excessive energy consumption)
is unsustainable. It is imperative that we begin using alternative energy
sources and renewable energy sources throughout the United States and the
world. The sun, wind, ocean currents and waves, geothermal heat and waste products
are just waiting to be utilized to produce clean energy. Millions of people
around the world are pushing for an end to the usage of fossil fuels.
It is clear that the era of fossil
fuels will not die quickly. The large multinational oil and natural gas
industry has grown extremely wealthy and incredibly powerful. They are not
about to give up their wealth and power easily.
The proponents of clean energy and
clean technology are going to have to be more diligent and more energetic if we
are going to move into a new green world order and a new green world economy
based upon alternative energy sources and renewable energy sources.
The transition from an old era into
a new era has never been easy. However, there is no alternative. The energy
needs of the entire world could be met if there was a concerted effort by the
nations of the earth to end the era of fossil fuels.
The answers to the world’s energy
crisis and climate change crisis is now available – solar power, wind power,
geothermal power, biofuel power, ocean current power and ocean wave power.
Power Lights up the World
One of the truly bright spots in the debate over climate
change is solar power. After years of watching the sun rise and the sun set
each and every day, scientists, engineers and inventors have finally developed
the clean technology that is necessary to harness the awesome power of the sun
for the benefit of every person on earth.
What is remarkable about the tremendous power of the sun is
that the Creator of the Universe does not charge the inhabitants of the earth
one penny to use it. Since the days of Adam and Eve, the rays of the sun have
shown brightly upon the earth giving its life-giving power to each and every
person and to all life forms.
A new era has burst upon the earth. It is known as the Clean
Tech Revolution and with it comes the answer to a major problem that has
plagued man since the beginning. How do you harness the power of the sun for
the benefit of people on earth? The answer is photvoltaics (PV).
Photovoltaics is a part of the new Clean Tech Revolution
that is sweeping the earth. It is the process of creating solar cells that
concert sunlight directly into electricity. It is a discovery that will
literally transform the world of energy around the world. New discoveries are
hitting the market every two years. This rapidly expanding field is now fueling
the green building industry.
In an article entitled, “See-Through, Bendable Solar Cells
Could Expand Use of Solar Power”, Joyce Gramza writes.
“Solar power cells are still flat, rigid and ugly, 50 years
in the making, but that’s about to change, based on new research. Not only
might cells be more lightweight, flexible and transparent, their uses could be
expanded to things like solar fabrics or power-generating windows. This
ScienCentral News video explains what this research means for the future of
solar power cells.
“Up until now solar panels have had their fair share of
limitations, being heavy, rigid and fragile. But John Rogers, a professor at the
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and his team of researchers have
created a method to produce extremely thin solar cells that can also be
transparent and flexible.
“’If you look at a conventional solar panel, it’s relatively
heavy, mechanically rigid, it’s fragile, you can’t bend it, it’s opaque, you
can’t see through it,” Rogers explains. “Our work here is to address those
:No one has found a more desirable material than silicon for
generating solar power, but Rogers and his team invented a way to use extremely
thin slices of the material.
"’The way solar cells are currently manufactured with
silicon demand that thickness to achieve sufficient resistance to fracture so
that they can make the solar cells at high yields," Rogers explains.
“He and his team showed that thickness is not necessary to
make silicon solar cells efficient at producing power from the sun. They
figured out how to create silicon solar cells that are 100 times thinner than
conventional solar cells. Toachieve the best possible performance, Rogers’ team uses a monocrystalline variety of silicon. And they invented a process for
using the ultra-thin cells to design solar modules without damaging them. The
process is similar to a print process, which transfers the slices onto
lightweight plastic or fabric.
“This method allows photovoltaic cells, the building blocks
of solar panels, to be more efficient and potentially less costly.
“’So we have thin, lightweight, mechanically bendable and
even partially transparent module designs that we think could potentially open
up new areas of application for silicon-based solar technology," Rogers
“Recycle, Reduce, Reuse
“Because the new, thin modules use much less material, the
researchers can create more solar cells from the same silicon “wafer.”
“’We work our way through the entire thickness of the wafer,
thereby making very efficient use of the silicon material in the solar cell
technology that we developed,” Rogers says.
“But this extreme thinness requires a support system to
prevent breakage. “These are extremely thin solar cells — about one tenth the
thickness of a human hair — so without that support structure they can be
easily broken,” he explains. “The purpose of the plastic substrate is just to
form a mechanism support so that your solar cell is robust and not prone to
fracture or failure.”
“A Bright Future
“According to Rogers and his researchers’ report in the
journal, “Nature Materials,” their tests showed that the ultra-thin cells are
just as efficient as the conventional cells, while using much less material. Rogers says their flexibility and transparency will open the doors to more solar power
“’You could roll them up, throw them in the back of a truck
like a carpet, and then unfurl them when you’re installing them in their final
location,” Rogers says. "Those kinds of things are very difficult to do
when your solar cell technology is rigid and bulky and heavy."
“And by adjusting the density of the cells on the module
designs, the researchers can give them different degrees of transparency or
opacity. They could be used as lamination on the outside of a building, on
power-generating windows, or on the tinted sunroof of a car, Rogers explains.
“’You can imagine putting solar cells in all kinds of places
that previously were extremely difficult to do,” he says. "You can imagine
integrating these things with clothing, or the surfaces of tents or
“Those applications "could be possible with other kinds
of flexible solar cells, but they have their own disadvantages in terms of
performance and reliability. So it’s really bringing the well-developed silicon
technology to this world of flexible solar cells to enable these new
possibilities,” he says.
“Indeed, some of those applications are now available using
other materials, but Rogers writes that there’s good reason why silicon
"is used in more than 90% of all installed photovoltaic capacity… "If
one considers a metric that integrates, cost, materials abundancy, efficiency
and lifetime, by this measure, silicon is the best."
“Rogers has confidence that this new method of creating
solar panels will not only be efficient and attractive, but there’s a good
chance it will reduce the cost of solar energy, making it a more affordable
energy option for the future.
“The University of Illinois has filed patents on the new
inventions, and a North Carolina company called Semprius has licensed the
“’We’re pretty optimistic that the kinds of approaches we’re
developing now could have real commercial potential and could be valuable as an
alternative way to generate industry,” Rogers says.” (Joyce Gramza,
“See-Through, Bendable Solar Cells Could Expand Use of Solar Power.”
ScienCentra, November 7, 2008.)
Until there is a major commitment in the United States to switch to alternative energy sources and renewable energy sources, we will
not be able to make a serious effort at lowering carbon dioxide emissions and
While the U. S. is still pondering whether to make a large
commitment to solar power, other nations are moving ahead. Let us look at what Portugal is doing. They have joined with a leading America company, General Electric to
install one of the largest solar power plants in the world. Hulig.com reports”
“Spread across a hillside pasture amid olive trees, 52,000
shimmering photovoltaic modules in one of the world's largest solar power
plants have begun generating enough electricity for 8,000 homes, GE, PowerLight
Corp. and Catavento SA announced today.
“After eight months of construction and testing, GE Energy
Financial Services, a unit of General Electric, PowerLight, a subsidiary of
SunPower Corporation and Catavento dedicated the 11-megawatt Serpa solar power
plant today, on schedule.
“The facility – a model of clean power generation
integrated with agriculture – is in one of Europe's sunniest areas, in
Portugal's Alentejo agricultural region in the town of Serpa, 200 kilometers
(124 miles) southeast of Lisbon.
“GE Energy Financial Services financed and purchased the
project in an approximately US $75 million transaction last year. PowerLight, a
leading global solar power system provider, designed, deployed, operates and
maintains the plant. The plant uses PowerLight's innovative PowerTracker(R)
system that follows the sun's daily path across the sky to generate more
electricity than conventional fixed-mounted systems. Catavento, a leading
Portuguese renewable energy company, developed and manages the project, which
began feeding Portugal's electricity grid in late January.
“Kevin Walsh, Managing Director and leader of renewable
energy at GE Energy Financial Services, said today at a dedication ceremony in
Serpa: "This project is successful because Portugal's sunshine is
plentiful, the solar power technology is proven, government policies are
supportive, and we are investing and delivering under GE's ecomagination
initiative to help our customers meet their environmental challenges."
Added Andrew Marsden, Managing Director of GE Energy Financial Services' European
Operations: "The Serpa project is a springboard for other solar power
investments we're pursuing in Europe through project acquisitions, project
finance, development capital and access to solar modules through GE
“PowerLight CEO Tom Dinwoodie noted: "The Serpa solar
power plant speaks to the green power initiatives now setting Europe on a
course toward ambitious emissions reductions goals. By assembling a first-class
team of companies in the solar arena, we've achieved a remarkable renewable
“Generating electricity from the sun with no fuel costs or
emissions, the Serpa plant is on a 60-hectare (150-acre) hillside, equivalent
to the area of more than 80 football fields. The project supports a European
Union initiative by saving more than 30,000 tons a year in greenhouse gas
emissions compared to equivalent fossil fuel generation. The EU this month
agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent by 2020, from
“Portugal relies heavily on imported fossil fuels, and its
carbon dioxide emissions have increased 34 percent since 1990, among the
fastest rates in the world. To address this, the country is implementing some
of the world's most advanced incentives for installing renewable energy. The
Serpa project relies on a preferential tariff mandated by the Portuguese
government. Solar power enjoys widespread support in Portugal, with the backing
of 77 percent of the population, according to a European Commission study
published in January.
“At today's ceremony, a 3.7 million euro (US $4.8 million)
contract was signed for a grant to the project under the Portuguese
government's Economic Modernization Program.
“Piero Dal Maso, co-CEO of Catavento, said the project
"serves as a beacon to the
world to show how to overcome challenges of scale and
complexity." Added co-CEO Rui Pimenta: "We hope the government will
clear remaining roadblocks so solar power can truly radiate across Portugal."
“Construction of the Serpa project began in June 2006 and
was completed as planned in January 2007. The facility consists of a
ground-mounted photovoltaic system that uses silicon solar cell technology to
convert sunlight directly into energy. The Serpa solar power plant incorporates
photovoltaic modules from SunPower, Sanyo, Sharp and Suntech - SunPower
Corporation.” (Huliq.com.,“GE Invests, Delivers One of World's Largest Solar
Power Plants.” April 12, 2007.)
If the people are serious about ending their dependence upon
fossil fuels, solar power is the way to go. The technology and manufacturing
capability now exist to make the transition from fossil fuels to solar power.
What stands in the way? The large multinational oil companies have invested
trillions and trillions of dollars in the old brown world order and the old
brown world economy. They have a vested interested in maintaining the status
quo, even though they are producing nice commercials to deceive people into
believing that they are on the side of the new green world order and the new
green world economy that is emerging. Do not be deceived. The fossil fuel
industry is deeply embedded in the old brown world. They will not change
without a long projected fight. That battle is now underway throughout the
As the war continues, new discoveries and new technologies
are beginning to flood the market which makes fossil fuels look incredibly
outmoded. A bright spot in this global war is photovoltaics.
Power Blows the Carbon Based Economy Away
In the story of the big, bad wolf who threatened little red
riding hood, he screamed, ‘I’ll huff and huff and blow your house down.” Wind
power has the same power, it can literally blow away carbon dioxide and green
house gases if we curtail the use of the old dirty fuel known as fossil fuels.
It is clearly time to end our foreign dependence upon an outdated and outmoded
form of energy. Wind power has the potential to change the energy landscape of America. What is missing is the will power of the American people to demand an end to a
carbon based economy.
Once cannot drive through the Palm Springs, California
valley within being mesmerized by the thousands of giant wind machines slowing
turning as the wind swirls through the valley. The large, slow moving wind
blades almost look like dancers on a natural stage. As usual, California is
leading the way with wind power generation. However, other areas of the nation
are rising up to challenge the national dominance of California.
Let us look at a little town in Texas by the name of
Sweetwater. In an article entitled, “Can Wind Power a Rural Renaissance,”
Melanie Warner wrote:
“Jon Bergstrom, a cotton and hay farmer in Sweetwater, Texas (population 10,472), looks outside his window every day and feels grateful. The giant
white towers spinning on the near horizon have everything to do with it.
Sweetwater is in Nolan County, which boasts more wind turbines than any other U.S. county. Its 1,253 turbines produce a total of 2,000 megawatts of electricity per year
at peak. (Coal-fired power plants average 603 megawatts.)
“Before clean, renewable wind energy came to Sweetwater, it
was best known for its rattlesnake roundup, held every year since 1958 on the
second weekend in March. Rattlesnakes may have put Sweetwater on the map, but
wind is keeping it there, giving the town the sort of solid economic
development American rural communities desperately need. Sweetwater offers a
glimpse of what's possible if the United States actually focuses on becoming a
world leader in alternative-energy technology and creating a green economy.
“Wind power has given landowners like Bergstrom some juicy
annual lease revenue. The 13 turbines sitting on his farm earn him at least
$52,000 a year, a figure that he says is scheduled to go up. Next year, wind
companies are expected to dole out $15 million to Nolan County property
“What really makes Bergstrom happy, though, is the thought
that his two grandsons, now 3 and 8, may actually want to stick around. (One of
Bergstrom's two children left Sweetwater for greener – and more urban – pastures
in Austin.) "There's nothing better than being able to spend time with
those boys," he says.
“The value that wind is bringing to Nolan County gives his grandkids more reasons to stay. Wind farms offer significant property-tax
revenue to counties, which means those boys are likely to get a much better
education than they would have before. Between 2002 and 2007, wind companies
put $23.7 million in the coffers of the county's four school districts, and
each district has either erected a modern school building or has one under
“There are also good local jobs available. Because wind
turbines are such massive structures, their manufacturing, installation, and
service has to happen locally. That means the return of some of those
all-American well-paying blue-collar jobs – $12 to $23 an hour for
manufacturing and $20 to $30 an hour for maintenance – that have disappeared
overseas. Sweetwater's unemployment rate is just 3.5%, and over the past two
years, the county gave residents a 30% property-tax reduction, making the area
even more livable.
“Sweetwater is not an isolated wind success story. Home
prices, down about 20% nationally since their euphoric high in the summer of
2006, are only down 5% in the dusty town of Pipestone, Minnesota (population
4,095), where 450 new jobs have been created since a turbine-manufacturing
facility and service operation opened in 2007. Farming families in Lamar, Colorado, are getting annual checks for more than $250,000 apiece in lease revenue.
“What these small towns have in common is not just geography
– they're all in the wind-swept Midwest and West – but proximity to
reasonably adequate transmission lines. That's what's needed to carry that wind
energy to larger metropolitan areas.
“If wind is going to power a rural renaissance, policy
makers in Washington must put in place a strategy to fund the building of new
electricity transmission lines that will connect more rural areas to big
population centers where most energy is consumed. Construction estimates for this
modern clean-energy superhighway? About $60 billion. If it means new jobs and
middle-class affluence, as well as carbon-free energy independence, it may be
one of the best investments that we can make.” (Melanie Warner, “Can Wind Power
a Rural Renaissance?” January 15, 2009.)
Although the United States lags behind Germany there is a new movement to make the United States the number one producer of clean energy
through wind power generation. One of the largest wind corridors in the world
blows right through the middle of America. This power is just waiting to be
tapped. Of course, there will need to be a new electric grid laid in America. However, the Obama Administration is determined to see this happen.
The American people should embrace this clean source of
energy. It is literally blowing in the wind. The manufacturing base is in
place. One of the largest manufacturers of wind power turbines is General
Electric – an American company. Tens of thousands of jobs could be created here
n America if we simply begin the transition to renewable energy sources with
Power Warms the Green Building Movement
Deep below the surface of the earth there is a tremendous
source of new clean power – geothermal power. Geothermal energy is heat that is
located deep inside the earth.
Underground water circulates in deep caverns and
lava tubes where it encounters molten magna which turns the water into steam.
Large pumps bring the steam and hot water to the surface where it is used to
turn large generators producing abundant electricity. The water is returned to
the caverns below the surface. Until recently the cost of the geothermal plants
exceeded the returns from generating electricity. However, once again clean
technology is driving a revolution – the Clean Tech Revolution and geothermal
power is an abundant new source of power for the American people, especially in
the Northwest portion of the nation where the giants plates beneath the Rocky
Mountains are merging with the large plates beneath the Pacific Ocean. The
result is volcanic eruptions which lead to the lava tubes and caverns and
immense heat from the magma.
According to a report from Renewable Northwest Project:
Northwest has the potential to generate more than 2,600 average megawatts of
electricity from geothermal power, or enough clean, renewable energy to meet
the annual needs of almost 2 million average homes. Although estimates of
available resources are uncertain until exploratory work is done, the Northwest
Power Planning Council has identified eleven specific areas where it expects
there are about 2,000 megawatts of developable geothermal resources.
areas in the western United States are usually found where there has been
relatively recent volcanic activity. Virtually all of the geothermal electric
generation developed in the U.S. so far has been in California and Nevada. The most promising sites in the Northwest are in the Basin and Range area of
southeastern Oregon and southern Idaho, as well as some areas along the
Cascades in Oregon, Washington and northern California.
potential also exists in the Northwest for direct, non-electric use of
geothermal heat. Low temperature geothermal district heating has been used for
decades in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and Boise, Idaho.
levelized costs for geothermal electricity generation are 4.5–7.5 cents per
kilowatt-hour – competitive with many fossil fuel facilities, but without the
pollution. Delivered costs depend on ownership arrangements, financing,
transmission, the quality of the resource, and the size of the project.
plants are built of modular parts, with most projects including one or more
10–50 MW turbines. Geothermal plants are relatively capital-intensive, with low
variable costs and no fuel costs. Usually financing is structured so that the
project pays back its capital costs in the first 15-20 years, delivering power
at 5–7¢/kWh. Then costs fall by around 50 percent, to cover just operations and
maintenance for the remaining 10–20 years that the facility operates.
power, like all renewable resources, keeps economic benefits local. The most
promising geothermal project sites are in rural areas. Geothermal power
provides local jobs, retains dollars locally, pays local property taxes, and
contributes royalties to the local county to support services. A study by the
Oregon Department of Energy found that a 100 MW project in Eastern Oregon could
create over a million dollars of additional local income each year, and would
pay $4–6 million in local and state fees, royalties and taxes. In contrast, a
similarly sized natural gas project sends $20-35 million out of the region
every year for fuel costs alone.
are several types of geothermal power technologies. Most of the installed
geothermal electrical generating plants use either flash or binary
technologies. Generally, flash technologies are used when the geothermal
resource has temperatures of 350°F and higher, and binary technologies are used
with temperatures below 350°F. In both technologies, the geothermal fluids are
returned to the underground reservoirs and naturally reheated for reuse.
a flash steam process, water from underground wells is separated
(flashed) into steam and water. The water is directly returned to the
geothermal reservoir by injection wells, or cycled for other process or
agricultural uses before reinjection. The steam is used to drive a turbine and
generate electricity. Any gases in the steam are removed and, if necessary,
treated to remove dissolved pollutants. The steam is cooled to liquid form and
then also re-injected into the geothermal reservoir. For very high temperature
resources, the water can be controlled
flash more than once to recover even more energy from the same resource.
binary power plant is used for moderate-temperature resources. The hot
water from a geothermal source is used to heat a secondary working fluid, such
as ammonia or isobutane, in a closed-loop system. The working fluid is
vaporized in a heat exchanger and is then used to drive a turbine generator. A
cooling system is used to condense the vaporized working fluid back into liquid
form to begin the process again. The hot water from the geothermal resource is
injected back into the reservoir. The hot water and the working fluid are kept
separate, so that environmental issues are minimal.
plants are one of the most reliable of all electricity sources, regularly
operating at 90 percent or more of their rated capacity year round. Because
they can run continuously, geothermal plants are most often used for providing
baseload energy. In addition, some plants in Italy and at The Geysers in California have been used to help meet daily peak loads. Geothermal power can provide
significant system diversity, stability and transmission benefits, thereby
increasing system reliability and lowering overall operating costs.
geothermal is one of the more benign power sources, it must be properly sited
to prevent possible environmental impacts. New geothermal systems re-inject
water into the earth after its heat is used, in order to preserve the resource
and to contain gases and heavy metals sometimes found in geothermal fluids.
Care must be taken in planning geothermal projects to ensure that they don’t
cool nearby hot springs or cause intermixing with ground water. Geothermal
projects can produce some carbon dioxide emissions, but these are up to 35
times lower than the cleanest fossil-fuel power plants of the same size.”
(“Geothermal Power”, Renewable Northwest Project. Portland, Oregon, September
2006, pp. 1-2.)
January of 2006, the Western Governors’ Association met in Reno, Nevada to discuss the potential development of geothermal sites. It issued a 67 page report
entitled: Geothermal Task Force Report.” The study found the following:
geothermal power plants have been producing electricity for decades, only a
small fraction of geothermal potential has been tapped. With new technology and
rising energy costs, geothermal resources that historically have not been
economical to develop will become increasingly more attractive to investors and
utilities. New geothermal technologies for direct use, such as for greenhouses,
district heating, and fish farms, can also play an important role in reducing
a community's overall need for other energy supplies.
The western states share a capacity of almost 13,000 megawatts (MW) of
geothermal energy that can be developed on specific sites within a reasonable
timeframe (e.g., by 2025).
power plants, ranging from 10 to over 200 MW (depending on the resource), can
supply enough electricity to meet the needs of 10,000 to 200,00 homes
these, 5,600 MW are considered by the geothermal industry to be viable for
commercial development within the next ten years; i.e., by about 2015. (To put
this into perspective, the U.S. had 2,828 MW of geothermal power capacity
on-line in 2005.) This is a commercially achievable capacity for
new generation and does not include the much larger potential of unknown,
5,600 MW is estimated to be developable at busbar costs in a range of levelized
costs of energy (LCOE) of about 5.3 to 7.9 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). This
assumes commercial project financing conditions and the extension of a
production tax credit (PTC) consistent with current federal law. Lacking a PTC
t catalyze renewable energy development, LCOE values would be 2.3 cents per
state-by-state capacity subtotals are provided below. Numbers in (parenthesis)
reflect the number of sites in each state.
Capacity (MW) Alaska (3) 20 Arizona (2) 20 California (25) 2,400 Colorado (9) 20 Hawaii (3) 70 Idaho (6) 860 Nevada (63) 1,500 New Mexico (6) 80 Oregon (11) 380 Utah (5) 230 Washington (5) 50 TOTAL 5,630 MW
for Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming has not yet been analyzed but will be added.
geothermal power capacity of 5,600 MW could add 9,580 new full-time jobs from
geothermal power facilities, and also generate an additional 36,064
person-years of construction and manufacturing employment. An economic
multiplier effect would increase these numbers further.
power facilities would also increase state and local tax and royalty income.
For example, in 2003, the Geysers Geothermal Field in California, with almost
1,000 MW of geothermal power generation capacity in place, paid $11 million in
property taxes to two counties, while royalty venues added several million
dollars more to state and county revenues.
actual future markets sustain energy costs up to 20 cents per kilowatt-hour or
the risk and cost of development is reduced substantially, the Task Force
estimates that know resources could support new capacity of about 13,000 MW.
Task Force goes on to note that geothermal power is a reliable, continuously
available (24 hours/day - 7 days/week) baseload energy source. Except for short
outages to repair equipment and conduct overhauls every few years, geothermal
facilities have very high availability and capacity factors; they typically
operate 90 to 98 percent of the time.
high reliability compares favorably to conventional power plants.
geothermal energy is one of the cleanest resources for generating electricity.
Compared to fossil fuels, geothermal utilizes less land, consumes and
discharges less water, has fewer air emissions, and generates fewer wastes.
Geothermal particularly stands out when the relative air emissions from
geothermal plants and fossil fuel plans are compared. In contrast to fossil
fuel plants, geothermal plants only emit small amounts, if any, of carbon
dioxide, particulate matter, sulfur dioxides, and nitrogen oxides.
as a testament to this point, the air basin downwind of the largest geothermal
field in the world, The Geysers, is the only air district in California to be
in attainment with all federal and state ambient air quality standards for over
tap the potential described by the Task Force, its members outlined a series of
priority policy proposals.
marketplace needs to support the continued development of geothermal resources.
1.) Federal and state tax credits are important to reduce the risk and high
capital cost of new projects. The federal production tax credit (and clean
renewable bonding authority) should be made permanent, or at least extended ten
2.) State laws and regulations should promote a continuing series of
opportunities for power purchase agreements between developers and utilities.
Whether generated through Renewable Portfolio Standards, Integrated Resource Planning,
or other mechanisms, power purchase contracts are fundamental drivers of the
3.) Federal and state law and regulations should provide incentives for
utilities and others to enter into long-term contracts for renewable power. Accounting
and regulatory standards should treat renewable power contracts as benefits
instead of liabilities, and power purchase contracts should have he backing of
the government to ensure their credit worthiness.
TIMELY PERMITTING AND ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEWS:
projects should be prioritized to ensure that permitting, leasing, and
environmental reviews are completed in a timely and efficient manner.
1.) Federal, state, and local agencies should coordinate resources and requirements.
Agencies should be designated to take the lead on specific issues to avoid
duplication, and once issues are resolved, they should not be revisited without
2.) A critical path for new projects should be defined as part of this
cooperative effort, and timeframes for key agency decisions along the pathway
should be established.
TRANSMISSION ACESS AND ADEQUACY:
Western Governors should lead the process to ensure that adequate transmission
is available for the identified resources.
1.) There should be consistent Western state policies on inter-connection to
the grid that facilitate new geothermal (and other renewable) power
2.) A fee to support the cost of new transmission could be set that would
spread the cost across all states, parties, and technologies on a capacity
3.) Both inter- and intra-state transmission is needed to support the
identified resources and should be fast-tracked for permitting and environmental
FEDERAL PROGRAM SUPPORT:
support from key federal agencies is needed to achieve the 2015 goals. Federal
programs should be coordinated with state agencies.
1.) As the National Research Council concluded in its study "Renewable
Power Pathways, 2000", given the enormous potential of the resource base,
geothermal research by the U.S. Department of Energy should be increased,
particularly into technologies that can reduce risk, reduce costs, or expand
the accessible resource base.
2.) Better resource information is needed. The USGS' new resource assessment
and DOE's cost-shared drilling and exploration technology efforts should be
U.S. Department of Energy's "GeoPowering the West" initiative should
continue to support state and local governments, Indiana Tribes, and other
seeking to utilize the West's untapped geothermal resources. (“Western U.S. Has 13,000 Megawatts of Near-Term Geothermal Power Potential,” 2006.)
power is a clean, efficient way to produce electricity. It is a major component
of the Clean Tech Revolution and has the power to light up tens of thousands of
new green homes and new green buildings and create thousands of new jobs. Once
again, the people in the United States have the opportunity to move in a new
direction – a direction that leads away from fossil fuel and toward renewable
energy sources which do not produce carbon dioxide and pollute the land, air
and water on earth.
Power Waves the Way
All it takes is a stroll along any beach in the world and
you quickly learn to appreciate the awesome power and majesty of the ocean. The
earth is often called the “Blue Planet.” Why? Ask any astronaut and they will
tell you that the view of the earth and the oceans from space is singularly
spectacular. Nearly three-fourths of the earth is covered by deep blue oceans.
Like the sun and the wind, the oceans are an abundant source
of energy. The incredible power of the oceans is just waiting to be harnessed
so it can provide abundant clean energy. There are three main areas where the
oceans may play a major role in energy production in the days ahead: (1)
offshore wind power; (2) wave power; and (3) current or tidal power.
The first source of clean abundant power is offshore wind
power. According to the U. S. Department of the Interior:
“Wind is air in motion. It is produced by the uneven heating of
the earth’s surface by the sun. Since the earth’s surface is made of various
land and water formations, it absorbs the sun’s radiation unevenly. When the
sun is shining during the day, the air over landmasses heats more quickly than
the air over water. The warm air over the land expands and rises, and the
heavier, cooler air over the water moves in to take its place, creating local
winds. At night, the winds are reversed because the air over land cools more
rapidly than the air over water. Similarly, the large atmospheric winds that
circle the earth are created because the surface air near the equator is warmed
more by the sun than the air over the North and South Poles.
“Wind energy is mainly used to generate electricity. Windmills
work by slowing down the speed of the wind. The wind flows over the
airfoil-shaped blades causing lift, like the effect on airplane wings, causing
them to turn. The blades are connected to a drive shaft that turns an electric generator
to produce electricity. Wind turbines are being installed on offshore oil and
gas platforms in many areas to generate power to operate the equipment.
“For wind machines to be economical, there must be winds that
blow consistently above 10-14 miles per hour. Many offshore areas have ideal
wind conditions for wind machines. Denmark and the United Kingdom have
installed large offshore wind parks to take advantage of the consistent winds.
Several offshore parks are planned for the United States in the near future,
including one in Nantucket Sound and one off Long Island, NY.” (Ocean Energy,
U. S. Department of the Interior. p. 10.)
The second source of clean abundant power is ocean wave
power. According to the U. S. Department of the Interior:
“Waves are caused by the wind blowing over the surface of the
ocean. In many areas of the world, the wind blows with enough consistency and
force to provide continuous waves. There is tremendous energy in the ocean
waves. The total power of waves breaking on the world’s coastlines is estimated
at 2-3 million megawatts. The west coasts of the United States and Europe and
the coasts of Japan and New Zealand are good sites for harnessing wave energy.
“One way to harness wave energy is to bend or focus the waves
into a narrow channel, increasing their power and size. The waves can then be
channeled into a catch basin, like tidal plants, or used directly to spin
turbines. There aren’t any big commercial wave energy plants, but there are a
few small ones.
“Small, on-shore sites have the best potential for the immediate
future, especially if they can also be used to protect beaches and harbors.
They could produce enough energy to power local communities.
“Japan, which must import almost all of its fuel, has an active
“Another way to harness wave energy is with an Oscillating Water
Column (OWC) that generates electricity from the wave-driven rise and fall of
water in a cylindrical shaft or pipe. The rising and falling water drives air
into and out of the top of the shaft, powering an air-driven turbine. In Norway, a demonstration tower that is built into a cliff produces electricity very
economically using this method. The wail of the fast-spinning turbines,
however, can be heard for miles.
“Float devices can generate electricity from the bobbing action
of a floating object. The object can be mounted to a floating raft or to a
device fixed on the ocean floor. These types of devices can power lights and
whistles on buoys.” (Ocean Energy, U. S. Department of the Interior. p.
The third source of clean abundant power is underwater ocean
currents or tidal waves. According to the U. S. Department of the Interior:
“The tides rise and fall in eternal cycles. Tides are changes in
the level of the oceans caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun,
and the rotation of the earth. Nearshore water levels can vary up to 40 feet,
depending on the season and local factors. Only about 20 locations have good
inlets and a large enough tidal range—about 10 feet—to produce energy
“The generation of electricity from tides is similar to
hydroelectric generation, except that tidal water flows in two directions. The
simplest generating system for tidal plants involves a dam, known as a barrage,
across an inlet. Sluice gates on the barrage allow the tidal basin to fill on
the incoming high tides and to empty through the turbine system on the outgoing
tide, known as the ebb tide. Flood-generating systems that generate power from
the incoming tide are possible, but are less favored than ebb generating
systems. Two-way generation systems, which generate electricity on both the
incoming and ebb tides, are also possible.
“The construction of a tidal barrage in an inlet can change the
tidal level in the basin. It can also have an effect on the sedimentation and
turbidity of the water within the basin. In addition, navigation and recreation
can be affected. A higher tidal level can cause flooding of the shoreline,
which can affect the local marine food chain. Potentially the largest
disadvantage of tidal power is the effect a tidal station has on the plants and
animals that live within an estuary. Since few tidal barrages have been built,
very little is known about the full impact of tidal power systems on the local
environment. In every case, it will depend on the local geography and marine
“There are currently two commercial sized barrages in
operation—a 240 MW turbine at La Rance, France, and a 16 MW plant at Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, Canada. Several other tidal power stations are being
considered, including the Severn project in England. The United States has no tidal plants and only a few sites where tidal energy could be produced
economically. France, England, Canada and Russia have much more potential. The
keys are to lower construction costs, increase output, and protect the
“Tidal fences can also harness the energy in the tides. A tidal
fence has vertical axis turbines mounted within a fence structure called a
caisson that completely blocks a channel, forcing all of the water through it.
Unlike barrage stations, tidal fences can be used in unconfined basins, such as
in a channel between the mainland and a nearby offshore island, or between two
islands. As a result, tidal fences have much less impact on the environment,
because they do not require flooding the basin. They are also significantly
cheaper to install. Tidal fences have the advantage of being able to generate
electricity once each individual module is installed. Tidal fences are not free
of environmental and economic impacts, however, since the caisson can disrupt
the movement of large marine animals and shipping. A 55MW tidal fence is planned
for the San Bernadino Strait in the Philippines.
“Tidal turbines are a new technology that can be used in many
tidal areas. Tidal turbines are basically wind turbines that can be located
wherever there is strong tidal flow, as well as in river estuaries. Since water
is about 800 times as dense as air, tidal turbines will have to be much
sturdier than wind turbines. They will be heavier and more expensive to build,
but will be able to capture more energy.” (Ocean Energy, U. S.
Department of the Interior. p. 10.)
The election of President Barack Obama signals a new era in
energy production. The President’s new energy plans include the production of
clean abundant energy from the oceans. The United States has one on the long
shorelines in the world. It is a resource that is just waiting to be harnessed.
Gas Lights the Way
Nearly everyone is familiar with the bright blue flame that
is emitted from the burning of natural gas. Although natural gas is technically
a fossil fuel, it is one of the cleanest burning fossil fuel on earth. It is
miles ahead of oil and coal. Natural Gas is usually trapped deep underground in
very porous rocks that lie above large oil deposits. Deep wells are required to
bring it to the surface. Raw natural gas that is pumped to the surface is
composed of several gases. The main ingredient is methane which is processed
into the fuel that we used in our vehicles, homes and businesses. Natural gas
also is used to produce electricity through co-generation units. Natural gas
provides the American people with over 20 percent of its fuel needs.
In light of the Clean Tech Revolution that is sweeping
across America and the world, the natural gas industry is quickly turning the
blue flame into a green flame. And they are trying to distance themselves from
their big cousins – oil and coal. Since natural gas is a clean burning fuel,
many people are anxious to include it in the Clean Tech Revolution.
The American Gas Association has done a wonderful job of
making the transition to the new green economy. They have launched a dynamic
new program entitled, “Naturally Green Natural Gas Home Program. I am sure they
will soon introduce a “Naturally Green Natural Gas Office and Commercial Building
Let us take a look at the Naturally Green Natural Gas Home
Program report since it was especially designed for new green homes.
In the executive summary to their report, the American Gas
“America is going green. The Green revolution is
a rapidly expanding grassroots movement throughout American culture, and it
presents natural gas utilities with a unique growth opportunity. Because
natural gas is widely acknowledged as an environmentally friendly fuel, gas
utilities are poised to readily and authoritatively assume a leadership role in
the Greening of the American home.
“To assist gas utilities in taking this
leadership role, the American Gas Association (AGA) has developed the Naturally
Green Natural Gas Home Program. The Program is intended to be
marketed and disseminated by the gas utility to home builders and remodelers in
its service territory. Then, by installing natural gas appliances, builders and
remodelers use the Program to self-certify their homes as Naturally Green
Natural Gas Homes. This Green Home certification is a marketable brand
identity that clearly spreads the word about the builder’s/remodeler’s decision
to use natural gas to the fullest. This Program, then, is the vehicle
for the natural gas utility, the builder/remodeler, and the homeowner to take
an active and productive part in America’s Green revolution.” (Naturally
Green Natural Gas Home Program. American Gas Association, Washington, D.
C., 2008, p. 5.)
In a section entitled, “Ensuring Natural Gas’s Rightful Place in the Green Home, the report states:
“By now, it is more than a trend.
“Having a Green home is fast becoming a
non-negotiable demand of the vast majority of Americans. The Green home is a
high-interest feature in daily newspapers, on radio and TV, on the Internet, in
everyday conversations, and most importantly, in the minds of home buyers and
homeowners. For most people, their largest and longest-term investment is their
home. They know that installing energy-conserving measures like natural gas
heating and appliances is a win-win proposition. With natural gas appliances,
the homeowner ensures dependable and convenient home comfort while decreasing
the home’s carbon footprint for now and the future. At present, comfort and
energy costs are still primary for most homeowners, but in months and years to
come, lowering the carbon footprint will inevitably become more and more
“So, just how does natural gas measure up in its
“Measures of “carbon intensity” can vary widely
among end uses and regions of the U. S., particularly since carbon dioxide
production from electricity generation for competing electrical appliance and
equipment applications varies. But some general average comparisons are valid
and useful. On average, approximately 90% of the energy produced as natural gas
is delivered to consumers’ natural gas appliances. The 10% of “losses” include
natural gas lost from the pipeline system and consumption in transit. In
contrast, only about one third of the energy provided for electricity
generation is delivered to consumers when generation and transportation losses
are included, on average and across all generation technologies and fuels,
based on data from the U. S. Energy Information Administration. These losses
mean that much more energy input is required for electricity than for natural
gas to deliver the same amount of energy to the consumer. And as a result, much
more carbon dioxide is produced in running electrical appliances than for
natural gas appliances when the “full fuel cycle” is taken into account, even
with the diversity of electricity generation approaches. The following graphs
for residential water heating illustrate this. While electric water heating
options often have higher end use efficiencies based on their rated “Energy
Factor” (EF), national average full fuel cycle consumption of energy and
related carbon dioxide emissions are much higher for electric water heater
“While carbon footprint comparisons of natural
gas and electric appliances can be more complex for other end uses, the
relationship for carbon dioxide production between natural gas and electric
appliances generally holds true when full fuel cycle efficiency is taken into
account. In addition, beyond carbon dioxide emissions, direct use of natural
gas holds distinct environmental advantages in reduced production of other air
pollutants (oxides of nitrogen, sulfur dioxide, and particulates), reduced
solid waste and wastewater pollution at the point of production, and reduced
land use disruption.” (Naturally Green Natural Gas
Home Program. American Gas Association, Washington, D. C., 2008, pp.
In a section entitled, “Green Means Sales and Profits for
Builders/Remodelers, American Gas Association report states:
utilities, builders and remodelers are big winners in this win-win scenario. By
installing the high-efficiency natural gas heating and appliances they would
specify anyway, they become self-certified natural gas home builders or
remodelers. They are increasing the desirability and marketability of their
homes because they are including precisely what the home buyer wants. They are
building increased value into their homes, which buyers instantly recognize and
appreciate. A Naturally Green Natural Gas Home is designed to save money
while the owner is living in it, and it retains increased marketability and
value when the homeowner wants to sell it. These Green value issues speak
directly to home buyers’ hearts and minds, and that translates into increased
“When the Naturally
Green Natural Gas Home Program is effectively marketed by
the natural gas utility, builders and remodelers will welcome it as an
opportunity to expand sales and business. It positions the builder/remodeler as
a friend, facilitator, and environmental leader for home buyers who are avidly
seeking a Green home. It places the builder/remodeler at the leading edge of
the environmental movement that all Americans inevitably must join. The
builder/remodeler who embraces the gas utility’s Naturally Green Natural Gas
Home Program is truly catching this wave toward greater sales and profits.” (Naturally Green Natural Gas Home Program.
American Gas Association, Washington, D. C., 2008, p. 10.)
The American Gas
Association has designed a new home energy efficiency rating system for new
homebuilder and remodelers. Like LEED it awards points for saving energy. The
“So, why another
energy ratings approach?
Green Natural Gas Home Program serves a different purpose
from the ENERGY STAR® Homes and LEED programs
mentioned above. The Program provides a means of rating new natural gas
homes relative to one another in terms of their energy efficiency and
associated environmental advantages. The Program presumes natural gas options
are installed in the homes with their rating while most other programs do not.
result, the Program provides consumers with information on how their
natural gas homes stack up against other homes with natural gas appliances.
They do not rank natural gas homes against other end use energy technologies.
The Program also is much easier to implement than these other ratings
approaches, which many times require rating by certified energy analysts (at
additional expense ultimately borne by consumers) and complex considerations of
tradeoffs in design and construction that are not readily explainable to new
home buyers. The Program simplifies the process of rating and
communicating with consumers about the relative efficiency and environmental
advantages of homes on the market.” (Naturally
Green Natural Gas Home Program. American Gas Association, Washington, D.
C., 2008, p. 13.)
Let us now look at the
new ratings program and see how it works. The report states:
to this Program is its simplicity. The objective for builders and remodelers is to
certify their homes as Naturally Green Natural Gas Homes. The builder or
remodeler earns a specific number of points toward certification by installing
natural gas appliances. The certification of a Naturally Green Natural Gas
Home is achieved when the builder/remodeler has accumulated a total of 237 points for Bronze Certification, 311 points for Silver
Certification, and 395 points for Gold Certification.
gas utility, the beauty of the Program is that it is easy to implement
and operate. The builder or remodeler tallies the points toward certification
by filling out the Award Worksheet (see pages105-124). After accumulating the
points needed for certification, the builder/remodeler submits the point tally
to the gas utility. The gas utility then simply verifies the number of points
the builder/remodeler has listed and presents the Naturally Green Natural
Gas Home Certificate to the builder/remodeler.
the certification process step-by-step:
“Step 1 | A gas utility representative
contacts the builder/remodeler and explains the advantages of attaining
certification and the certification process.
“Step 2 | The builder/remodeler
determines which natural gas appliances will be installed in the project’s
“Step 3 | Using architectural plans for
the project, the builder/remodeler fills out the appropriate Award Worksheet,
totaling up the points achieved by the project. The builder/remodeler then
submits the filled-out award worksheet to the gas utility for verification.
“Step 4 | An authorized gas utility
representative verifies that the energy efficiency point tallies are accurate
and qualify for Naturally Green Natural Gas Home certification, records
the total points on the back of the certificate for the appropriate award level
and signs the Certificate. The utility then presents the signed certificate to
“Step 5 | The gas utility then offers
to the builder/remodeler the appropriate marketing resources (signage, co-op
advertising, rebates, or other marketing tools) for promoting the Naturally
Green Natural Gas Home.
“It is a
simple, straightforward process, requiring minimal time, effort, and paperwork.
And it opens the door for a full range of opportunities to market the home as a
Naturally Green Natural Gas Home.” (Naturally Green Natural Gas Home Program.
American Gas Association, Washington, D. C., 2008, p. 15.)
especially remarkable about the Naturally Green Natural Gas
Home Program is that the natural gas industry recognizes the Green Building
Revolution is not just a trend, it is the wave of the future. In 2010 over 50
percent of all new homes build in American will be classified as green homes.
In 2020 almost every home built in America will be a green home.
New green homes, new green buildings and new green
communities will soon fill the landscapes of America. The natural gas industry
is poised to join the Green Building Revolution and the Clean Tech Revolution.
They should be welcomed with open arms.
In 1993 a bright green a little know non-profit organization
launched a program that was destined to change the concept of construction in America and the world. It was known as the U. S. Green Building Council. In 1994 the the
Council developed a rating system or set of guidelines for builders and
developers to follow to make their building more sustainable know as LEED –
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It also launched a green
building conference known as Greenbuild. The guiding force behind the U. S.
Building Council was the natural Resources Defense Council.
Today the Council has over 15,000 member organizations in America and around the world. The Council included architects, engineers, city planners,
government officials, environmentalists, builders, developers, project
managers, product manufacturers, etc.
In an article entitled, “The US Building Green Council:
Building Clean and Green Homes, Offices, Hospitals and Schools,” Lisa Carey
“With over 15,000 organizations from across the building
industry, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a non-profit organization
that works to bring environmentally sound and healthy places to live and work.
Their organization provides assistance with sustainable building practices,
including construction, renovation and operation. Members of USBGC include
building owners, engineers, architects, designers, contractors, manufacturers,
other nonprofits and even government agencies. Their mission is "to
transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated,
enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous
environment that improves the quality of life." They are headquartered in Washington DC and support a variety of programs to encourage and increase the growth of
building and renovating green.
“The US Building Green Council offers four programs to
homes, businesses, and schools for building and sustaining green homes, schools
and offices. Among these are the international recognized rating system,
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating
System. The LEED program is a "third-party certification program and the
nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of
high performance green buildings." USBGC's LEED program promotes, provides
support and services, and certification to architects, building engineers,
interior designers, lenders and even government officials to assist them in
instituting and utilizing sustainable "green" buildings. Projects are
in progress in 41 countries and include design, construction, and operation of
homes, neighborhoods, commercial interiors, new constructions, and even schools
and health care facilities. State, local and federal governments are utilizing
LEED programs for public housing buildings and projects, not only new project,
but also for improving existing buildings to be more self sustaining and energy
“Chapter Programs of the US Green Building Council are
designed to help individuals get information about building green, as well as
making changes in their homes or businesses to make them more eco -friendly and
sustainable. Each Chapter helps individual to connect with experts in the
field, tour green buildings and share resources and information. The USGBC
website provides a search function to look for chapters near you. Participation
in local chapters also provides you with access to the Green Building Council
online resource center for archived information as well as important
information on the LEED program. Chapters may also use these online resources
to promote their events and recruit new members.
“The United States Green Building Council also provides
Educational Programs provide courses both online and in person, to obtain LEED
certification, specialized information for your industry, and professional
“Educational opportunities also include access to and
download of "greenbytes" pod casts, articles and video on green building,
for your personal and professional use. The US Green Building Council also
works with K-12 and higher education educators who wish to provide green
building information and experiences to their students as well as assist
educators in networking efforts and grants and awards applications and
“One of the most prestigious educational offerings from the
USGBC is the award of "Excellence in Green Building Curriculum Recognition
Awards & Incentive Grants."
“This program recognizes innovative green building curricula
from pre-K through college and provides financial support for promising new
programs. There have been 12 programs to receive these awards and grants since
its beginning, and there are plans to continue and increase the award and grant
opportunities as well as amounts. Peter Templeton, Senior Vice President,
USGBC, states, "USGBC launched this initiative to highlight the central
role education plays in furthering the green building movement."
Participation in the USGBC top quality educational programs on green design,
construction, and operations includes professionals from all areas of the
building industry and numbers more than 54,500.
“USGBC also hosts the largest green building international
conference and expo entitled, "Greenbuild." From professional to
personal interest the US Green Building council provides for much needed
information, references, resources and training in the area of building and
renovating homes, businesses, schools, and even complete neighborhoods with energy
efficient, eco-friendly and self sustaining homes.
“Through its use of local chapters and education programs
information is dispersed to both up and coming building and design
professionals as well as homeowners interested in just doing more, to save money
and help the environment. Their awards, grants and design initiatives keep
their members and their programs competitive and up to date with the latest in
design and implementation of green building programs. Professionals to
governments rely on this important information to make innovative changes in
both public and private buildings, and those interested in more information or
joining a local chapter should visit the website at http://www.usgbc.org/.”
(:Lisa Carey, “The US Building Green Council: Building Clean and Green Homes,
Offices, Hospitals and Schools.” Associated Content. February 26, 2009.)
The U. S. Green Building Council has one of the finest web
sites on the internet. It should be daily reading for those interested in green
design, construction and operation of green homes, green buildings and green
communities. Every new building in the United States and around the world
should follow the LEED rating system.
New Green Building Codes Set New Standards for the Building Industry
The battle over climate change is going to be fought in the
legislative halls of the state and federal government. Those who believe in the
old brown world – the status quo – will use all of their immense power to
promote the continued use of fossil fuels and imported foreign oil. While those
who people in the new green world and clean technology will endeavor to enact
government statutes at the local, state, federal and international levels of
The giant multinational oil companies whose power and
influence stresses around the world and into every nation is not about to roll
over and play dead. They have marshaled their top lobbyists, public relations
and advertising executives, and pulled the strings of the political which they
control at all levels of government through bribery – campaign contributions.
Nowhere is their power and influence more visible than in Washington, D. C.
where dozens of key U. S. Senators and U. S. Congressmen and Congresswomen are
on the payroll of Big Oil. The debate over cap and trade rules is a case in
A major battles is underway in the nation’s capital as the
two forces gather their troops and engage each other in the halls of congress
and the floor of the U. S House of Representatives and the U. S. Senate. Lobbyists
for both sides are lining the halls of congress and pressing staff and key
legislators for important concessions of the cap and trade legislation before
Congressman Henry Waxman’s Energy Subcommittee in the House.
The Obama Administration is using the power of the White
House and the influence of key environmental groups to draft a new energy bill
that limits the carbon emissions in the United States.
Let’s look inside the beltway battle that is raging in
Washington, D. C. over cap and trade legislation. In an article entitled,
“President Talks Climate Change, 'Cash for Clunkers,' with House Democrats.”
Jake Tapper wrote:
“President Obama signaled a willingness to compromise on
major environmental legislation, a key House Democrat said today.
“The president held a private meeting in the State Dining
Room Tuesday morning with Democratic members of the House Energy and Commerce
Committee, after which members of the committee spoke to reporters.
“The most contentious issue in the Climate Change bill – on
track to be voted on in the House this year, House Energy and Commerce
Committee, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said – is a "Cap and Trade"
“In "Cap and Trade," the federal government would
limit the amount of carbon emissions permitted, and require companies to bid in
an auction for permits to emit greenhouse gases.
“Eventually the government would lower the amount of credits
available. Firms that reduced their emissions below the required level could
auction leftover credits to other polluters.
“Some power companies have been lobbying for the
administration to initially give free allowances to some utility companies, so
as not to drive consumers' utility bills too high.
“The president has previously stated that his preferred
approach was a "100 percent auction," with some Democrats discussing
giving tax rebates to consumers adversely impacted.
“Asked how President Obama today received suggestions to
allow free allowances, Waxman said that the president "wants us to try to
work out our bill. And he’s giving us a lot of latitude to do that. He wants us
to move. He wants legislation."
“When a reporter suggested that such a move would be
contrary to the president's budget, which counts $645 billion in tax revenue
raised from "Cap and Trade" fees, Waxman said, "I wouldn’t say
it’s contrary. He wants us to get to a point where we’re going to have an
auction and eventually we will look into an auction."
“Waxman said that off-shore drilling expansion was also
discussed during the meeting, though the president had previously stated his
opposition to such drilling.
“The group of House Democrats said they made progress on one
key provision of the Climate Change bill: so-called "Cash for
"Once in a while when you're in Congress, you do
something that really matters in people's lives," the president said in
the meeting, participants recounted, referring to the compromise worked out on
"Cash for Clunkers."
“Amidst some disagreements between more
environmentally-conscious members of the committee, and those from Michigan and
other Rust Belt states, a collaborative agreement was reached today, Rep. Betty
Sutton, D-Ohio, the author of the original bill, told ABC News.
“Under the new agreement, consumers will be able to trade in
a "clunker" – a car that gets 18 miles per gallon or less – for a
voucher for a new fuel-efficient car. The amount of the voucher will range from
$3,500 to $4,500, depending upon the fuel efficiency of the new vehicle.
"’Cash for Clunkers" legislation will likely be
folded into a larger Climate Change bill, which Waxman said is on schedule to
pass the House this year.
"’We are determined to pass a bill by this year and our
committee is on a schedule to complete the markup on the legislation by
Memorial Day recess," Waxman said. "The president said that he wants
legislation, he wants us to move as quickly as possible. He said this is an
opportunity to move and we ought to take this opportunity."
“Waxman said that the environmental legislation will not
interfere with the health care reform bill, which President Obama has suggested
is a higher priority.
“Asked how the committee plans on dealing with requiring
polluters to reduce carbon emissions, he said, "the proposal for dealing
with the carbon emissions is to put a cap on the amount of emissions that will
be reduced over the years and within that cap we will have market-based system
to promote innovation to reduce our reliance on carbon energy."
“Republicans and some Democrats suggest that the costs to
corporate America of any fee on pollutants – what's called "Cap and
Trade" – will be passed on to consumers, constituting a hidden tax.
(House Republicans are even doing their own count of Democratic Senators and
Members of Congress who have expressed concerns about the bill.)
“Waxman said the burden on consumers and particular regions
would be factored into the legislation.
"’It’s going to require during that transition of
period of decades for the Congress to deal with the cost to consumer and the
cost to different industries and the development costs of the new technologies,
and the allocations of the credits under the cap and trade bill."
“The California Democrat added that the committee members
"are trying to be mindful of the regional concerns and the rate-payers
particularly, the consumers, and that’s the purpose of our legislation and
we’re going to maintain the integrity of that." He said the committee aims
to protect the "rate-payers, the public, and to ameliorate the harm that
may come to any region of the country that might be affected by the cap because
of their industry."
“As for that other legislative body, the Senate, where Cap
and Trade would have a more difficult time surviving a vote, Waxman said
"the Senate is waiting for us to put together a consensus with the
business community and the environmental community. ... We think we have the
ability to get that kind of consensus."
“Consensus among Democrats in the House Energy and Commerce
Committee, said Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., is no small thing.
"’If we can reach agreement with the coal sector, with
the steel, with the auto sector, with the refining sector on our committee
which is very representative of the Congress on the whole, then we believe that
will be a template for passage in the Senate as well."
“Take the varied voices on Cash for Clunkers, for instance.
"’We had to decide how green these cars need to be to
get that credit," environmentally-focused Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., told
"’It's a good agreement," agreed former committee
chairman Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., a leading protector – some say enabler –
of the U.S. auto industry. "It means sales of autos, it means fuel
efficiency and it means progress." (Jake Tapper, “President Talks Climate
Change, 'Cash for Clunkers,' with House Democrats.” ABC News, May 5, 2009.)
The debate over cap and trade is heating up at opponents and
proponents of the new legislation hammer out the complex details of the new
climate change bill limiting gashouse emissions in America. Congressman Henry
Waxman is confident that a new cap and trade bill will be enacted by congress
before the end of the year.
In an article entitled, “Congressman Predicts Cap on
Greenhouse Gases Will Be Law by Year's End,” we read:
“U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry
Waxman predicted that a plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions will become law
by the end of the year.
“President Barack Obama urged lawmakers to reach agreement
on a bill during a meeting today with committee Democrats, Waxman said outside
the White House.
“’The president says he wants legislation, he wants us to
move as quickly as possible,” Waxman told reporters after the meeting. “We said
we’re moving it this year and he didn’t object.”
“He said panel members also agreed to push forward with
legislation to give consumers an incentive to trade in old cars for newer, more
fuel-efficient models. The “cash for clunkers” program seeks to reduce
pollution from old cars.
“Democrats remain divided over cap-and-trade legislation to
use pollution permits to limit greenhouse gas emissions, particularly over how
to distribute the permits. Lawmakers from states that heavily rely on coal and
other polluting industries want free permits to aid the transition to a
“’We are trying to be mindful of the regional concerns and
the ratepayers,” Waxman said.
“We’re setting out the allocations to accomplish the goals
of protecting the ratepayers and ameliorate the harm that may come to any
region of the country.”
“Some lawmakers said before the meeting that they would ask
the administration to help them sell a cap-and-trade plan to the public. The
matter is contentious because any scenario for limiting pollution likely will
raise energy costs in the short term. Republican leaders who oppose the
proposal have labeled it a “cap-and-tax” system.
“Sell to the public
“’We have to get out and explain and sell this to the
American people,” said Mike Doyle, a Pennsylvania Democrat who said he is
concerned about the costs to steelmakers and other energy-intensive industries.
“There’s no better person in the Democratic Party to do that than the
“Obama wants pollution permits to be auctioned under a
program that would cut greenhouse gas emissions from their 2005 levels by 20
percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050.
“Polluting industries, including coal-fired utilities and
chemical companies, want to have free permits while they develop technology to
limit emissions and to protect against competitors in developing countries that
don’t have such restrictions.
“Waxman, Markey plan
“Waxman and Representative Ed Markey, a Massachusetts
Democrat, in March released a draft cap-and-trade system. The plan didn’t
specify how pollution allowances would be distributed, and energy committee
lawmakers so far can’t agree on that fundamental provision.
“Today, about 3,000 members of the National Rural Electric
Cooperative Association, an Arlington, Va.-based coalition with utilities in 47
states, will visit the Capitol to lobby lawmakers against an auction system.
“Association Chief Executive Officer Glenn English said
auctioning pollution permits would put small local utilities at a disadvantage
against wealthier global interests such as oil companies and could enrich
market speculators at the expense of consumers.
“’You can side with Wall Street and the speculators, or you
can side with Main Street and your constituents,” English told several thousand
cooperative directors at a Washington rally yesterday.
“White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Obama climate-
change adviser Carol Browner have been lobbying committee members to reach a
“Representative G.K. Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat,
said “very strong” differences remain on auctioning pollution permits.
“Hopefully the White House can weigh in and reconcile some of our differences,”
he said.” (“Congressman Predicts Cap on Greenhouse Gases Will Be Law by Year's
End.” Asbury Park Press, May 5, 2009.)
The winner of the debate over climate change in Washington,
D. C. will be determined by the lobbyists who represent giant oil, coal and
natural gas industries and the lobbyists who represent environmental companies
The debate is raging inside the Democratic Party where
congressional members are under intense pressure from major fossil fuel
companies within their districts. This debate was outlined in an article
entitled, “Industries Push for Free Pollution Credits.” Stephen Power stated:
“A growing number of industries are lobbying for free
pollution permits under legislation capping greenhouse-gas emissions, in a
potential threat to the funding for President Barack Obama's proposed
middle-class tax cut.
“A range of industries, including electric utilities, auto
makers, and oil and natural gas refineries, are making their case to lawmakers
ahead of a vote on proposed climate legislation expected this week by the House
Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment. The jockeying has intensified in
recent days after a push by electric utilities to secure up to 40% of the
emissions permits for free, an amount that would be proportionate to their
share of U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions.
“The measure by Reps. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) and Edward
Markey (D., Mass.) calls for reducing U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions roughly 20%
below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83% below 2005 levels by mid-century. It is
largely silent on how much companies would have to pay for pollution permits
under a proposed cap-and-trade system that would allow companies to buy and
sell such permits.
“Mr. Obama has called for auctioning off 100% of the
emission allowances and using the bulk of the revenue to fund tax credits for
the middle class. His 2010 budget blueprint projects raising $645 billion from
the auction of emissions permits between 2012, when the system kicks in, and 2019.
A smaller portion would be devoted to research and development of low-carbon
technologies. But Mr. Obama and some of his aides have signaled they are
willing to compromise on giving away the pollution permits.
“The bill's fate could hinge on how willing Messrs. Waxman
and Markey are to give in to the demands of about a dozen Democratic committee
members who want to soften the impact on their districts, which depend on coal,
manufacturing, or oil and natural gas for jobs.
"’There are a lot of things in the bill I need to have
changed," said Rep. Gene Green (D., Texas). Mr. Green, whose district is
home to the largest petrochemical complex in the world, wants Mr. Waxman to
give some pollution permits to oil refiners for free. "If that's not in
the bill, I can't vote for it," he said.
“Refiners are lobbying to get for free 30% of the pollution
permits, an amount that corresponds roughly to the share of U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions produced by transportation fuel. Without such allowances, the
industry says, it will lose out to refineries in India and the Middle East that
ship their product to the U.S. and don't operate under carbon caps at home.
"’The electric utilities want 40%, and if they're
getting 40%, the refiners say 'Why shouldn't we get 30%?"' Mr. Green said.
Mr. Green said he has asked Mr. Waxman to give the refining industry a smaller
share of the allowances – roughly 5%.
“Messrs. Waxman and Markey have said they intend to work out
a distribution of the allowances after consulting with their colleagues, but
haven't indicated specifically how the matter will be resolved. A spokeswoman
for Mr. Waxman said, "We are encouraged by the progress that we are
making, and the committee will continue meeting with members to discuss the
“Economists say generally that consumer prices will rise
regardless of whether permits are given away for free, and that giving them
away for free will divert money from other purposes in the public interest,
such as tax cuts for consumers. But "the politics of passing [climate
legislation] in the committee are tough; it's hard to be a purist," said
Chad Stone, chief economist of the Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy
“The issue is particularly thorny for the auto industry. The
Obama administration has billions of public dollars at stake in turnaround
efforts at Chrysler LLC and General Motors Corp. At the same time, Mr. Obama
has vowed to promulgate more aggressive fuel-economy standards for vehicles,
which won't be cheap. Last summer, the Transportation Department estimated that
its proposal to require auto makers to achieve fuel efficiency of 31.6 miles
per gallon by 2015 would cost auto makers $46.7 billion, which the agency said
would make it among the most expensive rule makings in U.S. history.
"’There are a lot of interests competing for the pot of
money, but I think there's a general recognition that some of the
revenue…should be used to push advanced, low-carbon technologies because that's
how we're going to drive the emissions reductions we need," said Alan
Reuther, legislative director of the United Auto Workers.
“The union, along with the Alliance of Automobile
Manufacturers, is lobbying Mr. Waxman to direct that a portion of the revenue
raised from the auction of carbon allowances go toward helping the industry
develop more fuel-efficient vehicles to meet a federal mandate to improve
new-vehicle fuel economy at least 40% by 2020.
“Mr. Reuther's concerns have been echoed by Rep. John
Dingell (D., Mich.), another swing vote on the panel who is leaning on Mr.
Waxman to devote a portion of permit revenue to an Energy Department program
that awards low-interest loans to car makers to develop advanced vehicles.”
(Stephen Power, “Industries Push for Free Pollution Credits.” Wall Street Journal,
May 4, 2009.)
On almost every piece of legislation before Congress, the U.
S. Chamber of Commerce represents the large Fortune 500 companies and the giant
multinational corporations that dominate the world economy. However, the
chamber is under fire from some of its members for opposing the cap and trade
legislation before congress. In an article entitled, “Chamber Under Fire on
Warming,” Lisa Lerer states:
“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is taking heat from Johnson
& Johnson, Nike and other corporate members over its opposition to global
warming legislation pending in the House.
“In a letter to the Chamber, Johnson & Johnson has asked
the Chamber to refrain from making comments on climate change unless they
“reflect the full range of views, especially those of Chamber members
advocating for congressional action.”
“Nike spokeswoman Anne Meyers said her company has also been
“vocal” with the Chamber’s leaders “about wanting them to take a more
progressive stance on the issue of climate change.”
“While the Chamber’s opposition to cap-and-trade legislation
introduced by House Democrats mirrors the views of some in industry,
particularly energy producers, Meyer said Nike “didn’t feel that consumer
companies had a particularly strong or vocal voice around the issue of climate
“Lobbyists at business coalitions that support federal
climate change legislation say other companies are discussing the possibility
of sending their own letters to the Chamber — or of threatening to withhold
dues from the Chamber in protest.
“But William Kovacs, the Chamber’s vice president for the
environment, technology and regulatory affairs, downplayed the divide within
the nation’s most powerful lobbying group.
“’We deal with 300 to 400 issues a year, and there are
times when members would disagree,” he said. “But on 95 percent of the issues,
we have 95 percent of the support.”
“While some energy producers and manufacturers oppose any
federal action to cap carbon dioxide emissions, at least 35 major corporations
— including Johnson & Johnson and Nike — have joined coalitions designed
to push federal climate change legislation.
“The Chamber has not taken an explicit position against all
federal climate change regulation, but it has opposed the most significant
proposals introduced in Congress.
“The business lobby has come out strongly against a draft
bill in the House that would create a cap-and-trade system to cut greenhouse
gases and promote the development of renewable energy technology.
“In the House Energy and Commerce committee last month,
Kovacs said the legislation would “result in energy shortages and high energy
prices, which in turn means higher prices for just about everything else.”
“And last week, the Chamber released a study showing that
the bill could result in more than 3 million jobs lost by 2030 and a cost of
more than $2,100 per household.
“The Chamber also opposed a cap-and-trade proposal
introduced by former Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.)
during the past session of Congress.
“Environmental advocates say the positions the Chamber has
taken put it out of sync with many of its members.
“’Based on the public statements from the other members of
the Chamber, Johnson & Johnson is certainly not alone in having a different
position from the Chamber,” said Peter Altman, climate campaign director for
the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“According to Altman’s analysis, 99 of the 122 companies
represented on the Chamber’s board have taken no public position on global
warming. Nineteen support regulation, while four oppose regulation or disagree
with the science behind it.
“’The U.S. Chamber is representing the views of a small
minority of its board members,” said Altman.
“Chamber lobbyists say that the group’s positions are determined
by its members, which are organized into 16 policy groups and five taskforces.
“Kovacs said the Johnson & Johnson letter came the day
the Chamber’s environment and energy committee was meeting. The group of more
than 100 members debated cap and trade, the carbon tax and the use of
technology for nearly three hours, he said.
“’At the end of the debate, there were no members asking to
change our policy,” he said.
“The draft version of the House climate change legislation
incorporated proposals suggested by the United States Climate Action
Partnership, a coalition of business and environmental groups that supports
capping emissions. The Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy, a
group of consumer companies, also backs the House bill.” (Lisa Lerer, “Chamber
Under Fire on Warming.” POLITICO.com, May 5, 2009.”
One thing is certain, cap and trade legislation will pass
congress in 2009 in one form or another. There will be huge concessions made to
certain congressmen and congresswomen and senators. Lobbyists will simply wave
their magic wands and campaign contributions will flow into the coffers of
support legislators. The president will pressure certain legislators and make
untold promises to those who are wavering. Cap and trade legislation will surely
come. It is a movement that seems unstoppable.
Another thing seems certain, cap and trade legislation is a
wiser move than a carbon tax. In an article entitled, “Why Cap and Is Better
Than a Carbon Tax,” the Natural Resources Defense Council stated:
there is widespread support for the goal of reducing our emission of global
warming pollution by 80 percent by 2050, there is a vigorous debate about the
best means for reaching that goal. Advocates for a carbon tax suggest that it
would be simpler and more transparent than a cap and invest system, but such
arguments often compare a “real-world” cap and invest design with an idealized
carbon tax. When factoring in the pressure for special accommodations in the
legislative process that will undoubtedly face either system, a cap and invest
program is preferable to implementing a carbon tax. The following list offers
five reasons, including greater certainty where it counts and more flexibility
where it is needed, why a cap and invest system will best help us meet the
urgent goal of reducing global warming pollution.
Guaranteeing Reduced Emission of Global Warming Pollution
cap and invest program that gradually reduces the amount of CO2 permits
available to polluters over time will be more effective than a carbon tax at
reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent or more. A pollution cap is
designed to directly regulate the quantity of dangerous pollution emitted on an
annual basis, creating more certainty that our environmental goals will be achieved.
A carbon tax, on the other hand, can attempt to change polluters’ behavior and
encourage them to meet desired emission reductions targets within a specific
time frame, but there is no guarantee that these efforts will achieve the
targets set by the program.
“2. Creating Better Long-Term Economic Certainty to Spur
“Companies and investors need clear price signals to make the
investments needed to achieve our global warming pollution reduction goals. A
cap and invest system provides a 40-year economic framework that will allow
investors to base their decisions on industry’s own estimate of the long-term
price of carbon. A carbon tax would only offer what government thinks the price
of carbon should be on a year-by-year basis to meet desired emissions reduction
targets. In addition, a low carbon cap makes clear that long-lived and highly
polluting investments like coal plants
that do not capture CO2 do not make good economic sense in the
long term and are not attractive investments.
“3. Responding Appropriately to Economic Cycles
“The price of carbon under a cap and invest system will respond to
fluctuations in the economy in ways that reduce carbon emissions without
creating an undue burden during difficult economic times. The price of carbon
will fall as the CO2 output from the economy slows and will rise as the CO2
output from the economy accelerates. This responsive way of pricing carbon will
make a cap and invest system more effective than a carbon tax, which would
require the difficult calculation of whether significant progress had been made
in reducing carbon pollution before deciding whether or not to provide economic
relief during an economic slowdown.
“4. Providing Better Protection from Political Intervention
“Although the regulation of a cap and invest market for CO2 is
likely to be reviewed every five years, the program itself will be designed to
last 40 years and will not be subject to the intense political pressure that a
rolling carbon tax would be subject to—especially during periods of economic
stress. Given the political advantages of underestimating the amount of tax
needed to bring about a certain change in behavior, it is likely that a carbon
tax program would be persistently behind on its reduction targets and frequently
confronted with calls either to reform or abandon the program. Further, during
periods of economic recovery, politicians will struggle to determine the level
of carbon tax that best balances emissions reduction goals with sustaining
“5. Supporting and Advancing Complementary Emissions Reduction
“A cap and invest program is more effective at encouraging public
support for complementary policies to increase efficiency and reduce global
warming pollution. For example, all energy consumers have a stake in
encouraging strong standards for appliances, minimum efficiency codes for
buildings, and fuel economy standards for vehicles under a cap and invest
program since all of these would help to reduce the long-term market price of carbon
allowances. (“Why Cap and Invest Is Better Than a Carbon Tax.” Policy Brief,
Natural Resources Defense Council. 2009.)
At the local level, cities, counties and state governments
are already passing statures and ordinances requiring a reduction in carbon
At the international level, a common language is being
implanted to focus the attention of the world on reduction of carbon emissions.
The goal is to “map and develop metrics to measure emissions of CO2 equivalents
from new homes and buildings.” Paul King, the CEO of UK Green Building council
stated: “The way in which we construct and operate buildings accounts for
almost half of all CO2 emissions contributing to climate change globally.
Rating tools like BREEAM, LEED and Green Star have a proven track record in
driving significant improvements in performance, and I’m delighted they are now
coming together to help create an international language that will enable us to
talk with one voice about the vital role green buildings can pplay in creating
a low-carbon future.” (“Common Language for Carbon in Sight: Leading Rating
tool Providers to Sign MOU.” World Green Building Council, March 3, 2009.)
Astute and far-sighted builders and developers have already
turned their companies from brown to green and are preparing to join the new
green building revolution and the new green world order. New building rules and
regulations will be green. The time to make the change was yesterday. A new day
is dawning and it is a green buildings day.
Design Components - Green Roofs and Rainwater Harvesting
The Green Building Revolution has given rise to a host of
new manufacturing and technology companies. Thousands of new companies are now
producing new technologies and new green products that builders and developers
are utilizing in the design, construction and operation of new green buildings.
Let us look at a few of the new design and construction
changes that are transforming the building landscape of America and the world. Let us start with green roofs. In an article entitled, “Green Roofs
Sprout Up All Over, “ Ketzel Levine stated:
“It all started in ancient Mesopotamia. That's how old the idea of a
"green" roofs is. From the Ziggurat of Nanna to the fabled hanging
gardens of Babylon, humans have been growing plants on roofs. Turf and sod have
topped an array of human dwellings – but the emergence of a bona fide green
roof industry is fairly recent.
“Here in the United States, that industry is just a few years old. But green
roofs are being touted as the answer to a number of environmental problems –
and they're showing up all over the country. NPR's Ketzel Levine reports.
“Commercial green roofs are not roof gardens; many of them can't take foot
traffic. Instead, they're like green skins, layers of vegetative matter that
grow directly on rooftops. They are far less romantic than they sound.
“Green roofs are tools for dealing with stormwater runoff and reducing urban
heat islands. Other industry claims include their ability to reduce energy use
by insulating buildings from extreme temperatures. The scientific data to
support these and other benefits are still being collected, but based on how
they've performed – for decades – in Germany and the Netherlands, green-roof
specialists are confident in their curative powers.
“A growing number of architects, engineers, urban ecologists and city
planners agree. Increasingly high-profile green roof projects have been built
in the United States in the last five years. Among the best-known green roofs are
the ones atop Chicago's City Hall and a Ford Motor Co. facility in Dearborn, Mich. Some of the newer roofs making the news include a residential high-rise in
New York City, a prairie-covered library in Evansville, Ind., and the top of
the Multnomah County Building in Portland, Ore. (Ketzel Levine, “Green Roofs
Sprout Up All Over.” National Public Radio, June 23, 2004.)
Private Benefits of Green Roofs
Let us look at the private benefits from green roofs:
The life expectancy of a "naked"
flat roof is only 15 to 25 years, even with professional installation. This is
due to the physical, chemical and biological stress on the roof skin/
waterproofing over the years. Temperature differences of more than 100 °C
during the year and 60 °C over 24 hours are not unusual. UV-radiation and high
Ozone ratios accelerate the ageing process of the waterproofing; which results
in, material fatigue, shrinking, crack formation, and leakage. Green Roofs
provide protection for the waterproofing. The vegetation layer buffers the
temperature stress during summer and winter, and temperature differences of, 35
°C during the year and 15 °C over 24 hours are not usually exceeded. In
addition, the Green Roof creates a protection layer for the waterproofing in
case of mechanical damage like hail, wind, vandalism, and fireworks.
Green Roofs reduce sound reflection by up
to 3 dB and improve sound insulation by up to 8 dB. This is important for
people who live near airports, noisy discotheques, or industrial parks.
Additionally, electromagnetic waves from transmitting stations can be
effectively shielded by the vegetation layer.
Green Roofs can be regarded as additional
thermal insulation, thus, reducing the use of primary energy. This is a well
known economic benefit; however, in former times it was not possible to
quantify this effect and integrate Green Roofs into the building energy
This gap was closed at the beginning of the nineties when special Green Roof
build-ups were officially credited with thermal resistance values (R-Values) by
the German Institute for Construction engineering. Depending on the original
thermal insulation, an amount of 1 - 2 L/m2 of oil can be saved with this
additional thermal insulation.
During the summer months Green Roofs
reduce indoor temperatures through transpiration. According to tests from
Drefahl (1995), the microclimate of an apartment underneath a Green Roof is
comparable with one on the base floor. The typical overheating of attic flats
in summer can be avoided with vegetated roofs; therefore, decreasing the use of
air conditioning and energy consumption.
Use of Space
Green Roofs offer various possibilities
for usage, including: natural refuges for insects and plants, recreational roof
gardens, roof cafés, and sporting areas. If the technical and construction
requirements of the building are met, there are virtually no limits for
landscape designs with perennials, small trees, terraces, or gardens. Due to
the utilization of the roof property, the building owner can save costs from
purchasing additional land at ground level. A gorgeous view, fresh air, and
privacy are also included in the price. Roof gardens increase the work
environment enormously and offer nearby recreational areas, even in
conurbations. (Green Roofs – Private Benefits. International Green Roof
of Green Roofs
Now let us look at the public benefits of
for Animals and Plants
The sealing of the landscape by human
building activities has several negative effects on the ecosystem and the human
habitat. This applies in particular for urban areas, where a large share of the
total land area is sealed. Vegetated Roofs can compensate for lost green areas.
As "step-stone habitats", they create lively and vigorous places and
connect isolated refuges for flora and fauna within sterile city centres. Low
maintenance extensive Green Roofs especially promote biodiversity, as wild
bees, butterflies, and beetles find food and shelter there. Even rare and
protected species can be found on Green Roofs. The natural cycle of plant
growth, self-seeding and stress-selection lends to ecological systems with
Green Roofs are very important
instruments in preventing local flooding. Depending on the Green Roof system
and the depth of the growing medium, the immediate water run-off can be reduced
by 50-90%. Most of this water returns directly into the natural water cycle by
transpiration/evaporation of the Green Roof. The excess rainwater is filtered
and drained off with a temporal delay. This leads to reduced stress on the
sewer system during the year and at peak flow periods. As a result less or
smaller dimensioned sewerage systems can be installed. In combination with
other forms of modern rain water management (for example, storage tanks or
retaining trench-soaking hole-systems) the rainwater can be entirely
infiltrated on the landowners ground. The benefits of Green Roofs for stormwater
management can lead to incentive programs for Green Roofs in various cities,
reduced stormwater taxes.
Global warming, increasing sealed
surfaces and excess heat from residential buildings, industry and traffic are
leading to continually rising temperatures within urban agglomerations. The
temperature difference between a city and the surrounding countryside is
referred to as the urban heat island effect. In summer this effect can reach
nearly 10 °C. The urban heat island effect drastically reduces the quality of
life and impairs health of the city's inhabitants. Natural "air
conditioners" such as green areas and parks can absorb up to 80% of the
energy input; however, in densely populated districts green areas are rare.
Landscaped roof surfaces are an alternative, as they decrease the "urban
heat island effect" through the process of transpiration and humidify dry
air. This process lends to a better climate for the occupants of adjacent
apartments and buildings.
Dust and Smog Levels
Inner city air pollution can cause
serious adverse health effects, which has been proven by numerous studies over
the last years. In particular, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxides, volatile
organic compounds, and diesel exhaust gases are creating dangerous combinations
of toxic substances for urban inhabitants. Plants are able to enhance the
quality of the air. One square metre of Green Roof can filter approximately 0.2
kg aerosol dust and smog particles per year. In addition, nitrates and other
harmful materials in the air and from rainfall are deposited in the growing
Green Roofs are visually enhancing the
quality of life in the cities. Already a few blooming "islands" are
able to interrupt the monotony of the grey, dismal city centres and better
people´s mental and physical health. Not only in cities, but also in rural
areas, Green Roofs allow industry buildings to blend harmoniously with the
scenery. (Green Roofs – Public Benefits. International Green Roof Assocation.
It is apparent that the private and
public benefits of green roofs indicate that builders and developers should
embrace this new concept and begin adding these new green design, construction
and operation components to the new buildings of the future.
Let’s look at the wise use of rain. In an article entitled,
“What is Rainwater Harvesting: the Responsible Solution for Healthy Landscape
Irrigation,” we find:
“Rainwater harvesting is a technology used to collect,
convey and store rain from relatively clean surfaces such as a roof, land
surface or rock catchment for later use. This is water that would otherwise
have gone down the drainage system, into the ground or been lost to the
atmosphere via evaporation. The water is generally stored in a rainwater tank
or directed into mechanisms that can recharge groundwater. Rainwater harvesting
can provide water for human consumption, reduce water bills and lessen the need
to build reservoirs which may require the use of valuable land.
“Rainwater harvesting has been practiced for over 4,000
years throughout the world. It has provided drinking water, domestic water,
water for livestock, water for small irrigation and a way to replenish ground
water levels. Traditionally, rainwater harvesting has been practiced in arid
and semiarid areas. It has become an integral part of societies in remote
places where piping water and reliance on wells is not an option.
“Rainwater harvesting in urban areas and cities can have
diverse benefits. Providing supplemental water for the city’s requirements,
increasing soil moisture levels for urban greenery, increasing the ground water
table through artificial recharge, mitigating urban flooding and improving the
quality of groundwater are a few of the many benefits. In homes and buildings,
collected rainwater can be used for irrigation, flushing toilets and washing
laundry. In hard water areas rainwater is superior to city water for
non-potable use. With proper filtration and treatment, harvested rainwater can
also be used for showering, bathing, or drinking.
“Rainwater harvesting is also effective in reducing
stormwater runoff pollution into the watershed. When rain falls, it is clean,
but it immediately picks up pollutants from rooftops and pavement. This
pollution is carried into storm drains and then into streams. Collecting
stormwater from rooftops and directing it to storage tanks so it can be used in
and around a building decreases the volume and rate of stormwater runoff.
“Rainwater harvesting is one of the most promising
alternatives for supplying water in the face of increasing water scarcity and
escalating demand. The pressures on water supplies, greater environmental
impact associated with new projects as well as deteriorating water quality in
reservoirs already constructed, constrain the ability of communities to meet
the demand for freshwater from traditional sources. Rainwater harvesting
presents an opportunity for augmentation of water supplies allowing for
self-reliance and sustainability. Sustaining the environment contributes to the
overall conservation of our precious natural resources.
“Simple rainwater harvesting systems, such as
are great for collecting small volumes of water for use in residential gardens
or for watering plants around the home. However, to fully reap the benefits of
the huge amounts of rain that run off a roof during a storm, a fully-integrated
rainwater irrigation system should be considered. With such a system, rain
water passes from a roof, through a gutter system, into large cisterns (water
tanks) and gets distributed through common underground sprinklers. Since a
properly designed system does not rely on any groundwater resources, most
installations can be exempt from certain watering restrictions. In fact, many
local and regional water resource officials encourage the harvesting of
rainwater as part of
responsible conservation practices.” (“What
is Rainwater Harvesting: the Responsible Solution for Healthy Landscape
Irrigation,” Rainwater Services. 2009.)
City of Seattle Report on
According to the City of Seattle, the American people use
over 400 billion gallons of water each year in their homes and businesses. The
Department of Planning and Development issued an excellent report entitled,
“Rainwater Harvesting for Beneficial Use.” It reads:
What is Water
the capture and storage of water for beneficial use. It can be accomplished
anywhere water supply is available for collection and a water source is desired
or required. To understand the process fully, it is important to understand
water harvesting terms.
the capture and storage of rainwater and is considered the cleanest form of
the capture and storage of water that has already been used for non-sewage
purposes — from baths and showers to washing machines, sinks and vehicle
washing run-off. Reuse of greywater triggers more code requirements and design
regulations than the use of rainwater. Some applications are restricted by
wastewater treated to levels that allow it to be used for non-drinking water
of reclaimed water triggers more code requirements and design regulations than
reuse of rainwater.
clean water — satisfactory for drinking, culinary and domestic purposes, and
meets the drinking water standards established by the Washington State
Department of Health.
What are the goals and
benefits of rainwater harvesting?
harvesting provides a host of design benefits that range from reducing owner
utility rates and improved landscape health, to reducing combined sewer
overflows into Seattle water supplies and reducing demand on the city’s potable
benefits: City of Seattle residents are charged for both the potable water
they use and the related sanitary sewer treatment they need to treat used
water. Use of collected rainwater helps residents save on potable water use
fees and on sanitary sewer use fees.
health: Landscape plants flourish with irrigation from collected rainwater.
Rainwater does not contain chlorine (an important additive that keeps potable
water safe for drinking), benefiting many ecologically sensitive plants.
quality: When it rains, it pours — and during extreme rain events, our
combined sewers fill to overflowing, pouring into the Puget Sound and
contributing water bodies without full water quality treatment. Removing
rainwater from the combined sewer systems and redirecting it to cisterns lowers
peak flows and reduces the amount of pollutants that find their way into our
natural water bodies.
supply: Combine a rapidly increasing population with lower annual rainfall
and the demand for potable water increases dramatically — putting greater
pressure on municipal water supplies. Rainwater harvesting reduces this demand.
building credits: Many green building systems offer credits for rainwater
harvest systems, helping your project reach certification goals.
Rainwater Harvest System
Components, Requirements and Design Considerations
rainwater harvesting system begins at the point of collection and ends at the
supply to approved plumbing fixtures and other outlets. Systems typically
consist of the following components:
Unless otherwise approved by the City, only runoff from roof surfaces is
allowed for rainwater harvesting collection. To protect the water quality of
the rainwater harvested, avoid roofing materials such as copper or zinc that
may release contaminants into your system, as well as roofing materials treated
with fungicides or herbicides. Consult Seattle Public Utilities to understand
any water rights issues that may apply to your project. See the
"Regulations, Guidelines, and Design Resources" section of this
document for contact information.
systems: Collection systems include gutters and downspouts, as well as the
piping and any other conveyance needed to route harvested water from harvest
sources to the cistern. All portions of the collection system should be
constructed in accordance with Chapter 11 of the 2006 Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC).
See the "Regulations, Guidelines, and Design Resources" section of
water quality treatment/debris excluders: Pre-storage treatment must be
used to divert debris and/or “first flows” prior to entering the storage
system, and to keep leaves and other larger debris from entering and clogging
the system. “First flows” are defined as the initial rain that falls during a
typical rain shower. These waters convey any sediment that has built up on the
roof surface. They typically contain the greatest concentration of pollutants
in harvested rainwater. Leaf screens and self cleaning bug screens are a
typical choice for initial water quality treatment in the Pacific Northwest.
system: Cisterns can be constructed from a variety of materials and placed
locations. They can include tanks, pipes, and enclosed portions of buildings —
ground level. Construction materials include underground concrete and
fiberglass, partial and above ground plastic, and enclosed basement structures.
All cistern systems must meet the
cisterns must be installed in accordance with manufacturer’s installation
the building code.
a foundation is required for installation, then the foundation must be flat and
the cistern weight when full with water (in accordance with the building code).
systems that are capable of being filled from both the rainwater harvesting
and a public or private water system must be protected from cross contamination
accordance with the UPC.
systems must have both access points and drains to allow inspection and
systems that are buried below ground level must have a manhole riser that
out a minimum of eight inches above the surrounding ground. Manhole covers must
secured and locked to prevent tampering.
cistern/storage system opening that could allow the entry of personnel must be
“danger — confined space."
of any accumulated sediment on the bottom of the cistern must be possible
flushing through a drain, vacuuming or another approved method.
cistern must have a designated overflow when the volume of the tank meets
cross section of the overflow must have an area equal to or greater than all of
of the devices delivering water to the cistern. The minimum overflow is four
diameter. The overflow must be protected with a screen with openings no greater
discharge location for the emergency overflow must be approved by the local
should be designed to prevent mosquitoes and other life forms from entering the
system. This can be done with appropriate screening at any opening to the
not required, locating the cistern in an area that allows access for
replacement in case of failure may be desirable. Consider using opaque
containers for an above ground location to minimize algae growth.
system: Delivery may be accomplished by a gravity system or include the
pumps and pipes needed to move water from the storage system to the end use
a potable water back-up that can operate without electricity in emergency
distribution system components must be sized and installed to meet the
specified in the Seattle and King County Public Health Rainwater Harvesting
in the "Regulations, Guidelines, and Design Resources" section of
pipes, irrigation hose bibs, irrigation outlets and related equipment rooms
labeling of the rain water harvesting system.
connection to the domestic potable water system must be protected from cross
contamination per the UPC.
must be drawn from at least four inches above the bottom of the tank.
water quality treatment: The extent of water quality treatment is dependent
on both the quality of the water entering the storage system and the desired
reuse. Systems must protect the functions of delivery valves and fixtures and
range from simple screens to cartridge filters, UV light, and chlorination.
Screen systems and/or basic mechanical filtration are typically adequate for
irrigation and toilet flushing reuse.
and maintenance manual: This document should include all operations and
information needed to ensure proper function for the life of the rainwater
harvest system. Information should include timing on replacing and/or cleaning
filters, removing sediment and other pollutants from storage systems, backflow
prevention inspections, valve schedules and operation, backup and cross
connection, and seasonal startup and shutdown and freeze protection. It is the
property owner’s responsibility to maintain the system until abandoned per
program: Written documentation of this program can be included in the
Operations and Maintenance Manual. All users and system operators need to
understand how to operate and maintain the system in order to ensure proper
function. This can be done with training and/or signage. User behavior to
minimize the wasting of water should be encouraged.
information materials: Additional information to inform the public of the
system benefits and operation can be included in a project through signage. An
education program can also be developed to allow non-users (the public) to
learn about the benefits and operation of a rainwater harvest system.
harvesting systems used in structures must be engineered for site specific
conditions. This requirement can be waived by the permitting authority for very
simple systems. Rainwater systems are required to be submitted for plan review
for building and plumbing permit. The UPC, Seattle and King County Public
Health procedures title, Rainwater Harvesting and Connection to Plumbing
Fixtures, and any manufacturer’s installation instructions must be
Permits, Inspections and
harvesting systems must comply with permitting, planning and zoning
requirements, this may include one or more of the following:
permits for cistern footings, foundations, enclosures and roof structures, and
review for location and setback
permits and erosion control plans for underground tanks
permits for all systems from the collection area to the final point of
permits for pump and electrical controls possible water rights from the
Department of Ecology regional office
beginning construction check with each authority to determine if permit and
inspection is required for your specific project. Before submitting for a
permit or plan review, it is important to clarify submittal requirements.
Typical submittal requirements include site plans, elevations, isometric
drawings of the harvest system and specifications along with manufacturer’s
installation instructions for cistern, pump and filtration or disinfection
components.” (“Rainwater Harvesting for Beneficial Use.” Client Assistance Memo
701, City of Seattle, The Department of Planning and Development. April 28,
Seattle report also contained a sidebar on LEEDs. It states:
LEED™ Benefits for Water
(Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a national green building
standard created by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED has programs for
commercial and residential construction. Rainwater harvesting can contribute
towards the following credits:
Design: Quantity Control
Efficient Landscaping: Reduce by 50 Percent
Efficient Landscaping: No Potable Water
or No Irrigation
Use Reduction: 20 Percent Reduction
Use Reduction: 30 Percent Reduction
in Design: Potable Reduction for Process Water
in Design: Education Credit
more information visit www.usgbc.org.
was also a sidebar included in the study on Built Green. It states:
Built Green™ Benefits
for Water Harvesting
Green™ is a green building program developed by the Master Builders Association
of King and Snohomish Counties in partnership with local governments including
the City of Seattle. Built Green has programs for single family, multifamily
and communities. Rainwater harvesting can contribute to the following credits:
Rainwater Collection System (Cistern) for Reuse
a Roof Water Management Plan Showing Best Practices for the Site Soils and
Storm Water Infrastructure
Plumbing to Use Greywater Water for Toilet Flushing
Greywater Water for Toilet Flushing
for Greywater Irrigation
Irrigation System using Recycled Water
more information visit
Harvesting for Beneficial Use.” Client Assistance Memo 701, City of Seattle, The Department of Planning and Development. April 28, 2008.)
concept of green roofs and rainwater harvesting are ancient practices that are
being used once again today. It shows the wisdom and practicality of the
ancient environmentalists who lived in the Middle East and Asia. Their concepts
of eco-design are as applicable today as they were in ancient times. Green
roofs and rainwater harvesting are simple solutions to large problems.
Developers Transform the Building Industry
The debate over climate change around the world has created
a monumental paradigm shift in how people should live on the earth. Sustainable
communities are springing up all over the earth as people begin to question the
viability of the old fossil fueled, carbon based economy.
The brown economy, based upon fossil fuels, has turned out to
be environmental, socially, financially, politically and economically
unsustainable. A new economic model has emerged based upon sustainable living,
green buildings, alternative energy sources and clean technology.
Environmentally friendly building materials have emerged to replace the
chemically based building materials of the old brown world. Thousands of new
businesses have begun supplying home owners and commercial builders with a
whole new range of natural building materials that are designed to create new
sustainable communities and a healthier world free of CO2 emissions.
Home builders and commercial real estate developers are
facing the demise of the old brown world and the emergence of a new green
world. Builders and developers need to adapt quickly or their companies will
become as extinct as the dinosaurs of the past.
Governments around the world are responding to the demand
for new rules and regulations that mitigate the effects of CO2 emissions on the
planet. New building codes are emerging at the city, state and federal level of
government in the U. S. The new government regulations are mandating that
government agencies, businesses, builders and developers lower their carbon
New green homes, schools, universities, hotels, resorts, office
buildings, government buildings and warehouses are being built throughout the United States. Builders and developers who are quick to change their design, construction
and operation models will prosper in the new green economy.
In light of the dramatic changes that are occurring in the
development world, it is important that new green commercial developers
position themselves as leaders in the new green economy and in the new green
The financial benefits that will accrue to green developers
are immense. New opportunities are arising daily as major corporations such as
Google, Adobe, Dell and a host of others prominent Fortune 500 companies begin
constructing new green offices and commercial buildings to manufacture and sell
their new green products and services. Government agencies such as the US
Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Defense are
commissioning new green buildings and employing new alternative energy sources
to lower their carbon footprint.
In order to position themselves in the forefront of the new
green building revolution, the new green developers need to look at the
financials and social benefits for lenders, owners, property managers, brokers
and tenants. Green developers can lead the way in the design, construction and
operation of green commercial buildings. They can also assist former clients
who may want to retrofit their buildings and new clients who may want to seize
upon the enormous benefits to be gained from the construction of new green
The green development world is indeed green. In an article
entitled, “The Future Bodes Well for Green Development, Bert Gregory stated:
“Around the world, “we will erect as many buildings in the
next 50 years as we have in the last 5,000,” predicts David Orr of Oberlin College. For those developers in the Northwest who see light at the end of this
tough economic tunnel, this bodes well.
“We know that market demand will return. When it does, a
building’s quality may need to be defined by more than the traditional criteria
of the past. Definitions of quality in the near future may likely include
“In the building industry, the trend toward environmental
awareness is ever apparent. More than 1,400 organizations have joined the U.S.
Green Building Council, which developed the leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design (LEED) standards, a widely accepted green-building rating
system. In less than three years, the number of LEED-registered projects has
grown from zero to over 370. Both Ford and Honda already have buildings that
are certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.
“According to Nigel Howard, vice president of the U.S. Green
Building Council, more than 40 percent of all new projects in the United Kingdom enroll in its equivalent to the LEED system. The U.K.’s commercial
developers are seeking the system as a way to secure tenants who are looking
for environmentally responsible buildings. Could this be a precursor to the
future in the United States?
“Quality and value
“Traditionally, speculative developers have created value
based on direct and immediate economic incentives related to minimizing risk
and maximizing short-term returns — very tangible measures. The intangible
element of the equation that can affect a building’s value is the building’s
“The challenge is to find measurable “value” and “quality”
through environmental values. This can include minimizing risk of liability for
indoor air quality by creating healthy buildings; minimizing risk of unstable
utility costs by minimizing current consumption; minimizing risk by providing
flexibility now to install more advanced utility technologies in the future;
responding to public perception/pressure of corporate responsibility; and by
creating more demand through positive impacts on the health/productivity of the
“Energy-efficient buildings are more resilient to
fluctuations and instability in energy and water costs, and may actually result
in higher future profits for developers based upon higher desirability from
potential tenants and, ultimately, lower vacancy rates.
“While an increasing number of speculative developers are
responding to an internal value set — a strong belief that environmentally
smart development is “the right thing to do” — the bottom line is still what
matters in the end.
“Research is beginning to show that green development could
be a smarter economic decision and a potential criterion for investment in the
future. Unique factors play into making economic decisions when doing a green
speculative development. The Seattle-based Urban Environmental Institute
recently identified several strategies arising from the emerging green market.
“However, all are not yet economically proven and only serve
as a guide for developers.
Higher rents might be commanded for certain green features,
including low emission materials and natural daylighting, as well as systems
that offset increasing energy and water costs. In a 2001 research poll on the
residential market by Professional Builder and HousingZone.com, 96 percent
responded that they are willing to spend more money for “green” — a 7 percent
increase in one year. And 20 percent reported that they are willing to spend
up to $10,000 more for a home in green developments.
“Lower vacancies might be achieved by using green features
as a marketing edge.
“A LEED-certified building may rent more quickly.
“Insurance expenses may be reduced as a result of decreased
“Lending costs may be lower and financing incentives may be
developed for green structures.
“Inflation risk may be reduced if environmental features are
developed now but implemented in the future as utility and water costs rise.
“Increase in building valuation through a net operating
income increase on non-triple net rents.
“According to a study by the Rocky Mountain Institute, staff
productivity gains of 6 percent to 16 percent have been reported from
energy-efficient designs, demonstrating “green” as a marketable asset.
“Governments, utilities and other institutions are
encouraging green development through economic incentives in order to help
reduce the demand for services and minimize expensive infrastructure
investments. Some examples:
“Seattle City Light Energy Smart Services — Packages
offering up to 70 percent or more of the cost of upgrading facilities with
energy-efficient lighting and equipment; reimbursement for professional
design and engineering services required to develop cost-effective
conservation measures; partial reimbursement for developing a building
“Seattle City Light, Seattle Public Utilities LEED incentive
program — For those who meet eligibility, grants are provided for projects
committed to achieving a LEED-certified rating, in some cases up to $20,000.
“Building area and height incentives — Portland is
encouraging low-impact stormwater strategies to help enhance critical salmon
habitat and minimize expensive infrastructure investments. This includes
allowing 3 square feet of additional floor-area ratio for each square foot of
“The next wave of public incentives will likely grow out of
the fact that a green development could be housing more people for
significantly less resource consumption per square foot, which means less
infrastructure investment. As such, why not allow a 25 percent floor-area ratio
or a height increase?
“Over time, market demand for environmentally smart
speculative development may become a necessity as energy resources continue to
be depleted and costs for utilities continue to increase.
“In 2001, the Seattle area saw an average increase of almost
17 percent in gas costs, a 20 percent increase in electrical costs and a 12
percent increase in sewer costs. Developers that adjust their definitions for
quality and value now may experience a market advantage over developers that
choose to build more traditionally.
“It is time now for companies in our sector to ready
themselves for the business environment of the future, not the past,” said London developer Sir Martin Laing, addressing the Sustainable Construction Task Group in London last fall. “This requires leadership from the top — we have got to stop regarding
sustainability as some irksome burden being forced on us. It is an opportunity
to be grasped, to improve our reputation, reduce our risk and gain the
“In the U.S. this also rings true. In order to protect the
future for our businesses, we all need to work towards a new definition of
quality.” (Bert Gregory, “The Future Bodes Well for Green Development.” Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce Newspaper, May 2, 2002.)
The old brown development world is dying. The developers who
decide to retool their companies for a new green world will prosper in the days
ahead. Those who fail to see that a major paradigm change is occurring in the
development world will soon close their doors.
One of the most prominent leaders in the new green building
industry is Jerry Yudelson. He has been a leader in training professionals in
the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system. He is a engineer and
author and has led the movement toward green buildings since 2001. Recently, he
published another great book entitled, Developing Green: Strategies
for Success. The GreenBiz staff reported on his new book as follows:
“More than half of the world's 500 largest corporations
issuing sustainability reports in 2005 say that they want to build and occupy
real estate that reflects their values, according to Developing Green:
Strategies for Success, a new book published by the National Association of
Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP).
“The report, Developing Green: Strategies for Success, authored
by Jerry Yudelson, is designed for professionals engaged in financing,
building, and marketing projects with green features. It illustrates the
practice of marketing green developments and includes case studies, exemplary
projects, and companies that are transforming the building and development
“In addition to the case studies, narratives and materials
outlined in the book, each Developing Green: Strategies for Success is
accompanied by a CD featuring sustainable design projects from across the
“The market for green buildings for public agencies is among
the greatest single green market in the United States, and it is growing
rapidly. The combined office, public safety and recreation segments exceed $43
billion per year, much of it in smaller buildings amenable to green building
"Developing Green: Strategies for Success provides a
road map to assist developers in navigating the course of green development,
providing a true insiders' look into best practices and presenting the case for
building green," says Thomas J. Bisacquino, NAIOP president. “The book is
an excellent tool for marketing and development professionals who want to
effectively understand green development and the growing role it’s playing in
“Owners and developers of commercial and institutional
properties in North America are advancing green development through
state-of-the-art tools, design techniques, advanced green products and creative
use of financial and regulatory incentives.
“Throughout Developing Green: Strategies for Success,
Yudelson delineates the practice of building green and includes seven keys to
successful green marketing. He also validates the cost of green buildings and
explains how to incorporate green features into any project.
“A national LEED faculty member for the U.S. Green Building
Council, Jerry Yudelson is a leading expert in the LEED green building rating
system. He has trained more than 2,000 building industry professions on LEED
and has chaired Greenbuild, the U.S. Green Building Council’s international
conference. (GreenBiz Staff, “Commercial Demand for Green Development Grows,
Says New Book.” August 6, 2006.)
The economic downturn in the United States is now sweeping
through the commercial development world. However, those who are hardest hit at
this time are the old brown developers who refused to see the signs of change
and kept plowing ahead in the same old way until their businesses has grinded
to a stop. Green developers, on the other hand, are seeing a brighter future.
The green developers who changed their design, construction
and operation of their companies over the last several years are finding new
clients and new lenders. In an article entitled, “Green Lending Picks Up
Despite Credit Market Woes,” Barbara Murray stated:
“At a time when securing a real estate development loan is
an uphill battle, ShoreBank Pacific has decided to pave the way for those
builders who are dedicated to eco-friendly development. With the establishment
of its new Green Building Loan Program, the bank has joined the ranks of
those financial institutions that are making an extra effort to step up the
support of green commercial development in the midst of the credit crisis.
"’The only people who are going to build today are,
one, very serious builders–no one's building on spec unless they're
idiots–and, two, people with a fair amount of capital who are building for
themselves. So if they're doing that and they're adding green elements to the
building, we can help them get there," David Williams, ShoreBank Pacific
CEO, told CPN. The 12-year-old Washington-based bank serves the Pacific Northwest and its new green building loan program, created in conjunction with the
bank's nonprofit affiliate ShoreBank Enterprise Cascadia, offers green builders
financing of up to 85 percent loan-to-value, a ratio that is hard to come by
for most developers these days. ShoreBank Pacific's partnership with its
affiliate allows it to provide higher lending amounts; loans range from $1 million
to $10 million.
“The program is designed for the truly committed green
developer. Proposed projects must be designed to meet ShoreBank Pacific's
internal sustainability guidelines or the qualifications for Earth Advantage,
Energy Star or LEED certification. "We also have scientists on staff who
get out and assess the projects," said Williams. "It's all part of
our strategy to help folks become more sustainable. A lot of green building
starts with strategy; there's pre-thinking that goes into a building that
works, and the scientists can help them think further, more deeply into what
they want to do."
“In general, it costs more to develop a certified green
building than a traditional one, so in the midst of a bleak economy, why would
a bank promote the more expensive development concept? “The long-term costs of
building are reduced if you follow green building strategies," “Williams
noted. "And our approach is different from banks that are just out there
chasing the deal. Our whole message is to focus on building sustainable
communities. For example, if we're dealing with a retailer, we get ourselves
completely involved in the industry; we say, 'we can create a market for your
product,' so that reduces the risk for the bank."
“Green lending is still a niche market, but more than a few
financing entities specialize in this area, including Houston-based Green Bank
and San Francisco's New Resource Bank. In Austin, a group of banking and
environment industry experts is planning to open One Earth Bank this spring;
the entity will incorporate sustainable business practices and will provide
financing with a focus on environmentally friendly projects and business
pursuits. And despite the challenging economic environment, traditional banks
are continuing to jump on the green bandwagon. In November of last year,
Roseburg, Ore.-based Umpqua Bank joined forces with Energy Trust of Oregon to
form GreenStreet Lending, a program that provides loans to businesses and
homeowners to make their properties more energy efficient.
“While ShoreBank's green building loan program is brand new,
it is clearly already on developers' radar. However, this route to financing
isn't for borrowers who decide to go green simply to get the loan. "We've
gotten a lot of calls from desperate developers, and that's not useful,"
Williams said. "It's got to be in their bones to do this."
(Barbra Murray, “Green Lending Picks Up Despite Credit Market Woes.” Commercial
Property News, February 9, 2009.)
New green commercial buildings will begin to emerge all
across. It is now just a trend; it is the wave of the future. Green developers
will lead the way, the only way, in fact.
Homes Lower Your Carbon Footprint
One of the key ways to lower the carbon footprint of homes
in America is to make the transition to new or remodeled green homes. Modern
homes today account for approximately 30 percent of the energy use in America. If we could find a new way to design, construct and operate homes, we could
significantly lower energy consumption, save homeowners money and reduce the
usage of fossil fuels for production of electricity. It makes sense – green
sense to build green homes today.
The U. S. Green Building Council publishes “The Green Home
Guide.” It is a valuable tool for those who are preparing to invest in a new
green home or for those who are interested in remodeling an existing home and
retrofitting it with new green technology and natural building products.
According to the USGBC’s Guide:
“A green home uses less
energy, water and natural resources, creates less waste and is healthier for
the people living inside compared to a standard home. It’s as simple as that!
“A home can be
built green, or you
make it green later. A
green makeover can happen all at once, or it can be a gradual process. But what
it all comes down to is a new way of thinking – and a new way of living. From a
more energy-efficient kitchen to a tree-filled backyard paradise, your home can
be green top to bottom, front to back, inside and out. And it doesn’t matter
whether you rent or own, live in an apartment or single-family home, or live in
the city, the suburbs or the country.
Benefits of a Green Home
“There are many very
real benefits to living in a green home, and every day, more and more Americans
are discovering those
benefits. Green homes
are healthier, more durable and more cost-effective.
Average Predicted Energy Savings of LEED Homes
Based on their average Home Energy Rating
System (HERS) scores, homes certified under LEED for Homes since the program
launched in January 2008 are predicted, on average, to have the potential for
reduced energy usage compared with International Energy Conservation Code
“That’s why green homes
are expected to make up 10% of new home construction by 2010, up from 2% in
2005, according to the 2006 McGraw-Hill Construction Residential Green Building
SmartMarket Report. Owning or renting a green home is good for your health,
your wallet and our environment.
many very real benefits to living in a green home, and every day, more and more
Americans are discovering those benefits. That’s why green homes are expected
to make up 10% of new home construction by 2010, up from 2% in 2005, according
to the 2006 McGraw-Hill Construction Residential Green Building SmartMarket
Report. Owning or renting a green home is good for your health, your wallet and
“Green homes’ use of toxin-free
building materials helps combat indoor air pollution, which can be much worse
than outdoor pollution. Unhealthy air inside can pose serious health risks for
“Natural ventilation in green homes,
as well as use of mechanical ventilation systems to filter and bring fresh air
inside and vent stale air outside. Keep residents breathing easy.
“The net cost of owning
a green home is comparable to-or even cheaper that – owning a standard home. If
upfront costs are higher, it is often because many architects, homebuilders,
engineers, plumbers and other industry professionals just don’t have the
knowledge and experience to cost-effectively plan, design and save you money
and ensure you’re getting the best-quality work possible.
“Month to month, people
who live in green homes save money by consuming less energy and less water than
standard homes. Over the years, that adds up to big savings.
“A healthiercan mean
fewer expensive doctor’s visits and fewer days of missed work.
“Soon, it will cost less
to insure a green home than a standard home. An increasing number of insurance
companies are offering discounts on policies covering green homes. Similarly,
several mortgage companies offer discounted loan rates for homebuyers buying
“A green home is often
more durable than most standard homes because of its high-quality building
materials and construction processes, requiring fewer repairs.
“The value of a green
home is often higher than that of a comparable standard home, and the market
demand for green homes continues to rise. The Solaire, a green residential
high-rise in New York City, brings in rents 10% to 15% higher than market
rates, and in Rocklin, Calif., the LEED-certified homes in the Carsten
Crossings development outsold the competition 2-to-1.
“Local, state and
federal governments are increasingly offering tax breaks and other
building LEED homes or adding green features
to your home. homes or adding green features to your home.
Environmentally Friendly Home
“Residential cooling and heating alone make up 20% of the United States’ yearly energy use. Throw in household lighting, appliances and other
electronic equipment, and homes are clearly a major source of energy
consumption. Most of that energy comes from greenhouse gas producers like oil
and coal, contributing to global climate change. Green homes use 40% less
energy than comparable standard homes.
homes further reduce our dependence on conventional energy sources as they
generate some or all of their energy needs through alternative energy sources
like the sun, wind, geothermal energy and biomass.
plumbing and bathing fixtures, drought-tolerant landscaping and
water-conserving irrigation systems help green homes use less water than
natural resources are used in the construction of a green home. Many green
building materials have significant recycled content. Some companies, for
example, now make carpets and floor tiles from recycled tires and bottles.
Green homes can also be constructed with salvaged materials from demolished
buildings. Green homes use materials made from rapidly renewable materials,
like bamboo, hemp, agrifibers and soybean-based products. And the use of wood
that is certified by
Forest Stewardship Council helps promote socially and environmentally beneficial
standard 2,500-square-foot home creates approximately 2 tons of construction
waste that ends up in landfills. Construction of a green home, however, should
generate less waste – often much less. (Green Homes 101, USGBC. 2009.)
In addition to the energy savings and the health benefits of
living in a green home, there are a number of financial incentives that are
available from governmental agencies at the city, county and state level and
some utility companies. Usually there are rebates and tax breaks for installing
and using new clean technology.
The U. S. Green Building Council has a searchable database
for local incentives for those who build a LEED certified home.
The U. S. Department of Energy has a Database of State
Incentives for Renewables and Efficiences for those who switch to new energy
The Environmental Protection Agency has links on its web
site to help homeowners locate grants, tax credits, etc.
The U. S. Department of Energy’s web site helps homeowners
secure federal tax credits for those who use energy saving devices.
It seems abundantly clear that designing, building and
owning a green home is a great investment. A new green home or a recently
remodeled green home is the first component of a new green community. It is
also an important way to lower your carbon footprint and help the environment
to be a little greener.
Buildings Lower Your Carbon Footprint
One of the most important steps we can take to lower carbon
emissions in the United States is to make the transition to building all green
buildings and to retrofitting existing buildings with new clean technology and
energy saving devices.. Green buildings, offices, hospitals, schools,
warehouses, government buildings, etc., would substantially lower the carbon footprint
of the spaces these building now occupy and will occupy in the future.
In an article entitled, “Why Build Green.” Global Green USA
Did You Know?
“Typical building construction, use, and
demolition, as well as the manufacturing of building materials, contribute
significantly to environmental problems. In the United States, buildings
- 36% of total energy use
- 65% of electricity consumption
- 30% of greenhouse gas emissions
- 30% of raw materials use
- 30% of waste output (equal to 136 million
- 12% of potable water consumption
- A typical 1700 sq. ft wood frame home
requires the equivalent of clear cutting one-acre of forest
“Despite all these intensive inputs, we are not
constructing healthy buildings. More than 30% of buildings in the US have poor indoor air quality, a serious problem given that most people spend about 90%
of their time indoors. A 1990 study by the American Medical Association and the
U.S. Army found that indoor air quality problems cost U.S. businesses 150 million workdays and about $15 billion in productivity losses each
year. The World Health Organization puts the losses at close to $60 billion.
“By the year 2010, another 38 million buildings
are expected to be constructed in the US, bringing our country’s total to over
100 million. The challenge is to build those new buildings, and renovate the
older ones, in ways that reverse these unhealthy trends. Fortunately, there are
ways we – as consumers, designers, builders and product manufacturers – can respond
to this challenge. By building green, we can assist in preserving natural
habitats, watersheds, and ecosystems, protect air and water quality, reduce
greenhouse gas emissions and solid waste, all while conserving natural
resources and creating healthier indoor and outdoor environments.
“Green building also has tangible economic and
public health benefits. These include lower operating costs via reduced energy
and water utility bills, and reduced maintenance and replacement costs due to
greater durability of materials. The use of non-toxic materials in residential
construction is especially important in protecting children from respiratory
and other diseases.
“In commercial settings, green building results
in improved occupant health and comfort (primarily due to indoor air quality
measures and daylighting) which in turn leads to higher produc-tivity, less
absenteeism, and reduced insurance costs and liability risk.
“On the hierarchy of human needs, shelter is
second only to food. Everyone wants a place to live. One of the best and
easiest ways to lessen the impact on the planet of fulfilling that need is to
build environmentally-sound structures. Not only can we improve the global
environment, building green can improve your local environment.” (“Why Build Green.”
Global Green USA. 2004.)
Making the transition to green buildings will significantly
reduce the carbon footprint left by tens of thousands buildings that dot the
landscape of America. It is imperative that the old status quo, brown, fossil
fuel burning builders and developers join the new League of Green Builders and
Developers and curtail the use of fossil fuels in the United States.
The Green Building Revolution, the Clean Tech Revolution and
the Wellness Revolution have the power to change American forever. It is now up
to courageous and dynamic entrepreneurs and revolutionaries to change the
status quo in the building and development industry.
As a new generation of green builders and developers emerge
to confront climate change and needless carbon emissions, it is important to
follow basic guidelines to ensure that the new buildings are in fact really
green buildings. The following checklist may be helpful:
Site and Land Use
“Site Selection -
Avoid development on sites that are: agricultural; in the 100-year flood plain;
subject to landslides, erosion or wildfires; habitat to endangered species;
“Urban Redevelopment - Channel development to urban areas with existing
infrastructure, protecting greenfields and preserving habitat and natural
“Alternative Transportation - Reduce pollution and land development
impacts from car use by locating buildings near transit, providing bicycle
amenities, encourage carpooling, and providing alternative fueling stations.
“Reduce Site Disturbance - Conserve existing natural areas and restore
damaged areas to provide habitat and promote biodiversity.
“Stormwater Management - Limit disruption of natural water flows by
eliminating storm water runoff, increasing on-site infiltration and reducing
contaminants. Minimize impervious surfaces. Implement groundwater recharge.
“Landscape and Exterior Design to Reduce Heat Islands - Reduce heat
islands by eliminating or shading blacktop paving and dark roof surfaces.
“Light Pollution Reduction - Eliminate light trespass from the building
site. Improve night sky access.
“Water Efficient Landscaping - Minimize the use of potable water for
irrigation by using xeriscaping and high efficiency irrigation technologies,
including drip irrigation, rainwater capture, graywater, etc.
“Water Use Reduction - Maximize water efficiency within buildings to
reduce the burden on municipal water supply and wastewater systems. Specify
water-efficient fixtures and equipment.
Energy and Atmosphere
“Optimize Energy Performance
through siting, orientation, building form, insulation, glazing, daylighting,
and controls. Study performance with energy modeling programs. Practice
integrated design including all parties of the project from inception.
“Renewable Energy - Promote energy self-sufficiency and minimize
reliance on limited fossil fuels by incorporating on-site renewable energy
sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass.
“Building Commissioning - Verify that the building is designed, constructed,
and calibrated to operate as intended with third party quality control
“Eliminate HCFCs - Reduce ozone depletion by installing building level
HVAC and refrigeration equipment and fire suppression systems that do not
“Building Reuse - Extend the life cycle of building stock, conserve
resources, retain cultural resources, reduce waste, and reduce environmental
impact of new buildings.
Construction Waste Management - Divert construction, demolition, and land
clearing debris from landfills. Redirect recyclable material back to the
“Resource Reuse - Specify salvaged or refurbished materials such as wood
flooring/paneling/cabinets, doors and frames, mantels, ironwork, decorative
light fixtures, brick, masonry.
“Recycling/Recycled Content - Provide for occupant recycling of waste.
Specify products that contain recycled material.
“Local/Regional Materials - Specify materials that are harvested,
extracted and manufactured regionally.
“Rapidly Renewable Materials - Specify rapidly renewable materials such
as straw, bamboo and some woods.
“Certified Wood - Specify wood from certified sustainably managed
“Carbon Dioxide Monitoring/Exhaust - Install independent system or make
a function of building HVAC system.
“Assure Ventilation Effectiveness - Employ architectural and HVAC design
strategies to increase ventilation effectiveness and prevent short-circuiting
of airflow delivery. Consider underfloor HVAC and operable windows.
“Construction IAQ Management Plan - Implement during construction
process to protect ventilation system and workers.
“Low-VOC Materials - Specify low-VOC adhesives, sealants, coatings,
composite wood products and carpet systems.
“Indoor Chemical and Pollutant Source Control - Install entry grates to
capture dirt. Segregate and separately ventilate areas of chemical use and
storage. Appropriately plumb drains used for liquid waste disposal.
“Controllability of Systems - Provide a high level of individual control
of thermal, ventilation and lighting systems.
“Daylight and Views - Provide a connection between indoor spaces and
outdoor environment through the introduction of sunlight and views in a
glare-free way. Consider courtyards, atriums, clerestory windows, skylights,
and light shelves. (“Green Architecture Checklist: Commercial Buildings.” Doerr
Expressive Ecological Design.2009.)
A new green building is not only healthy for the environment
and all life forms that inhabit the earth, it is healthy for the tenants and
those who visit the new green building. Green builders and developers, along
with the host of supporting cast of architects, engineers, project managers,
natural building material manufacturers and others, that come together to
construct the new green buildings of tomorrow have the power to change the
environment and lower the carbon footprint of the space where their building
will be located.
As brown world builders and developers shed their brown
coats, ideologies and brown way of doing business and put on a bright new shiny
green coat with a new green ideologies and green ways of doing business, a new
green economy will emerge and a new green world will be one day closer. The end
result will be fewer carbon emissions, energy savings, lower carbon footprints
and a greener, healthier world for all.
Communities Lower Your Carbon Footprint
New green homes and new green buildings are beginning to
grace the landscape of America and in the process new green communities are
emerging full of individuals and families who are dedicated to a new green
lifestyle. The individuals and families who have embraced the new Wellness
Revolution, the Green Building revolution and the Clean Tech Revolution, are
not only participants in a new movements that is sweeping American and the
world, they are the leaders. They are educated and dedicated to being healthy,
living healthy and promoting healthy lifestyles in their communities.
Millions of new green homes will soon fill the suburbs of America. Thousands of new green building will arise to serve the inhabitants of these
areas. New technology, industries and manufacturing entities are emerging to
fill the needs of the new green consumer.
The new green communities are changing the dynamics of the
American economy and lowering the carbon footprint where they are located.
Through an enormous savings of energy and natural resources, the carbon
emissions will be significantly lowered in the decades ahead.
As citizens learn the facts about climate change, industrial
pollution, land, air and water pollution via hundreds of tons of toxic
chemicals, fertilizers and poisons, a new healthier way of living will emerge –
a new sustainable lifestyle that embraces the natural world and opposes the
artificial chemical world.
As builders become familiar with new eco-designs, entire
housing developments will be built with natural building products, new clean
technology and renewable energy sources, new green communities emerge.
As developers become familiar with new eco-designs, entire
business parks and business campuses will be built with natural building
products, new clean technology and renewable energy sources new green
As educators become familiar with new eco-designs, entire
new green college and universities campuses will be built that adhere to
sustainable development and new clean technology.
As government officials become familiar with new
eco-designs, new government buildings will reflect the desire of citizens who
favor downsizing the role of government and limiting the carbon footprint of
government agencies and buildings.
As doctors, nurses and hospital administrators see the
benefits of the Wellness Revolution, new green hospitals and wellness centers
will emerge that reflect the ability of the body to heal itself when provided
with wholesome organic food, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, herbs, etc.
As manufacturers learn the lessons from the failure of
globalism, they will turn to the creation of new green, clean tech
manufacturing facilities that produce a whole range of new natural products for
the green homes, green businesses and green communities. Made in the USA will
rise from the ashes of globalism and thousands of new jobs will be created
through the manufacture of products to be bought by enlightened consumers who
eschew the artificial and chemically altered consumer products of Communist
China, Asia and a host of third world countries who use child labor, prison
labor, pheasant labor and the poor of the earth to manufacture products that do
not adhere to the principles of genuine free and fair trade.
As consumers learn about natural products and natural
healing techniques, eco-design, organic family farms, organic food, natural
clothing, furniture and a host of similar natural products, a new green economy
will emerge centered upon the new green communities that are already beginning
to emerge in various parts of the USA such as Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Boulder, Colorado.
In the near future new green cities will arise in America built with the latest in eco-design techniques, natural building products, clean
technology and renewable energy sources.
A new era is emerging. A new green economy is emerging. A
new green world order is emerging. And in the process the old brown world,
based upon excessive consumption of fossil fuel and perishable consumer goods
is beginning to wane. Soon it will fade away and a new green world will emerge
based completely upon organic farming and organic food, clean technology, green
building blueprints, natural clothing and renewable energy sources.
As new green business parks, new green business campuses,
new green office buildings, new green schools, new green colleges and
universities, new green shopping areas, new green recreational areas, new green
manufacturing entities, new green wellness centers and hospitals, new green
organic shopping markets and new green residential areas are built, tens of
thousands of individuals and families will flock to these new healthy and
prosperous green communities.
The Wellness Revolution, the Green Building Revolution and
the Clean Tech Revolution have emerged at just the right time in the history of
the world. Together they have the ideology, the political power and the economic
might to literally transform the world and change it from a brown world into a
The eco-system of the world is reaching a breaking point due
to people’s addiction to fossil fuels. The current world order is dominated by
large multinational oil companies, large multinational chemical companies,
large multinational pharmaceutical companies, large multinational food
companies, large multinational armament companies, large multinational media
companies and large international organizations, all of which combine to serve
the interests of a small elite who control and dominate the world economy and
the current world order. These powerful forces have created a multitude of
social, political, economic, military, intelligence, environmental and health crisis
that only perpetuate the old brown world.
It is imperative that a new green economy, a new green world
economy and a new green world order arise to replace the current global system
that is in place today and which is administered by a small elite who goal is
the maintenance of power and gain at all costs.
Ideas do have consequences and ideas have a time to emerge
and cause a revolution. And that is what is needed today. More than any time in
the history of the world, we need to understand, support and promote the
Wellness Revolution, the Green Building Revolution and the Clean Tech
Revolution. We must labor as if our lives depended upon it, because in reality,
New green homes, new green buildings and new green
communities must be built upon the natural world and sustainable principles.
Only then will we be able to halt the pollution of the land, air and water with
all manner of chemicals, toxins and poisons that are destroying all life forms
on earth. Only then will we be able to stop the excessive consumption of
fossil fuels and the carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
New green homes, new green buildings, new green communities
built upon the principles which underlie the Wellness Revolution, the Green
Building Revolution and the Clean Tech Revolution will provide the inhabitants
of the earth and all life forms with a new lease on life.
Cities Lower Your Carbon Footprint
If you travel extensively throughout the nation you will
quickly come to realize that a multitude of America’s cities are decaying and
dying. Why? It is now clear that globalism is unsustainable and a complete
failure from every point of view, except for those (a small elite) who prosper
from so-called managed trade and the exploitation of people and resources
around the world.
As a result of globalism, hundreds of manufacturing plants,
family farms and ranches have closed and new ghost towns, once the legends of
the West, have arisen throughout the land.
The people who are affected by the outsourcing of jobs, the
continual importation of cheap foreign manufactured goods, the rise of factory
farms, the closure of manufacturing plants and the resulting layoffs and
unemployment, have nowhere to go except to flee into larger metropolitan areas
in search of new employment opportunities.
As more and more people move from small towns and rural
areas into large cities, a host of new problems and new challenges arise which
confront city, county and state officials who are already flooded and burdened
with demands for government services. Inadequate housing, transportation
corridors, sewer systems, water treatment plants, law enforcement personnel,
garbage disposal, waste management, manufacturing and distribution facilities,
electric grids, schools and universities, work opportunities and recreation
areas give rise to a host of social problems such as school dropouts and
various criminal activities that are turning large cities into crime zones.
Over forty states and hundreds of cities throughout America are facing serious financial crisis due to a drop in tax revenue from citizens who
are now unemployed and factories and plants that are now closed or in the
process of closing.
On the top of all these problems, the people who are now
living in decaying and dying cities are being bombarded each and every day by
hundreds of tons of pollutants that are contaminating the land they walk upon,
the air they inhale and the water they drink. Toxic chemicals, drugs and
poisons are now causing new illnesses, sickness and disease. All life forms are
being threatened by a legion of man-made chemical pollutants.
Build New Manufacturing Cities of Tomorrow
It is time to built completely new cities in America. It is time to build tens of thousands of new green homes, green buildings and
green communities. It is time to put millions of people to work designing,
building and operating new green cities. It is time to harness the renewable
energy sources that God provided all of his children and provide clean sources
of heat, fuel and electricity. It is time to build completely new manufacturing
centers in America. It is time to build the Manufacturing Cities of Tomorrow™
For the first time in world history, the emergence of the
Wellness Revolution, the Green Building Revolution and the Clean Tech
Revolution, at the same time, has provided us with the tools which are
necessary to transform America and create new green, sustainable cities.
There is an abundance of land available in the states such
as Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas where new cities could be built using the
clean technology, green building guidelines and sustainable land development
and food production.
We now have the clean technology and natural building
products to literally create dozens and dozens of new cities and manufacturing
centers where millions of people could live and work in clean, wholesome,
healthy areas free of toxic pollutants and chemicals.
The design, construction and operation of new eco-friendly
green cities must be an enormous collaborative effort of green designers,
architects, engineers, planners, builders, developers, financiers, city
planners and government officials.
A tour of America’s top twenty five largest cities will
convince nearly everyone that the problems afflicting these communities seem
insurmountable. While a host of eco-friendly designers, architects, planners,
developers, city planners and government officials are daily addressing the
social, political, economical, financial, logistical, environmental problems,
etc., of these large metropolitan areas, there is no reason that we cannot also
design, build and operate new green cities in areas of the nation where there
is an abundance of renewable energy sources and wide open spaces.
The abundant land in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas are perfect locations for new green cities. Surely it is time to make the desert
bloom once again.
The land is available. The clean technology is available.
The natural building materials are available. The sun, wind and geo-thermal
power is available. The principles of organic farming, natural healing and
wellness are available. The principles of green building are available. The
talent to design, construct and operate new green cities is available.
Manufacturing technology is available to operate new American based
manufacturing facilities. Financing is available. So what is holding us back?
It is time to break out of the old brown world, the old
brown economy and the old brown world order. It is time to design a new green
world, a new green economy and a new green world order.
It will require vision, dedication, courage, stamina,
patience, endurance, commitment, faith, sacrifice, persistence and freedom.
It is time to create millions of new jobs in the
Manufacturing Cities of Tomorrow™ (MCOT™). It is time to build world class,
environmentally-friendly, sustainable, high-tech, interactive green
Manufacturing Cities of Tomorrow™ (MCOT™) today. Let us begin. Together we can
accomplish remarkable things. All that is required is a commitment to support
and sustain the new Wellness Revolution, the Green Building Revolution and the
Clean Tech Revolution.
The creation of new green homes, new green buildings and new
green communities inside new green cities will substantially lower the carbon
footprint of every person who lives, works or visits such a pristine
environment. It would truly be a carbon-free green city.
Rise of Sustainable Cities
Masdar, Dongtan, La Rioja and Zira Island are not common
household names in America. However, to a small group of world class developers
and architects, these names are emblazed upon their foreheads.
The Wellness Revolution, the Green Building Revolution and
the Clean Tech Revolution has created an intense desire by millions of people
in America and around the world to become healthier, live longer, live in green
homes, work in green buildings and live in green communities based upon a more
natural lifestyle. These global revolutions are sweeping the world with
tectonic changes and paving the way for the rise of new sustainable communities
in remote locations of the world where only the elite, powerful and wealthy are
able to travel, visit and live.
For centuries the elite lived in gated cities known as
castles. Today, a new form of the castle is being built under the name of
sustainable cities. Instead of gated communities, we now have gated cities
being built in various parts of the earth. Only the very wealthy will be able
to visit or live in them. They are the greenest cities on earth because they
literally cost tens of billions of green dollars to design, construct and
Let us look at these modern day marvels made possible by the
fruits of the Wellness Revolution, the Green Building Revolution and the Clean
We shall begin with the most famous sustainable city in the
world. It is known as Masdar City. It is located in Abu Dhabi and is the
mastermind of one man – the richest man in the United Arab Emirates. In fact,
he is the Prime Minister and the United Arab Emirates and the Ruler of Dubai.
He is known as “His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
There is nothing like Masdar city anywhere in the world.
When it is finished, it will probably become one of the Nine Wonders of the
Word. In an article entitled, “Abu Dhabi Unveils Plans for Sustainable City“, we learn the following:
“WWF [World Wildlife Federation] and the government of Abu Dhabi today launched a Sustainability Strategy to deliver the world’s greenest city – Masdar City.
“The six square kilometre city, designed by Foster and
Associates, is to house an eventual 50,000 people in accordance with WWF One
Planet Living sustainability standards which include specific targets for the
city’s ecological footprint.
“Independent and public verification of Masdar City's performance in meeting these standards is just one of the features distinguishing
the project. Another is the commitment that the project will not just preserve
existing regional biodiversity but enhance it.
“Masdar City - which will be zero-carbon, zero-waste and
car-free - plans to exceed the requirements of the 10 sustainability
principles of the One Planet Living programme, a global initiative launched by
WWF and environmental consultancy BioRegional. It is expected this will make it
a global benchmark for sustainable urban development.
“The electricity for the six square kilometre city will be
generated by photovoltaic panels, while cooling will be provided via
concentrated solar power. Water will be provided through a solar-powered desalination
plant. Landscaping within the city and crops grown outside the city will be
irrigated with grey water and treated waste water produced by the city.
Construction is to begin in early 2008.
“Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, Director of WWF International’s One
Planet Living initiative, said, ”Today Abu Dhabi is embarking on a journey to
become the global capital of the renewable energy revolution. Abu Dhabi is the
first hydrocarbon-producing nation to have taken such a significant step
towards sustainable living.
“’Masdar is an example of the paradigm shift that is needed
and the strategic vision of the Abu Dhabi government is a case study in global
leadership. We hope that Masdar City will prove that sustainable living can be
affordable and attractive in all aspects of human living – from businesses and
manufacturing facilities to universities and private homes.”
“The city is part of the Masdar Initiative, Abu Dhabi’s multi-faceted investment in the exploration, development and commercialisation
of future energy sources and clean technology solutions. A model of the Masdar City will be unveiled on January 21, at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.
“Dr. Sultan al Jaber, CEO of the Masdar Initiative, said,
“Masdar City will question conventional patterns of urban development, and set
new benchmarks for sustainability and environmentally friendly design – the
students, faculty and businesses located in Masdar City will not only be able
to witness innovation first-hand, but they will also participate in its
“’We are pleased to be able to work with One Planet Living
to make our vision a reality,” he said.
“Pooran Desai OBE, co-founder of BioRegional and Technical
Director of the One Planet Living Communities programme, said Masdar would be
the largest and one of the most advanced sustainable communities in the world.
“’The vision of One Planet Living is a world where people
everywhere can lead happy, healthy lives within their fair share of the Earth’s
resources. Masdar gives us a breathtaking insight into this positive,
“’In realising the goal of a sustainable future, Masdar is
committed to achieving the One Planet Living Program’s Ten Guiding Principles,
covering issues that range from how waste is dealt with to the energy
performance of the buildings.”
“The One Planet Living programme is based on 10 unique
principles of sustainability. Masdar City will meet and exceed each of these,
as detailed below.
“These targets are to be achieved by the time the Masdar City is completed and fully functioning in 2012. (“Abu Dhabi Unveils Plans for
Sustainable City“, World Wildlife Federation. January 13, 2008.)
In an article entitled, “Abu Dhabi’s Ambitious Eco-City
Masdar Plan”, the Economist Group Intelligence Unit in London wrote:
“The world’s grubbiest people, measured by emissions of
greenhouse gases per head, are the citizens of the United Arab Emirates. The
country’s huge oil wealth allows many of them to drive big, fuel-guzzling cars
and live in huge, power-guzzling homes. What is more, the country’s hot and
muggy climate means that almost all the buildings are air-conditioned, and
almost all the water is obtained from energy-intensive desalination plants. The
result is an offence to the atmosphere.
“What is more, Abu Dhabi, the biggest of the country’s seven
princely city-states, has a huge vested interest in the continued domination of
the world economy by fossil fuels. It sits atop some 8% of the world’s proven
reserves of oil. At current rates of extraction, the oil will last for another
92 years. So it is with some scepticism that the world has greeted Abu Dhabi’s plans to reinvent itself as a crucible of greenery.
“In 2006 Abu Dhabi’s development agency unveiled the Masdar
Initiative, to pursue “solutions to some of mankind’s most pressing issues:
energy security, climate change and truly sustainable human development”. The
initiative consists of a research institute to develop environmental
technologies, an investment arm to commercialise and deploy them, and an
eco-city to house these two outfits and to serve as a test-bed for their ideas.
All this, it is hoped, will turn Abu Dhabi into the Silicon Valley of clean
technology, where green-minded academics, entrepreneurs and financiers will rub
“The project is nothing if not ambitious. Masdar’s managers
say they will create an academic institution on a par with the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology (MIT), a global manufacturing hub for technologies such
as solar power and desalination, and a city of 40,000 people with no
greenhouse-gas emissions and no waste—all while turning a profit. The
government of Abu Dhabi is putting up $15 billion in seed capital, but the
investment arm and Masdar city are intended to be run on a commercial basis, in
conjunction with other companies.
“In the past, some of Abu Dhabi’s grandiose schemes have
come to nought—most notably a plan to build a global financial hub from scratch
a decade ago. More recently, developers have suggested that they might scale
back other splashy projects, such as a huge new cultural quarter. But Masdar is
“Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed al-Nahyan, was
excited about the idea from the start and is taking a personal interest in its
progress, says Sultan al-Jaber, Masdar’s boss.
“Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MIST) will
admit its first students next year; the first phase of Masdar city is under
construction and Masdar has built up a big portfolio of renewable-energy
investments, including a stake in an offshore wind farm in Britain and three
solar-thermal power plants in Spain. It has also placed an order for machinery
for two solar-panel plants: one that is already under construction in Germany, and another that is to be built in Abu Dhabi itself.
“Outsiders seem keen to get involved. MIT is helping MIST
with the recruitment and training of its faculty. Credit Suisse, a Swiss bank,
has invested $100m in the initiative’s clean-tech fund—the same amount as
Masdar itself. Foster + Partners, a British architecture firm, has come up with
the master-plan for Masdar city. BP, a big oil firm, and Rio Tinto, a mining
giant, will collaborate on a carbon-capture and storage scheme. Masdar is
working with such partners not because it lacks capital, says Mr al-Jaber, but
because it wants to take advantage of foreign expertise and have its ideas
“It is Masdar city that has attracted the most scrutiny. To
reduce its emissions, especially in such an unwelcoming environment, the city
will employ all sorts of innovative and outlandish technology. All the
buildings, naturally, will be supremely energy-efficient. Water will be
recycled, to reduce the need for desalination. There will be dew-catchers,
rainwater harvesting and electronic sensors to raise the alarm in case of leaky
pipes. There will be green spaces, but with drought-resistant plants rather
than the thirsty lawns and flowers that are the norm in Abu Dhabi.
“No cars will be allowed. Instead, people will have to walk,
or take “personal rapid transit”—small pods that will zoom around the city on
tracks, akin to metro cars for individuals. Goods will be moved in the same
way. The city will be walled, to keep out the hot desert wind. The lack of cars
will allow for narrow, shaded streets that will also funnel breezes from one
side of the city to the other.
“Roofs, canopies and a large patch of land on the edge of
the city will be given over to solar panels. The city is already testing 41
types of panel from 33 different manufacturers, to see which work best in the
sunny, hot and dusty desert conditions. There will also be the odd wind
turbine, solar water-heaters and small waste-to-energy facilities (the city’s
planners do not like to call them incinerators).
“The plans leave space to adopt new technologies when they
reach maturity. A spot has been saved for algae ponds that might some day
produce biofuel, for example. For the time being they will be used for
research. The whole city is being built on a raised platform, to give easier
access to the pipes and wiring that would normally be buried underground and to
allow the transport pods to zip around unfettered. That will also make it
easier to install revolutionary new kit in future. Indeed, the source of
roughly a fifth of the city’s power supply has not yet been decided, on the
assumption that there will be better options available by the time the project
is due to be completed, in 2016.
Following the footprints
“All this, it is hoped, will allow the city to produce more
energy than it consumes and ensure that less than 2% of the waste it generates
ends up in landfills. Carbon sequestered in the city’s vegetation, along with
exports of surplus green energy, should be enough to offset the emissions
associated with construction, says Khaled Awad, who is managing the site.
Contractors say they are keeping careful track of their carbon footprints and
mutter about the difficulties of finding concrete and steel with a high
recycled component. A bewildering array of recycling bins stands prominently in
the waiting area of the site office.
A vision of the clean-tech future
“But the city’s zero-carbon claim is a bit of a fudge. For
one thing, the city will not produce enough energy to power itself at night,
due to its reliance on solar panels. Instead, it will import gas-fired power
from Abu Dhabi’s grid, at least until energy-storage technology improves. It
will make up for this in its carbon accounting by exporting excess solar power
to the grid during the day. In addition, to keep energy use down, the city will
not allow any energy-intensive industries within its boundaries, even though
spurring local manufacturing is a big part of the Masdar initiative.
“Furthermore, in itself, Masdar will do little to improve Abu Dhabi’s carbon footprint. Cheap oil, natural gas and power will continue to spur
emissions-intensive industry and conspicuous consumption. Next to Masdar city,
a Formula One racetrack and a Ferrari-themed amusement park are being built. In
fact, Mubadala, the development agency behind Masdar, owns a 5% stake in
Ferrari and sponsors its Formula One team. Just a few miles up the road, it is
building the world’s biggest aluminium smelter, complete with its own gas-fired
power plant. A nearby mall is even planning to install an indoor ski slope,
like the one in nearby Dubai.
“But Masdar’s creators, to be fair, seem to see it more as a
development project than as an environmental one. They do not pretend that Abu Dhabi is about to wean itself off oil and gas.
“But its rulers, they say, want to diversify its economy, in
preparation for the day it runs out of oil—or of customers for it.
“Since local workers and officials have already built up
some expertise in energy, it makes sense to capitalise on that.
“What is more, Abu Dhabi, with its intense, year-round
sunlight and desperate thirst for water, is ideally suited to develop
technologies such as solar power and desalination. And thanks to all that oil,
there is no shortage of capital. Masdar plans to help finance promising technologies
at all stages of development. It will set up its own incubator to nourish local
start-ups, in addition to the clean-tech fund and other strategic investments
in mature firms.Human capital, however, is another story. Mr al-Jaber says that
Masdar has studied successful technology clusters around the world in an effort
to recreate the same conditions in Abu Dhabi. He is particularly keen to mimic
the welcoming regulatory environment and efficient infrastructure of places
such as Singapore and Ireland. Foreign firms setting up shop in Masdar city
will, he points out, be able to work without local partners if they want, and
to move capital freely in and out of the country. There will be strong
protection of intellectual property and little in the way of paperwork. Most
alluringly, they will not pay any taxes.
“MIST, meanwhile, seeks to entice great minds with the
promise of minimal teaching requirements—just one course at a time—and plenty
of opportunities to pursue original research. The “open laboratory” of Masdar
city is another draw, says Marwan Khraisheh, who runs the institute. It has
succeeded in recruiting faculty or students from grand American universities
such as Cornell, MIT and Princeton.
“Masdar itself, meanwhile, has recruited such figures as
Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the United Nations’ climate panel, and John
Browne, a former boss of BP, to help select the winner of a prize for
innovation in energy. Britain’s Prince Charles is a patron. In the project’s
headquarters, renewable-energy executives hoping to sell their wares fill the
waiting room, while thrusting young staffers of many nationalities rush to and
fro. Jonathon Porritt, a celebrated British environmentalist, ambles past.
“Of course, Abu Dhabi is still not Silicon Valley. MIST is
tiny, and will not admit its first doctoral student until 2011. The city has a
miserable climate and little in the way of entertainment apart from malls and
restaurants. But it is more cosmopolitan and less conservative than many
imagine. Most foreigners arriving in Abu Dhabi for the first time find it
“better than they expect”, says Mr Khraisheh. Perhaps the same will be true of
Masdar, too.” (“Abu Dhabi’s Ambitious Eco-City Masdar Plan”, Economist Group
Intelligence Unit, London, December 4, 2008.)
It is interesting that the world’s greenest city will be
built by billions of dollars in oil money.
China Creates Eco-City in Dongtan
Another interesting diacotamy is the creation and
construction of another eco-city in the home of the largest global polluter on
earth - Communist China. It is known as Dongtan, China.
In an article entitled, “China Envisions Environmentally
Friendly Eco-City”, we learn:
“At the mouth of the Yangtze River, an hour by ferry from Shanghai, a new kind of Chinese city will rise from the mudflats and wetlands.
“In three years, the island's black-faced spoonbills and
other rare birds will share this migratory stop with 25,000 humans, the initial
inhabitants of what developers call the world's first "eco-city."
“If Dongtan Eco-City opens on schedule, it will become a
carbon-neutral urban showcase at about the same moment scientists foresee China surpassing the United States as the globe's leading emitter of greenhouse gases.
“The state-run developer behind the $1.3 billion project
envisions three modern villages on Chongming Island, which is about
three-quarters the size of Manhattan. The communities will be powered by energy
captured from sun, wind, biofuels and recycled organic material. A quarter of
the island will be untouched ecological buffer. Grasses will grow on rooftops
for natural insulation. Rainwater will be purified for use. Vehicles will
operate on clean fuels.
“Four other Chinese cities plan to build similar eco-zones.
London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who visited Dongtan last April, said he wants to
build a smaller version along the River Thames.
Development and damage
“China has managed a century of economic development in
little more than a generation — and ravaged itself in the process. Today, it is
home to 16 of the world's 20 most polluted cities, the World Bank says. It
battles the effects of deforestation and overgrazing — soil erosion and
spreading deserts — while annually losing grasslands equivalent to an area the
size of Connecticut. The State Environmental Protection Administration says China's major rivers are dangerously polluted, half its cities are choked by hazardous air,
and acid rain falls on a third of the country's land mass.
“Thanks to prevailing winds across the Pacific, the USA is firmly in China's firing line. China is the major source for deposits of mercury, a highly
toxic metal, in the western half of the USA, says Jozef Pacyna, a professor at
the Norwegian Institute for Air Research. Mercury billows into the
atmosphere from coal-burning power plants, source of 70% of China's energy, but it is only the tip of a toxic iceberg: Coal contains more than 60 trace
minerals and heavy metals, Pacyna says.
“Dongtan's backers see the city as an answer to the
staggering environmental degradation in China. "It could be a model — and
not just for China," says Nicole Deng, operations director for Shanghai
Industrial Investment Co. (SIIC), the company behind the project.
“The British design firm hired by SIIC to design Dongtan
says the city will be practical and commercially sensible — high-tech,
economically vibrant, a model for urban planners everywhere — not a green
"’The main grid of the city will be for walking and
cycling, not cars. There will be public transport within (550 yards) of each
home," says Peter Head, director of Arup, the British firm designing
Dongtan. "With no (gasoline) or diesel engines, Dongtan will be a quiet
place. So you can open windows and ventilate buildings."
“To be carbon-neutral, Dongtan must cut carbon emissions as
much as possible and offset remaining emissions by planting trees and using
environmentally friendly technologies to generate energy.
“The island is to be connected to Shanghai and the mainland
by a new 15.6-mile bridge and tunnel. Road and rail links will cut commuting
time from Dongtan to 45 minutes.
“Construction on the island is to start in September. Even
with 20% of projected dwellings set aside for affordable housing, the farmers
living here say it will be too pricey for them to stay. Dongtan "won't
help me," says Peng Shouyong, who makes about $700 a year raising pigs,
growing crops and breeding crabs on the island. "But China needs it."
Doubts about project
“In Shanghai, there is skepticism. "So many real estate
projects advertise themselves as 'green this' or 'green that,' " says Shen
Yue, a film director.
“China "is littered with expensive demonstration
projects that have not been replicated," says Elizabeth Economy, senior
fellow at the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations and author of The River Runs
Black, a book about China's environment. Even so, she says Dongtan is
"potentially an exciting advance."
“SIIC won't discuss some details, such as how much it will
charge for homes and apartments. It has scaled back aspects of the project.
Head says Dongtan is "the first step down a new road, not a final answer
“The project comes as the central government tries to halt
the country's environmental decline and find workable energy alternatives —
without slowing the 10% annual economic growth rate. Beijing has moved to shut
unlicensed power plants. Alternative fuels are to provide 16% of total
energy by 2020.
“Pan Yue, deputy director for the State Environment
Protection Administration, told state media that environmental issues have
"become a key bottleneck" for the economy. The government's China
Modernization Report, issued last month, acknowledged that the country had made
no progress in protecting the environment over the past three years.
“China's leaders "finally realize they need to use new
energy. Not because it is cheaper, but because they see the environmental
problems associated with fossil fuels and (because) they are worried about the
increased importation of oil," says Zhang Zhongxiang, an energy and
environment expert at the East-West Center in Hawaii.
“Wind farms have sprouted up in Inner Mongolia and
elsewhere. "If there is any spare land in windy areas, people are looking
to develop wind farms," says Alex Westlake, chief operating officer of
Camco International, a British firm that helps companies reduce emissions.
“Yang Ailun, a climate and energy specialist at Greenpeace China, says the country's belated environmental awakening can't prevent it from becoming
the world's top polluter — and might not be enough to keep Dontgan from being
“Global warming is raising ocean levels so fast, Yang says,
that the eco-city and Chongming Island could eventually "disappear because
of climate change." (“China Envisions Environmentally Friendly Eco-City”, USA Today, February 15, 2007.)
Eco City in La Rioja , Spain
On a slightly smaller scale in a new eco-city planned for La
Rioja, Spain. In an article entitled, “Spain’s Eco City”, we learn:
firm MVRDV, together with Spanish office GRAS, have created a
sustainable vision for an urban extension to the city Logroño, in Spain. The Eco Ciudad Montecorvo Logroño is a sustainable design concept for a
medium size city of approximately 130,000 inhabitants, in the wine region of La
Rioja in the north of Spain.
eco-neighborhood consists of approximately 3,000 houses, with schools, social
buildings and sports facilities. The green neighborhood will have a CO2
neutral footprint as all the energy needed will be created on site.
“The 138 acre
site will provide a large area for solar cells (the mountain slopes on the site
are orientated to the south so solar energy is easily generated) and
wind-turbines will cover the tops of the hills. The combination of solar and
wind energy will ensure that 100% of the energy demand is generated on site.
eco-development is also designed to minimize impact on the landscape with
buildings occupying 10% of the site. The remaining space will be an eco-park
with a mix of landscape and energy production. (
“Spain’s Eco City”, Greenmuze, December 15, 2008.)
A Carbon Neutral City in Spain
In an article entitled, “Longrono Montecorvo Eco City, La Rioja, Spain”, we learn:
In La Rioja, Spain, a northern province famous
for wine, government officials have approved a plan for an eco city. Ideally,
the Logroño Montecorvo eco city will be a carbon-neutral community in which
residents use only solar and wind energy generated on site.
The Dutch firm MVRDV (based in Rotterdam) and
the Spanish firm Gras (with offices in Madrid and Palma de Mallorca)
collaborated to win first prize in a 2008 competition for the design of this
MVRDV is known for creating dense, stacked
spaces while Gras emphasises collaboration. The two firms have also
collaborated on the BCN business park (a mix of offices and factories) in Martorell, Spain, a project still in the design phase.
The Logroño Montecorvo eco city will provide
nearly 3,000 housing units for approximately 130,000 inhabitants. In addition
to flats, buildings will contain schools, shops, restaurants, sports facilities
and areas for socialising.
Eco city site
Logroño, the capital of La Rioja, is home to
nearly 150,000 people. The Ebro River, Spain's most voluminous river, flows
through Logroño. The area is mountainous; the elevation of Logroño is 384m.
Across the river, to the north, is a sparsely
populated area with two small hills, Montecorvo and la Fonsalada. Because both
are arid and steep, some say they have little environmental value and that
building an eco city there would be an enhancement.
The Logroño Montecorvo eco city will span the
two hills, with all the buildings arranged in a serpentine line stretching more
than 1km. The buildings will have a north-south orientation, providing optimal
natural lighting and natural ventilation.
Buildings will cover about 11% of the 56ha site.
Another 73% will be a combination of green space (including wind and solar
farms) and paved areas (such as pathways). Finally, 16% will be a highway into
the city. The idea is to build compactly, minimising the impact on the
Energy and water sources
Because the slopes of the mountains face south,
it will be easy to harness and generate solar power. Photovoltaic cells will
cover the mountains and the roofs of some buildings. According to one estimate,
sourcing solar power in this way eliminates the emission of 3,500t of
greenhouse gases annually. To the north of the buildings, windmills on top of
the hills will provide the rest of the energy.
For irrigation, the city will reuse 200,00m³ of
grey water each year. The community will also have water purification systems.
Building design and function
The long, snaking line of interconnected
buildings will feature volumes of different heights, skins and window
arrangements. But each unit will have an identical or virtually identical
To take housing blocks as an example, a
ten-storey northern unit will include three storeys of underground parking, a
ground floor for the public and six storeys of apartments. To the south of
that, another building will provide one storey of underground parking and three
storeys of housing. Bridges will connect the northern and southern buildings.
The same layout applies when the buildings serve other functions.
Each unit will have a view to the south,
enabling residents to see Logroño and other parts of La Rioja. Given the
steepness of the hill, the southern buildings will not block views from the
Southern units will feature green roofs with
porous paving. Residents can socialise on these plazas.
At its highest point, a funicular will terminate
at a museum and viewing point hidden in a research and promotion centre for
renewable and energy-efficient technology. This centre will be hidden in the
top of one hill. It is unclear how far down the hill the funicular will go, or
how many funiculars will serve the city.
The concept has generated some criticism,
including questions about why an 'eco city' would encourage reliance on motor
vehicles. Other critics wonder where all the building materials will come from
and how the project will offset the carbon generated during the sourcing and
transportation of those materials. Such critics accuse the architects and
developers of 'greenwashing'. (“Longrono Montecorvo Eco City, La Rioja, Spain”, DesginBuild-Network, 2009.)
Zira Island – An Eco-City in
The concepts of eco-cities is rapidly spreading throughout
the elite world as nations seem to be competing to design, construct and
operate the world’s first totally green city. One of the most innovative ideas
for an eco-city is known as Zira Island and is located in Azerbaijan.
In an article entitled, “Azerbaijan’s Carbon Neutral Zira Island”, we learn:
“Zira Island is a 1,000,000 sq meter island In the Caspian Sea that will soon be developed into an incredible eco-community and sustainably
“Master-planned by Denmark-based BIG Architects, the
carbon-neutral eco-island is based on the seven peaks of Azerbaijan and its mountainous ecosystems. Located in the bay of the capital city Baku, Zira Island is a ferry ride away from a growing metropolis and will stand as an
example to a region so dependent on oil, that it is possible to live off the
wind and sun.
“BIG Architects‘ Zira Island will feature seven major
structures modeled after the peaks of Azerbaijan that are connected by trails,
greenbelts and the coastline. The Seven Peaks will each house a residential
development and public space, and there will also be 300 private villas near a
golf course in the central valley. Zira’s new skyline of organic buildings will
resemble a mountain range that merges with the natural topography of the
“Many carbon neutral communities are currently being
developed around the world, like Masdar, Rioja, and Dongtan. All promise a new
way of life completely independent of carbon-based fuels. Zira Island is less
of a city and more or a resort, but it still holds the same promises of
sustainability and will use the sun, wind and water to heat and power the
“Heat pumps, which plunge into the surrounding Caspian Sea, will heat and cool the buildings on the island, and Solar Hot Water Collectors
are integrated into the architecture to provide hot water. Photovoltaics on
strategically angled facades and roof tops will generate electricity, and an
off-shore wind farm will be constructed in the Caspian Sea, utilizing the
existing oil platforms and foundations for the new and more sustainable power
“Potable water will be provided via a desalination plant,
while waste and stormwater will be collected in a wastewater treatment plant
and recycled for irrigation. The solid waste will be composted and reused as
fertilizer for the island. Many trees and lots of lush vegetation will be
planted to create a tropical environment, although no information is provided
for how the island will deal with their trash or whether or not they will grow
any of their own food.” (Bridgette Steffen, “Azerbaijan’s Carbon Neutral Zira Island.” Inhabitat, February 2, 2009.)
It appears that the world’s leading architectural firms are
in a race to design and construct a series of eco-cities around the world. They
have certainly picked some interesting, yet remote locations to showcase their
Without the Wellness Revolution, the Green Building Revolution
and the Clean Tech Revolution, these prominent artists, designers and
architects would not be able to bring their creative masterpieces to life. Soon
the world will be filled with eco-cities.
Your Green Team
The Green Building Revolution presents many opportunities
and many challenges. However, one thing is sure, the Green Building Revolution
is here to stay. Therefore, it is imperative for builders and developers to
quickly make the transition to the new green economy. Otherwise, they will be
left behind and their doors will close permanently. The opportunity is
everywhere. The challenge will be to develop a green team that is really a
green team, not a brown team.
Jerry Yudelson, one of the foremost leaders in the green building
industry, spoke of the opportunity, yet issued a kind warning to developers who
fail to make the transition from a brown world to a green world. He stated:
“The green building revolution is a tidal wave approaching
the commercial building and development industry. Any commercial green building
project started today that does not explicitly incorporate green features and
certify itself according to a recognized, third party-validated standard will
be functionally obsolete the day it opens and may be economically disadvantaged
the rest of its lifetime. At this time of rapid convergence between awareness
of green building technology, green building certification, and a growing
awareness of green buildings’ benefits, a building owner’s entire portfolio may
be at risk without a clear commitment to green building.” (The Green
Building Revolution, Washington, D. C. Island Press, 2008, p. 79,)
The challenge facing builders and developers will be to
assemble a truly qualified green team. There is no better place to begin than
the United State Green Building Council and the Green Building Certification
Institute. There are over 50,000 professionals in America, over 10,000
architects and over 2000 project managers who are now LEED certified. These
organizations contain America’s Green Team and they are anxious to begin
designing, constructing and operating new green homes, new green buildings and
new green communities and new cities.
The Green Building Revolution has caused a seismic change in
building design and construction practice in America and the world. Despite the
best efforts of the proponents of the old brown world, dominated by fossil
fuels, a new green world is emerging. And it is emerging more quickly than more
people expected. Revolutions have a way of changing the status quo very
Concerning the monumental changes and challenges in building
design and construction, Jerry Yudelson stated:
“Green building is revolutionizing the practice of
architecture and engineering, forcing all design professionals to look at the
broader effects of their project work. Just as the green building revolution
has spurred designers and builders to incorporate sustainable design into many
types of buildings, it has also affected the professional practices of architects,
interior designers, engineers, and contractors. For example, by the end of
2006, more than 35,000 design and construction professionals, along with
thousands of building officials, financiers, brokers, and other industry
participants, had become recognized as LEED Accredited Professionals (LEED APs)
by taking a national exam in the LEED system. This number will undoubtedly
exceed 50,000 by the end of 2008. By mid-2007, several large architecture firms
had more than 400 LEED APs.
Challenge of Integrated Design
“By learning to use the LEED system for building evaluation,
these professionals are committing themselves to a new approach to building
design and construction. Yet it is a painful process for many, because the
skill sets for participating in an integrated design process and for actually
designing green buildings are still not widespread in the architecture and
“In my experience, engineers are particularly reluctant to
be full participants in the early stages of project design for several reasons.
Many have told me, ‘We only get paid to design the building once,’ yet
architects go through many iterations to arrive at a final design concept. For
this reason, engineers typically wait until the architect’s design is firmly established
before beginning serious design efforts. Yet integrated design requires their
involvement from the earliest stages. Building engineers also have become
narrowly focused on heating, cooling, and lighting buildings using mechanical
and electrical systems, rather than approaching projects with full
consideration of building envelope (glazing and insulation) measures, renewable
energy systems, natural ventilation, and other techniques that don’t rely on
“Professional education is also a factor. Mechanical and
electrical engineers need to know far less about architecture than architects
know about engineering design, for two reasons. First, architects have to take
courses in building engineering, and many architecture schools have been teaching
passive solar design and bioclimatic design for decades. Second, architects
have complete responsibility for project budget and construction, so they have
to integrate every aspect of building design into a final product, whereas
engineers tend to focus on their own narrow specialties.
“These are broad generalizations, of course; even as more
experienced engineers struggle to learn sustainable design approaches, there is
a new generation coming out of school that knows how to integrate considerations
of health, comfort, and productivity into engineered systems while fully
appreciating architectural concern.
“For example, proper daylighting design requires electrical
engineers and lighting designers to integrate electric lighting controls with
daylighing. This may mean that electric lighting is required, which in turn
reduces the need for air-conditioning (the province of electrical engineer),
since all electric light eventually becomes heat that must be removed from a
building. Reducing the size of an air-conditioning system reduces costs; these
savings can then be applied to exterior shading devices, skylights, rooftop
monitors, and other means to create effective daylighting. Yet most engineers
design buildings using handbooks and ‘rules of thumb,’ and are reluctant to
reduce HVAC systems sizes from established norms. In design-build projects,
mechanical contractors typically design HVAC systems, and they are even more
risk-averse; moreover, they have little incentive to downsize HVAC systems,
since the more money the project spends on HVAC, the more money they make.
“Green buildings present professional challenges. For
example, plumbing designers have traditionally taken water into a building from
a municipal utility and sent our wastewater to the public sewer. One pass
through the building has been all they were required to think about. Now, many
projects want not only to conserve water via efficient fixtures, but also to
capture and reuse rainwater, which requires a dual piping system, on-site water
treatment, and use of ‘less than potable’ water in toilets. (Some projects even
want water-free urinals in public restrooms.) So plumbing engineers have had to
add all these systems to their repertory, and have had to learn how to deal
with local plumbing officials not well versed in these new systems and
“Electrical engineers have traditionally brought power into
a building from the local electrical utility; now, they are being asked to
design on-site power systems using solar power, micro-turbines, or cogeneration
systems, on a scale and with an importance to the client that they have not
“Mary Ann Lazarus is director of sustainable design for HOK,
the largest architectural and engineering firm in the United States. She is also the co-author of a standard textbook on sustainable design.
“’From what I can tell, the architectural profession and our
standard design process is behind the times. Integrated design is not something
that naturally happens-because of the way that contracts work, because of
traditional relationships between contractors, engineering consultants, design
teams, and the archietects. We need to be willing to work at making integration
happen and adjust contract, schedule, and fees appropriately. In five years, I
think that things that we now consider sustainable design, such as LEED
certification, will be considered fundamental requirements for buildings. They
will become expected components, and if you don’t do them, you’re going to be behind
in the market and you’re not going to design buildings that have long-term
“Practiced properly, integrated design requires major
changes in the current system for designing and delivering projects, in order
to realize high-performance goals on conventional budgets.” (The Green
Building Revolution, Washington, D. C. Island Press, 2008, pp. 168-170,)
It is clear. If builders and developers are going to design,
construct and operate green homes, green buildings and green communities, you
must assemble the finest green team available. The green team is really a team.
It requires all of the green professional involved in the design, construction
and operation of new green homes, new green buildings and new green communities
work together right from the beginning.
The green team approach requires a major paradigm change in
operational practices of those involved in the residential and commercial
Fortunately, the U. S. Green Building council and the Green
Building Certification Institute already exist. Thousands of LEED certified
professionals are anxiously awaiting the opportunity to join a local green team
and begin the process of changing America one community at a time.
Only a fully functioning and fully integrated green team will
be able to design, construct and operate new green homes, new green buildings,
new green communities and new green cities. So much has been accomplished to
date. Yet so much remains to be done today and tomorrow. The challenges and
opportunities are waiting.
Bright New Green Future
The dawn of a new age is upon us. For thousands of years the
inhabitants of the earth lived in a natural world free of toxic chemicals,
drugs and poisons. However, for the last one hundred years the natural world
has been under siege by powerful global forces which are bent upon controlling
the inhabitants and natural resources of the planet. These forces now control
the world economy and the existing world order. It is a world order that is
dominated almost completely by fossil fuels - a carbon based brown world. The
fossil fueled based world has created an ecological disaster. As a result of
CO2 greenhouse gases, monumental changes are occurring on the earth. The land,
air and water have become polluted almost beyond repair.
New voices have arisen. Voices which are challenging the
giant global corporations and the fossil fuel based world order. A grass roots
revolution is underway. No, two grass root revolutions are underway. No, three
grass roots revolutions are underway. Three powerful new revolutions are
sweeping across America and the world. They are the Wellness Revolution, the
Green Building Revolution and the Clean Tech Revolution. They are literally
changing the world today. It is time to join the revolution.
In a chapter entitled, “Join the Revolution,” Jerry Yudelson
issued a call to action with these words:
“By now, you’re probably
convinced that the green building revolution is real, important, sustainable,
and happening all around you. You may be asking yourself, where do I sign up?
This chapter briefly outlines some the opportunities available to each of us to
‘join the revolution.’ No one knows how this revolution will proceed, but one
thing is certain: it won’t happen without your efforts!” ((Jerry Yudelson, The
Green Building Revolution. Washington, D. C.: Island Press, 2008, p.
In a section entitled, “What
You Can Do at Work,” Jerry Yudelson admonished future green building advocates
to become involved in making the world a greener place. He stated:
“… As Alexander de Tocqueville observed in the 1830s, a
defining characteristic of Americans is that they don’t wait for someone in
authority to tell them what to do, they just organize a group and do it. If
your company doesn’t use hybrids or support employees’ public transit use,
start lobbying leaders to get on board. If your firm is moving to new quarters,
insist that they choose a LEED-NC registered (and certified) building and
pursue a LEED-CI rating for the tenant improvements….
“If you work for a large corporation, you might be surprised
at how many incentives will be offered in the coming years for you to ‘go
green.’ For example, early in 2007, Bank of America offered a $3,000 cash
rebate to any of its 185,000 employees who bought a hybrid car….
“If you work at a government agency or school district, see
what you can do to affect its design, construction, remodeling, and purchasing
policies. There’s nothing an elected official, planning commission member, or
senior civil servant like more right now than a way to look good by instituting
a sustainability policy. With the mayors of most of America’s large cities
pledged to taking action to slow climate change, they’re going to be looking to
their staffs to come up with practical solutions to meet this commitment….
“The United States comprises about 3,000 counties and more
than 30,000 incorporated cities. Counting special districts, it contains nearly
75,000 political subdivisions, including about 14,000 school districts. There
are plenty of opportunities to make your voice heard…
“What can you do to encourage your city or county government
to create a focus on green buildings?
“… You may even want to start a company to manufacture,
distribute, sell or install a green building product, service, or technology….
“The green building revolution
has just begun, but it’s quickly becoming mainstream. It is one of the great
social and political revolutions of our time. We can all play a part, and each
one of us should….” ((Jerry Yudelson, The Green Building Revolution.
Washington, D. C.: Island Press, 2008, pp. 181-186.)
It is imperative that each of us lift up the Green Torch and
showcase the benefits of building new green homes, new green buildings, new
green communities and new green cities. The future will be bright indeed –
– Warning - Owner's Beware
Over the last 300 years an interesting phenomenon has
occurred in the area of international business and finance. The world has
witnessed the gradual, but continual concentration of wealth and power into
fewer and fewer hands. As a result of thousands of mergers and acquisitions
throughout the world, less than five hundred private global corporations now
control the world economy. The end result of this quiet process has been that a
relatively small group of elites in nine advanced counties of the world have
gained a tremendous stranglehold over the inhabitants of the earth.
Carroll Quigley, a famous professor at Georgetown University, described the goals, influence and power of these forces in a book published in
1966 entitled, Tragedy and Hope:
A History of the World in Our Time.
"... [T]he powers of financial capitalism had
another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of
financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of
each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be
controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in
concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and
conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International
Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the
world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central
bank, in the hands of men like Montagu Norman of the Bank of England, Benjamin
Strong of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, Charles Rist of the Bank of
France, and Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank, sought to dominate its
government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign
exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to
influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the
"In each country the power of the central
bank rested largely on its control of credit and money supply. In the world as
a whole the power of the central bankers rested very largely on their control
of loans and of gold flows.... [T]hese central bankers were able to mobilize
resources to assist each other through the B. I. S., where payments between
central banks could be made by bookkeeping adjustments between the accounts
which the central banks of the world would keep there. The B. I. S. as a
private institution was owned by the seven chief central banks and was operated
by the heads of these, who together formed its governing board. Each of these
kept a substantial deposit at the B. I. S., and periodically settled payments
among themselves (and thus between the major countries of the world) by bookkeeping
in order to avoid shipments of gold. They made agreements on all the major
financial problems of the world, as well as on many of the economic and
political problems, especially in reference to loans, payments, and the
economic future of the chief areas of the globe.
"The B. I. S. is generally regarded as
the apex of the structure of financial capitalism whose remote origins go back
to the creation of the Bank of England in 1694 and the Bank of France in 1803.
"... It must not be felt that these heads
of the world's chief central banks were themselves substantive powers in world
finance. They were not. Rather, they were the technicians and agents of the
dominant investment bankers of their own countries, who had raised them up and
were perfectly capable of throwing them down.
"The substantive financial powers of the
world were in the hands of these investment bankers (also called
'international' or 'merchant' barkers) who remained largely behind the scenes
in their own unincorporated private banks. These [bankers] formed a system of
international cooperation and national dominance which was more private, more
powerful, and more secret than that of their agents in the central banks. This
dominance of investment bankers was based on their control over the flows of
credit and investment funds in their own countries and throughout the world.
They could dominate the financial and industrial systems of their countries by
their influence over the flow of current funds through bank loans, the discount
rate, and the rediscounting of commercial debts; they could dominate
governments by their control over current government loans and the play of the
"Almost all of this power was exercised
by the personal influence and prestige of men who had demonstrated their
ability in the past to bring off successful financial coupes, to keep their
word, to remain cool in a crisis, and to share their winning opportunities with
their associates. In this system the Rothschilds had been preeminent during
much of the nineteenth century, but, at the end of that century, they were
being replaced by J. P. Morgan whose central office in New York, although it
was always operated as if it were in London (where it has, indeed, originated as
George Peabody and Company in 1838). Old J. P. Morgan died in 1913, but was
succeeded by his son of the same name (who had been trained in the London branch until 1901), while the chief decisions in the firm were increasingly made by
Thomas W. Lamont after 1924." (Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A
History of the World in Our Time, New York: The Macmillan Company, 1966,
pp. 324, 326-327.)
Carroll Quigley gives a fascinating account of the history
of international business and finance over the last several centuries. The
volume is 1311 pages in length. However, if you take the time to carefully
study this monumental work, you will understand how the world of finance
capitalism really works throughout the world. It is an informative and
insightful story of monopolies, cartels, empires, and natural resource wars.
Multinational Oil and Chemical Cartels Circle the Earth
The powers of financial capitalism, outlined by Carroll
Quigley, still exist today and they control the large multinational oil and
and the subsidiary companies around the world that are closely tied to the oil
business. These same forces constructed the present world order which is based
almost entirely upon fossil fuels. They have invested hundreds of trillions of dollars
in the current world economy. They reap trillions of dollars in
profits from thousands of companies who are tied directly and indirectly to a
carbon-based world. They will never embrace renewable energy sources because it
would put them out of a very lucrative business.
It is important for the proponents of a new green economy
and a new green world order not to underestimate the challenges they face today.
The Wellness Revolution, the Green Building Revolution and the Clean Tech Revolution are grassroots revolutions.
These revolutions are a direct challenge to the giant multinational oil, gas and
chemical companies. A global battle is raging today around the world between the
brown world and the green world.
Based Corporations Seek to Neutralize Green Movement
The carbon based corporations have fought the new green
movement since its inception. They have quietly devised a number of strategies
to neutralize the green movement.
Contributions and Financial Contributions
The large multinational oil and chemical corporations have changed
strategies over the years as the situation demanded. However, their goals have
remained the same. If they could not eliminate their opponents, they would
control them through the use of financial contributions, the same tool they
have used successfully for the last 75 years with government officials and
politicians around the world. After all, financial contributions are merely a
form of bribery. And they work. All you have to do is look at the annual report
of various organizations and you can learn quickly who controls that
organization and its leaders.
And all you have to do is look at the voting record of key
committee chairmen and members of congress to see that money speaks loudly in
Washington, D. C. Over 90,000 lobbyists besiege the halls of congress and the
White House every day. They are quite effective.
Rules and Regulations Eliminate Competitors
Over the years the lobbyists for the large multinational oil
and chemical companies have drafted and promoted legislation which created new environmental
rules and regulations at the state, federal and international levels of
government. These rules and regulations place enormous financial and legal
burdens upon smaller companies which very cleverly put their competitors out of
It is clear that the greatest tools these multinational oil
and chemical companies have in their arsenal is their tremendous financial resources
(hundreds of millions of dollars for lobbyists, public relations and
advertising campaigns) and the political power which they have garnered over
the last century in almost every nation on earth. They have the ability to pull
a lot of strings in high places in ever capital on earth.
of Clean Tech Companies and Wellness Companies
to Control Products and Services
One of the latest strategies the large multinational oil
and chemical companies are employing today is to quietly purchase new clean tech companies,
new green building companies and new wellness companies and control their
products and services. This is a very effective strategy and it is very
difficult to counter. That is why this last chapter had been written. It is a
petition to the owners and shareholders of new clean tech companies, new green
building companies and new wellness companies not to sell your companies to
those who secretly may just want to control them in order to mitigate their
effectiveness and downgrade their products and services.
This process is already happening with herb companies whose
formulas are being changed and dosages reduced after being bought by front
companies and shell corporations.
There are a variety of ways to capture your opponent. Most
new companies are always seeking start-up funds, venture capital and financial
resources to expand new product lines and services. It is very easy to conceal
the true ownership a company today. The use of shell companies and dummy
corporations has turned into a science today.
It is crucial for new clean tech companies, new green
building companies and new wellness companies to be very careful as they obtain
funds to develop or expand their companies. It will be very difficult to
maintain the institutional integrity of these companies in light of their very
real need for capital. This is where the danger lies. These companies must
maintain their independence of the large multinational oil and chemical companies or the
wellness revolution and the clean tech revolution will be neutralized and become merely public relations
and advertising campaign tools for the fossil fuel and chemical industry while they
maintain the current world order and carbon based global economy.
Military Forces and War to Secure Oil
and Natural Gas Reserves and Protect
The recent invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan
by high level government officials at the behest of the large multinational oil
companies who are determined to control the oil and natural gas resources of
the Middle East and the Caspian Sea. Fourteen permanent U. S. military bases have been constructed in these areas to secure the oil and natural
reserves and protect the pipelines that have been built to transport the fossil
fuels to cargo ships. The war it is all about oil, despite what paid lobbyists, political and media pundits
and government officials say about regime change and so-called threats
to national security. It is a natural resource war and similar wars are being
fought today through the use of covert operations in various countries around the world where large oil and
natural gas reserve lie below the surface.
It is important to maintain the integrity of the Wellness Revolution,
the Green Building Revolution and the Clean Tech Revolution. This will not be
an easy task. However, it is not an impossible one due to the fact
that these revolutions originated at the grassroots level and are being led by
sincere believers and idealists. Equally important is the fact that the
principles of these revolutions are being embraced by tens of millions of people today
throughout America and the world. The future of America and the world is green