The recently published McKinsey report has outlined a significant dollar value attached to green building and energy efficiency; 1.2 trillion dollars. In addition, the investment in incorporating green building practices has also created tremendous job-creation possibilities. This is clearly good news in such economically uncertain times. Yet, the process isn’t a simple one.
The goal of creating more while using less is not only a logical one, but also one that pays better. And yet, the McKinsey report also mentions the reasons why this goal has yet to be reached. The barriers which have stopped the goal of greater energy efficiency and the lessening of environmental impact have been:
- A requirement for a significant upfront investment
- Fragmentation, due to various agencies and sources of such inefficiencies being so diverse and unaffiliated
- Difficulties in measuring the width and breadth of lost energy
Putting a lot of capital down at the beginning of a process that is meant to pay out over a long period of time has been very risky, sometimes simply impractical . Accountability and responsibility in terms of who ‘owns’ the whole issue of inefficiencies is also a big question with no black and white answer. And in terms of quantifying energy lost with how it impacts a return has been historically difficult to track as well.
This report seems to take these barriers into account not in a touchy-feelie sort of way, but rather as economic realities. Yet the goal in overcoming them seems also to be something of an economic reality as well. In reading this article from GreenerBuildings.com, it’s clear that the payoff is as significant as the barriers are. Here’s a quote from the article as made by USGBC President, CEO and Founding Chairman Rick Fedrizzi :
“Green building can stimulate the economy at a level one and a half times larger than the federal stimulus bill. In terms of climate change, a commitment to energy efficiency would be the equivalent to taking the entire U.S. fleet of passenger cars and light trucks — more than 200 million vehicles — off the road.”
Once again, the point can be made is that what is required of government agencies, companies, and consumers is a change in practice, but also a change in thinking when it comes to planning, and collaboration with outside parties. And perhaps the types of innovation that has already been demonstrated among designers in the green building field, must also be translated into the ways that costs are measured as well.