MCAA President David Kruse believes turning green is “right
for the environment.”
When David Kruse was voted in as the 2007 president of the
Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), the president of L.J.
Kruse Co. of Berkeley, Calif., vowed that he would be pushing association
members towards green and sustainable building construction.
David Kruse is a man of his word. MCAA is putting together
its first-ever green conference, to be held Sept. 24-26 at the Pfister Hotel in
Milwaukee, Wis. The conference, “Catching the Next Wave: Seizing the Green
Opportunities that Lie Ahead,” is being put together to help members “continue
their evolution into cutting-edge green mechanical, plumbing, and service
“It’s a bold effort,” said Kruse, “but I believe we need to
go beyond half measures to secure our future.”
The preliminary program includes a session with Tom Hicks of
the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), who will discuss future trends in
green and sustainability. Hicks is vice president for Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design (LEED) at the USGBC. Another scheduled speaker is Jerry
Yudelson of Yudelson Associates. Yudelson has been involved in marketing
renewable energy systems, environmental remediation products and services, and
green building design and consulting services for 25 years. His scheduled topic
is: “Branding and Positioning Your Green Building Offering.”
David Allen, principal and executive vice president of
business development and branding for McKinstry Co., Seattle, is scheduled to
identify potential emerging markets in clean technology, which includes energy
efficiency, renewables, alternative energy, recycling, and remediation. Matt
Gregg, P.E., a lead professional engineer at McKinstry, is scheduled to explore
the critical elements required to position a contracting company to win in the
“Simply put, green and sustainable buildings means work for
our industry,” said MCAA’s president.
Also on the agenda is Tim Wentz of the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln, who will review the basics regarding green and
sustainability. He will also put on a workshop covering the LEED-New
Construction rating system.
The three-day program would not be complete without a green
product showcase, where manufacturers will display some of their latest and
innovative green products.
MUST GO GREEN
In Kruse’s estimation, turning to green is right for the environment.
“Two key environmental trends will change the way we do business,” he said. “To
address climate change, buildings must become more energy-efficient, and this
industry is uniquely suited to help society achieve that goal. The science on
global climate change, while still in its infancy, is sufficiently clear that
it would be irresponsible not to take action to reduce the carbon footprint and
energy associated with economic activity and our daily lives.”
The second trend, he noted, is that water is becoming
increasingly scarce. “As a Californian, I am all too aware that water scarcity
will be a driving force in our plumbing and mechanical businesses,” said Kruse.
“The Colorado River, the largest in the Southwestern United States, now rarely
makes it to the sea - diversions to provide water now routinely drain it dry.
“It has been predicted the water distribution system for the
major Western drainages will fail within 30 years. Buildings use 12 percent of
all potable water according to the U.S. Geological Service. Our industry will
be at the absolute forefront of water reclamation, recycling, and
Another reason Kruse is pushing green is because “the
economics makes sense.” He noted that public and private owners are turning
from a short-sighted view of upfront construction costs to an analysis of the
life cycle costs of owning a building.
“The most comprehensive study to date on sustainable and
green building practices, conducted by California’s Sustainable Building Task
Force, found that an additional upfront investment of about 2 percent of
construction costs typically yielded life cycle savings of over 10 times the
initial investment. Put another way, an upfront investment of up to $100,000 to
incorporate green building features into a $5 million project would result in
savings of at least $1 million over the life of the building, assumed
conservatively to be 20 years.”
He added, “More importantly from a contractor’s perspective,
I believe green building will mean more work for plumbing and mechanical
contractors. Our methods will continue to evolve towards more complex and
technologically sophisticated systems and can be a profitable and growing part
of your business.”
Another reason Kruse is pushing the association to go green
is because he believes green buildings may be mandated in the not-so-distant
“In some areas, owners may not have a choice, but are being
required to build green,” he said. “The General Services Administration, cities
signing on to the Mayors 2030 Challenge, and a growing list of other entities
are mandating green buildings.”
Kruse said McGraw-Hill projects that by 2010, between 5-10
percent of nonresidential construction starts will be designed using green
“For many years, the construction industry has been at odds
with the environmental movement,” he said. “Now we can be equal partners in the
new dynamics of green building.”
For conference and registration information, go to www.mcaa.org/education.