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COUNTERPOINT: Green Is Continuing to Grow and Improve

July 25, 2011
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Kyle Gargaro

Sounds like Old Man Murphy is swimming in negativity again. Did you write that editorial before or after screaming at the neighborhood kids to get off your lawn?

Because you were born close to biblical times, you will perhaps be familiar with the phrase “Rome was not built in a day.” Just because the green movement isn’t living up to the sky-high expectations that were unrealistically predicted a few years ago, we should not throw the baby out with the bath water.

Sure, a few contractors sprinkled around the country may not have found the green movement to be as profitable as they originally had hoped and a building or two did not live up to expectations. Did you think a new sector of the industry would immediately be completely profitable without some growing pains? According to Old Man Murphy, this is the time for our country and industry to fold up shop and say it is not for us.

To quote Lee Corso, “not so fast, my friend.” Yes, there is a price for being an early adopter, but there is also a reward. There will be the predictable bumps in the road, but the upshot is when your competition begins the green process, you will have learned from your mistakes and be cruising miles down the road. A new form of profitability does not just come to you; you have to go to it. You learn from your mistakes and improve. Contractors really have no other choice because green is here to stay.

Don’t just take my word for it. David Myers, president, Building Efficiency, Johnson Controls, presented an overview of the results of the latest Global Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) survey at the recently held North American Energy Efficiency Forum. Over the five years of the EEI, said Myers, more and more respondents are saying that “energy efficiency is a key area of our decision criteria.”

“Green building has reached a tipping point,” Myers said. Last year, 19 percent of respondents had at least one green-certified building. This year, 37 percent have a building that is green-certified. In addition, another 32 percent have green elements incorporated into their buildings.

In summary, said Myers, the EEI survey shows there is “broad movement in markets around the world toward greater energy efficiency”; there are “clearly obstacles in the path” and “pitfalls that must be overcome”; and there are common success factors to facilitate improvements.

Don’t forget, Old Man Murphy, those family members that got in the food line early got the best pieces of chicken while you are trying to decide between the burnt hot dog and the macaroni salad whipped up by crazy Aunt Ethel. For your sake, I hope those are green peppers. I don’t even know what that last comment means, but I am getting caught up in being able to take shots at my boss.

JUST THE FACTS, MA'AM

You warned people that I will cite the hundreds of buildings that have USGBC plaques hanging on their walls. Some people might call those facts … and yes, I will. It is a fact that nearly 40,000 projects are currently participating in the commercial and institutional LEED rating systems and that accounts for more than 8 billion square feet of construction space. It is also a fact that more than 11,000 homes have been certified under the LEED for Homes rating system, with more than 52,000 additional homes registered. That is some big-time momentum building for the green industry. Once again, I say now is the time to get onboard.

And mock all you want, but there is a greater good in going green, and we as an industry need to stay the course. I am not talking about feeling good about yourself or impressing Alec Baldwin, but rather branding your company as both an innovative and good community contributor.

So go ahead and sit back reminiscing about the good old days when you did not need a telephone in your pocket, or worry about efficiency. The forward-thinking contractors will continue to lead the way and in time will enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Publication date: 07/25/2011
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