Performance Is What Proves a Building Is Green

[Editor’s note: This letter is in response to Mike Murphy’s editorial “POINT: Green is Losing its Luster,” July 25.]

Mike Murphy has put into words what I’ve been thinking for quite some time. The green movement is an absolute necessity, but I believe what he’s referring to is the “feel good” green movement. Without ongoing verification on the backside of these projects, how will we know that the intended results are actually being achieved? I would go a step further than Murphy did by asking for utility invoices for the first 10 years. After the silver shovels are put away and a dusty plaque hangs in the lobby, what good is a certified building if it is not maintained?

I believe green will keep moving forward driven by government regulation, building codes, rising fossil fuel costs, and other entities that will profit from the movement. Just like any other emerging technology, there is the initial gold rush. There are so many green “organizations” now that I can’t keep up with them. I see a new .org every time I open an industry trade magazine or e-mail. It seems that in some cases they are competing with one another, and in other cases are loosely tied to the government and business interests for the purpose of making lots of green from the green movement.

In conclusion, we can’t go backwards, but let’s not say we’re green just to make ourselves feel good or even self-righteous. I’m not interested in whether a building has a bike rack or how close the bus stop is. The proof is in performance and performance can’t be measured by certification.

Dave Charles
John J. Cahill Inc.
Evanston, Ill.

Publication date: 08/29/2011