Green Building And Carbon Policy--The 800 lb. Gorilla Has Left The Building

In my Greenbuild post, I blogged:

Green building policy was well covered, but carbon policy got short shrift. The one session dealing with carbon policy at the state and federal level was cancelled, with no explanation.

Carbon policy, in my opinion, is the 800 lb. gorilla in any discussion about environmental law, especially green building. According to the USGBC, in the United States alone, buildings account for: • 72% of electricity consumption, • 39% of energy use, • 38% of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions In other words, a whole lot of carbon. If carbon is valued, either through cap-and-trade or carbon tax, the whole landscape shifts. First, electricity generated through fossil fuel fired plants will get much more expensive, making energy efficiency and conservation techniques more cost effective. Second, buildings may have to pay for their emissions of CO2, making managing the emissions a key component in building construction and management. Green buildings, using less energy and emitting fewer carbon emissions will become more desireable as assets. Finally, green building which generate renewable energy thorugh photovoltaics, for example, may be more economically viable because they generate carbon offsets. Despite these obvious linkages, no speaker that I heard at Greenbuild really made the connection between carbon policy and green building. Too bad.

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