Editor's Letter

02/01/2011 | By Chris Olson

Green Building Is in the Batter

Chris Olson

Chris Olson, Chief Content Director

It is commonplace to profess that sustainability should never be treated as an extra, an add-on, a package of options like those listed on the window sticker of a new car. Sustainability is supposed to be baked into the batter, not swirled around like icing.

In practice, things are a little more crumbly. Green is still seen by many (including numerous CFOs) as a choice, an addition that often calls for a business case to be made. Despite much experience showing that the hard, upfront costs for green solutions need not be greater than "conventional" choices – not to mention the lifecycle costs – an element of financial persuasion is inevitable. If nothing else, discussing sustainable options may be viewed as making a withdrawal from that costly asset known as staff time.

Another bedeviling financial detail involves proof that a sustainability scenario sketched on paper will play out in practice. However, analyzing the cost/benefit and environmental impact of products and designs over their lifecycle can sprain both spreadsheet and mind.

Such real-world financial issues are baked into the batter of the Smart Sustainability Expo, a virtual event that will be hosted by BUILDINGS on March 8. The online expo’s resources include video presentations, an online exhibit floor with booths staffed live by sustainability experts, live Q&As and networking lounges, downloadable case studies and whitepapers, and a slate of webinars. The webinars begin with a session on how BIM tools can be used to design for sustainable and cost-effective maintenance. This webinar will be followed by sessions on water-conserving irrigation, outdoor lighting, and green cleaning. A session entitled "How Green Can Green Be? And How Do You Know?" will discuss the current state of lifecycle assessment, environmental product descriptions, and lifetime cost estimating.

To register for the expo, go to www.BUILDINGS.com and click on the BUILDINGSVIP and Webinars tab. I hope to see you in our virtual space on March 8.

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