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CEC Reports Green Building Design Cuts CO2

March 17, 2008

Source: Commission for Environmental Cooperation

A new study by RPN member, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), says green design, construction, renovation and operation of buildings represents the quickest, most effective, and cheapest way to cut North American greenhouse gas emissions.

“Improving our built environment is probably the single greatest opportunity to protect and enhance the natural environment. This report is a blueprint for dramatic environmental progress throughout North America—mostly using the tools and technology we have on hand today,” says CEC Executive Director Adrián Vázquez. “Green building represents some of the ripest ‘low-hanging fruit’ for achieving significant reductions in climate change emissions.”

North America’s buildings cause the annual release of more than 2,200 megatons of CO2 into the atmosphere, about 35 percent of the continent’s total. The report says rapid market uptake of currently available and emerging advanced energy-saving technologies could result in over 1,700 fewer megatons of CO2 emissions in 2030, compared to projected emissions that year following a business-as-usual approach. A cut of that size would nearly equal the CO2 emitted by the entire US transportation sector in 2000.

It is common now for more advanced green buildings to routinely reduce energy usage by 30, 40, or even 50 percent over conventional buildings, with the most efficient buildings now performing more than 70 percent better than conventional properties, according to the report.

Green building today accounts for a only small fraction of new home and commercial building construction—just two percent of the new non-residential building market, less than half of one percent of the residential market in the United States and Canada, and less than that in Mexico.

The report, Green Building in North America: Opportunities and Challenges, is the result of a two-year study by the CEC Secretariat. It was prepared with advice from an international advisory group of prominent developers and architects, sustainability and energy experts, real estate appraisers and brokers, together with local and national government representatives.

More on the report from the CEC website

 

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