Making it Easier to be Green
Green design includes energy conservation, but that's not what it's all about. It's about having good air quality both indoors and outdoors, making the environments in which we work, live, study and play healthier and more comfortable and conserving all of our natural resources.
This site will provide a balanced, holistic view that includes advice about saving energy, water and other natural resources, improving indoor air quality, using environmentally responsible design and construction techniques and minimizing waste.

I will be focusing on interiors for three reasons:

  • We spend about 90% of our time indoors.
  • Buildings in the United States annually consume about 30% of our total energy and 75% of our electricity.
  • As a New York State Certified Interior Designer and a LEED Accredited Professional, I want to share my knowledge and expertise with you.
Sustainable design and construction can be done in many different styles and using a wide variety of materials. There are examples of healthy, sustainable, comfortable and inviting interiors for commercial, not-for-profit and residential clients on the web site for Interior Design Solutions.
You can use the labels on the sidebar to locate entries that you want to read. For instance, most people might want to look at the entries for "Green Homes," but "Green Finance" would be of more interest to professionals involved in the design, construction, management, financing and marketing of buildings.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Who Dat Dat Saving My Green Intentions?

Going green definitely has its challenges, and it can be easy to get discouraged when others are less helpful than we'd hoped. But waiting for a hero to come along on a white charger to save the day is not a viable alternative.

It seems that a lot of people thought that President Obama could be that sort of hero, and are angry because he is not more like Dudley Doright. President Obama, in turn, seems confused that so many people are acting like Nell, who would just lie on the railroad tracks waiting for someone to save her.

Climate change and the threat that dependence on foreign oil represents to our economy and our national security are such large problems that they can make us all feel helpless, but if we each address areas of energy use that are within our control at least we'll be contributing to the solution instead of the problem.
  • Tenants can turn off lights and equipment when they are not needed. It goes without saying that lights and equipment should not be left on overnight or in unoccupied rooms. But we often turn on artificial lighting out of habit, rather than necessity, during the day for work spaces close enough to windows or skylights to perform most tasks with only natural light. The number of work areas that can benefit from daylight can be greatly increased with space planning and furniture placement.
  • Tenants can elect to purchase energy efficient lighting and equipment whenever a replacement is needed. New York City now requires that efficient lighting and controls be installed when lighting is replaced as part of a renovation project that is filed with the Department of Buildings, but tenants can take this a step further and make incremental improvements to lighting efficiency whenever the opportunity presents itself.
  • Building owners can install efficient equipment, lighting and lighting controls in common spaces and ensure that building systems are working as they should. The payback period for professional retrocommissioning and implementing many of the resulting recommendations can be less than a year.
  • While owners might wish to defer larger capital investments, they can ensure that when they do invest in major systems their choices are informed by the need for energy efficiency.
  • Building owners and tenants can work together for their common benefit. Green leases can provide for equitable distribution of costs based on energy usage and reimbursement for capital improvements that result in energy savings.
  • State, local and federal entities can facilitate funding for sustainable initiatives, especially for those who do not have access to attorneys and financial advisers. But funding should be viewed as a benefit of, not a prerequisite for, sustainable initiatives.
  • Banks can make energy efficiency an important component of the valuation of buildings, and be willing to loan money for building improvements that will increase asset value.
It appears that to find out "Who Dat dat saving my green intentions?" we should all be looking in the mirror. There are steps that we can each take to make things better, whether or not we get the cooperation and support that we would like from others. And if we're looking for a hero to help us to address these issues, Rocky the Squirrel might be better than Dudley Doright. Rocky, after all, is a creative problem solver who is always willing to tackle big challenges.

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