If you read our premier issue earlier this year, or are at all up-to-date on news and trends within the construction industry (and how could you not be, if you’re reading industry magazines such as ours?), then you know green building is big business. In fact, it is valued at $12 billion in the United States alone – and it is only going to grow. Clearly, the industry is whole-heartedly embracing green building at every stage of the design and construction process, and projects begin daily in every area of the built environment – from public construction to institutional, commercial and residential jobs.
Of course, the various local and national code agencies, as well as manufacturers and the U.S. Green Building Council, are leading the way in guideline development, and sustainable and environmentally friendly product design. Architects and engineers do their parts too, creating remarkable green buildings and proving that environmentally responsible design doesn’t equate to ugly, budget-blowing structures.
As with every other aspect of business and life, there’s a time and place for green construction. I think there are occasions when green construction and/or sustainable design ideas simply aren’t needed or relevant. There are instances – and I see these announcements and press releases on a regular basis – when it is evident that someone or some company has jumped on the green bandwagon, hoping for some extra cash flow while the trend is at its zenith. I’m sure many of you have had such ideas or products pitched to your firms.
Without naming names, one recent example I read touted the benefits of bringing green building techniques to a certain war-torn country. From my perspective, this might just be the last thing on the minds of anyone trying to rebuild his home during a civil war. Larger concerns for these folks surely include potable water and other necessary utilities, and simply finding any shelter at all. To be sure, sustainable design is an admirable long-term goal for developing nations, but marketing green products to a nation fighting a war for its very survival might not be the best idea right now. Certainly, this product of which I speak could be useful to the design and construction community in this country, but I question its immediate efficacy when marketed to this other particular nation.
Whether you agree or disagree, I would like to know what you think. Perhaps we can share these ideas in a future issue of this magazine, creating an industry-wide dialogue. As I suggested on this page in the January/February issue, I value your opinions and truly want to hear your views. After all, to be useful to (and successful in) any industry, a magazine requires audience participation. Further, let me know of other areas of masonry design and construction you would like to see us cover, or contact me if you want to discuss, investigate or even vent about a particular matter.