I will be taking a break from blogging over the next two weeks for a vacation. But I promise you that I will be thinking about green building - much to the chagrin of my wife. I will be thinking about green building because I am more excited than ever by the opportunities that are out there. Two recent encounters opened my eyes to these opportunities.
I have been in the Midwest this week meeting with contractors and attorneys about green building and construction issues. As I sat down with one contractor, he told me about a school he was building that would hopefully be the city's first LEED school. The first! You can't throw a rock in Washington, D.C. without hitting a LEED building. He also told me about the local United States Green Building (USGBC) chapter that had recently launched in his city. As I looked out the window at the downtown, I imagined all of the green buildings that would be developed in the coming years. And I grew very excited.
Later in the week, I visited my friend Kim, her husband and her six-month old baby. We started talking about our old high school friends and their crazy Facebook status updates, which inevitably led to my green building blog. "What exactly is a green building?" she asked. Its not a question I get very often in Washington, D.C. I pointed to the windows in her home. Imagine that you seal those windows to prevent drafts. I pointed to the roof. Imagine if you insulated your attic and walls to reduce the amount of heating and cooling you needed. That is green building. I then explained that the LEED rating system was being used to identify green buildings, particularly in the commercial sector.
"Oh yea, I have heard of that, that is for people that want to brag!" her husband exclaimed.
As I stifled laughter, I also thought about the fact that green building simply is not an accepted practice in the Midwest - yet. LEED certification is "bragging." Cities are just now getting their first LEED projects and launching USGBC chapters. Its important to realize the state of green building, and the perceptions about it, outside of our bubbles, like mine in Washington, D.C.
That is what I will be thinking about the next two weeks. How about you?
Photo credit: tlindenbaum