The Truth about Green Building

Green building is MORE PROFITABLE than Wall Street when it comes to personal private investments. It is also the best-suited environment for ART, ANTIQUE and RARE BOOK collections.

So, conceptually it puzzles some of us architects that people in general will pay a lot of attention to the quality of cars, computers, and portable media products they purchase, but do not ask the same from their primary residences.

Or their office spaces.

At best, museums, hospitals, office buildings, and residences are 90% less than equal to a 1920’s Model T FORD. The best conventional buildings have barely reached the standard of a 1950’s gas guzzler.

It costs about 7% more to create a 90% more efficient and comfortable building. If allowed to do PRE-DESIGN properly, for larger buildings, savings for PRE-DESIGN reach 20%. So cost is not the issue. What is?

Codes, which are considered a minimum requirement, are generally used as the maximum. Nobody thinks BEYOND them. Industries that supply equipment and energy are dead fast against TRUE green buildings. They prefer the status quo due to stock market evaluations, while we, at the same time, know that our children will have not have any natural resources left. And property developers think only about leasing during the opening of the project, nothing beyond. We have no tax or other meaningful way of giving them incentives to change.

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, has shown that if one wants to employ bright people, give then room to think. We can all benefit from this. So why the barricades in building and industrial sectors?

We all want to be warm or cool, depending on the season, without having to rely on mechanical, energy-hungry equipment. Also, green building provides a stable environment that is equally good for people as well as art, antiques, plants, and animals.

With today’s energy prices, a person investing in green building could save the same amount of his or her mortgage in approximately 20 years. Try that in the stock market!

In the next few posts, I will address the financials and various other aspects of green building in greater detail.


Tapani Talo, AIA

Architecture is about LIGHT, PROPORTIONS, ECONOMY (achieved with Experience, best consultant teams and technology at Pre-Design stage).