Obama’s Commitment to Better Buildings
During President Obama’s State of the Union earlier this month, he said we have reached this generation’s “Sputnik moment” with an opportunity to invest in green technology. Honing in on our nation’s ability to reinvent itself, he said it’s time to focus on innovation. And we agree.
Last year, commercial buildings consumed about 20 percent of all energy in our economy. Increasing efficiency is going to be one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to reinvent our country.
Two of the biggest goals from Obama’s “Better Buildings Initiative” are to achieve a 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency by 2020 and to reduce companies’ and business owners’ energy bills by $40 billion per year.
While some economic and environmental perks of green buildings are obvious, we’re also excited about other benefits green buildings provide, such as:
– In green schools, a reduction of absences and an increase on test scores because students are healthier.
– Better health and productivity in employees. Green buildings report drops in absenteeism and estimate $20 to $160 billion in productivity gains.
The net – without toxic chemicals permeating the surfaces where we spend much of our day (paint, carpets, cleaning supplies), and with better lighting (use of natural daylighting) and a comfortable climate (shading to prevent sun heat gain and then the increase in air conditioner use that has everyone wearing parkas in the office in the middle of summer) people feel better. This is true at home too, which is why our focus is on helping people live better in homes designed to be comfortable, toxin-free, and resource friendly (read: wallet friendly too).
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