By Dan Goodwin
President / Skyscraper Defense, Inc.
Retrofitting our nation’s skyscrapers and incorporating ‘Green Technology’ into future designs is a matter of ‘National Security’. Buildings not only produce more carbon emissions than any other source, including automobiles, they are also a top consumer of energy, much of which is refined from Middle Eastern oil. In the United States alone, a reduction of only 1% of the energy consumed by our buildings would lower oil dependency by 67 million barrels per year, resulting in less CO2 pouring into the atmosphere while taking a major step toward weaning ourselves from foreign oil.
WHAT IS GREEN BUILDING?
‘Green Building’ is a way of thinking, not just an empty sound bite. It’s living in real harmony with the environment and your community. It’s about being part of solution, not the problem. One of the biggest reasons for going ‘Green’ is creating a…
According to UPI.com, “More people die of cancer every year around the world than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Cancer deaths are six times the frequency of traffic fatalities and 42 times the frequency of death from wounds suffered in war. Paradoxically, of all the chronic diseases, cancer is the probably the most preventable.” Nonetheless, the National Cancer Institute reports, “In the United States, one out of every two men and one out of every three women will contract some form of cancer in the course of their lives.”
Until recently, the fact that people spend nearly two thirds of their lives inside buildings was not cause for concern. Many even associated the smell of new building with something good, like the smell of a new car. However, we now know the scent was not from leather upholstery, but rather from chemicals ‘off-gassing’ building materials, such as paints, draperies, and carpets, all of which are cancer causers.
With tax incentives and reduced energy costs, retrofitting skyscrapers with energy efficient windows, insulation, and solar panels, is a ‘no-brainer’. However, there is another reason to go green. Lower consumption of energy lessens dependency on foreign oil, thus improving our ‘National Security’.
Future designs for skyscrapers could include ‘vertical farming’ as a means to supply food to their occupants. By combining sections of a tall building with hydroponics to produce year-round fruit and vegetables, vertical farming enables consumers greater control over the quality of what they eat while substantially reducing cost and energy use, such as that associated with transporting food to market. Of course, hydroponics and its use of artificial lighting require energy. However, solar panels on the south face of the building in conjunction with windmills in various locations would be sufficient to not only power the vertical farms but also meet much of the energy needs for the entire building.
Implementing ‘Green’ technology into future designs should not be an option, it should be a requirement. Climate change is real, threatening not only our economy and our national security, but also our well-being as a people. Due to the large tax incentives and the dramatically reduced energy costs, going green is not only affordable, but it makes good business.
As a potential building occupant, if your choice were between two skyscrapers, would you choose the ‘Green’ building or the one that ’smells like a new car’? As a developer, if your skyscraper received the highest level of ‘Platinum Green’ by LEED, would you feel comfortable charging top dollar for your space?
The best choice is always the most obvious. ‘Green Technology’ is the future that makes sense!