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Green Buildings: Part of the Solution

Green Buildings
Reported by
Jill Pope

Posted December 17, 2007

Presented By


The inaugural meeting of the Green Buildings Discussion Group, held on October 30, 2007, looked at how we measure success in sustainable design, and specifically asked how we can measure energy efficiency in buildings; what examples of best practices in green building are out there; and whether our buildings can do better.

At an event sponsored by Skanska USA Building, the local business unit of Swedish construction firm Skanska AB, three experts in the field shared their data and ideas. Noel Morrin, the senior vice president of sustainable development for Skanska, guided the discussion. Adam Hinge, whose firm, Sustainable Energy Partnerships, consults on energy efficiency, discussed energy use in buildings and trends in U.S. energy use. Jens Laustsen, an energy efficiency policy analyst at the International Energy Agency, a European group that advises the G-8 nations, discussed low-energy building practices and the role government can play in building sector change.

Use the tabs above to find a meeting report and multimedia from this event.

Web Sites

BowZED, an Energy Efficient Development in London
Designed by Bill Dunster Architects, this development depends on a single 15kW wood pellet boiler to supply the whole block with hot water and backup heating in deep winter.

Center for the Built Environment
CBE, part of the University of California at Berkeley, seeks to improve the design, operation, and environmental quality of buildings by providing research on building technologies and design techniques.

Greenbuild 2007
Annual U.S. conference and expo dedicated to green building.

International Energy Agency
The International Energy Agency (IEA) acts as energy policy advisor to 26 member countries in their effort to ensure reliable, affordable, and clean energy for their citizens.

New Buildings Institute
NBI is a nonprofit organization that works at the national, regional, and state level, and with utility groups to promote improved energy performance in commercial new construction.

New Housing New York Legacy Project
The New Housing New York Legacy Project Web site has information about sustainable design for affordable housing, and an online networking system with links to architect Chris Benedict and others.

Passive House Institute
The Passive House Institute was founded in 1996, by Dr. Wolfgang Feist, as an independent research institution. It employs physicists, mathematicians, and civil, mechanical, and environmental engineers, who perform research and development on highly efficient energy use.

United States Climate Action Partnership
United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) is a group of businesses and leading environmental organizations that have come together to call on the federal government to quickly enact strong national legislation to require significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.


Bayon R, Hawn A, Hamilton K. 2007. Voluntary Carbon Markets: An International Business Guide to What They Are and How They Work. Earthscan, London.

Hawkes D, Forster W. 2002. Energy Efficient Buildings: Architecture, Engineering, and Environment. W.W. Norton & Co., New York.

Krigger JT, Dorsi C. 2004. Residential Energy: Cost Savings and Comfort for Existing Buildings, 4th ed. Saturn Resource Management, Helena, Montana.

Lerum V. 2008. High-Performance Building. John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey.


De T'Serclaes P. 2007. Financing energy efficient homes: existing policy responses to financial barriers. IEA Information Paper (February) (PDF, 689 KB) FULL TEXT

Epstein K. 2008. How far can you go? High Performing Buildings (Winter). (PDF, 1.25 MB) FULL TEXT

Hinge AW, Winston DJ. 2008. The proof is performance: how does 4 Times Square measure up? High Performing Buildings (Winter). (PDF, 2.36 MB) FULL TEXT

Kamanetz A. 2007. The green standard: LEED buildings get lots of buzz, but the point is getting lost. Fast Company Magazine (October).

Malin N. 2007. Closing the feedback loop. GreenSource Magazine (July 2). FULL TEXT

Mintz J. 2004. How to build green and lean in the East Village. The Villager (March 3–9).

United States Climate Action Partnership. A call for action: consensus principles and recommendations from the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. (PDF, 900 KB) FULL TEXT


Adam W. Hinge, P.E.

Sustainable Energy Partnerships

Adam W. Hinge is managing director of Sustainable Energy Partnerships, a small consulting firm that serves as an honest broker and catalyst among diverse constituencies to initiate and implement viable energy efficiency projects in developing and transitioning countries, as well as providing advisory services to energy efficiency organizations and services providers in the United States. He works as an advisor to utilities, government agencies and others in developing energy efficiency market transformation initiatives. Clients include the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, China State Economic and Trade Commission, International Copper Association, the International Institute for Energy Conservation, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, and numerous private energy services providers and consumers.

Hinge is also a former board chair of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), and is active in the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), having recently served as chair of that organization's Systems Energy Utilization Technical Committee (TC 7.6). He was formerly a member of Standard Project Committee 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings, and of the ASHRAE Handbook Committee. He also served as president of the Northeast Chapter of ASHRAE.

Jens H. Laustsen

Energy Efficiency and Environment Division, International Energy Agency
e-mail | web site

Jens H. Laustsen graduated as an architect in 1986, and has worked for 20 years with Energy Efficiency in buildings. His experience has been derived partly from private consultancy companies and partly from the Danish Energy Authorities. Since 1 March 2006, Laustsen has worked in the International Energy Agency (IEA) as Energy Efficiency Policy Analyst specialized in buildings, and he is part of the team for the G8 Gleneagles Programme.

Over the years Laustsen has been involved in the development and analyses of energy policies in Denmark, and he has been responsible for the management of different schemes, such as the energy labelling of buildings, inspections of boilers, information activities and different subsidy schemes, and development of demands for new buildings. In recent years, Laustsen has been involved in international collaboration and negotiations, including the EPBD directive. He is a member of the management team for the Concerted Action EPBD, the Core Team Leader for Certification Issues, and he is involved in the EPBD Buildings Platform. Within the IEA, Laustsen works with different international projects on buildings codes, low energy and zero energy buildings, and with energy efficiency in existing buildings.

Noel Morrin

e-mail | web site

Noel Morrin worked internationally in distribution, sales & marketing, business development and IT in the global chemical company ICI plc during the 1980s. The 1990s saw him direct NGO Business in the Environment and the UK National Environmental Technology Centre. From 1999 to 2005 he led environmental strategy and policy in RMC Group plc (the largest producer of ready mixed concrete in the USA and globally) and in parallel had significant roles in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development's Cement Sustainability Initiative. Skanska AB appointed him senior vice president of sustainability in 2005. He has been an environmental adviser to HRH The Prince of Wales and sat on the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee of Thames Water plc for 3 years. Thames Water is the third largest water company in the world and owner of US Water.

Jill Pope

Jill Pope is a science writer and editor who lives in Brooklyn, NY.