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Green Dollars Make Sense

Green Dollars Make Sense
Reported by
Jill Pope

Posted February 05, 2010


With green buildings still gaining their footing in the marketplace, owners may be reluctant to purchase and install new materials and systems that appear more expensive and unfamiliar. How can architects and energy efficiency advocates convince building owners to build green?

At a January 31, 2008, meeting at the Academy, two experts discussed ways to overcome these barriers. David Hewitt, the executive director of the New Buildings Institute, discussed potential savings for owners from an energy perspective—energy costs are one of the most expensive items in running a building.

Vivian Loftness, an architect and professor at the Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture and the Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics, discussed her group's work in breaking down the costs of buildings, going beyond energy costs. By making design choices that result in healthy, sustainable workplaces, she argued, we can improve workers' health and productivity and create spaces that adapt to organizations' changing needs.

Web Sites

Architecture 2030
Architecture 2030 is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization established by architect Edward Mazria in 2002. Its mission is to rapidly transform the U.S. and global building sector from the major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions to a central part of the solution to the global-warming crisis.

Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics
The mission of the CBPD is to fundamentally improve the quality of the built environment.

Daylighting Collaborative at the Energy Center of Wisconsin
The Daylighting Collaborative was initiated by the Energy Center of Wisconsin and its sponsoring members as a source of why-do and how-to information for daylighting.

New Buildings Institute
NBI has created a free database describing the nation's most energy efficient buildings, many of which come with detailed case studies.


Fitz-Enz J. 2000. The ROI of Human Capital: Measuring the Economic Value of Employee Performance. AMACOM, a division of American Management Association, New York.

MacMillan S. 2003. Designing Better Buildings. Taylor & Francis, London.

Willard B, Lovins H. 2005. The Next Sustainability Wave: Building Boardroom Buy-in. New Society Publishers, British Columbia, Canada.


Brun B. 2007. Brewery blocks move to Wall Street. Sustainable Industries Magazine, (September 1).

Heschong L, Wright RL, Okura S. 2002. Daylighting impacts on retail sales performance. Journal of the Illuminating Engineering Society 31: 21-25.

Imanari T, Omori T, Bogaki K. 1999. Thermal comfort and energy consumption of the radiant ceiling panel system. Comparison with the conventional all-air system. Energy and Buildings 30: 167-175. doi:10.1016/S0378-7788(98)00084-X

New York Construction News. 2007. Mandating Green: New Laws Push Sustainable Design Into Regulatory Mode (February).

Smedje G, Norback D. 2000. New ventilation systems at select schools in Sweden–effects on asthma and exposure. Archives of Environmental Health, 35(1), pp. 18-25.

Walch J, Rabin BS, Day R, et al. 2005. The effect of sunlight on postoperative analgesic medication use: a prospective study of patients undergoing spinal surgery. Psychosom. Med. 67, pp. 156-163. Full Text


Dave Hewitt

New Buildings Institute
e-mail | web site

Dave Hewitt is executive director of the New Buildings Institute. Prior to joining NBI, Dave was a senior manager, Commercial Sector Initiative, at the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance in Portland. He managed the Alliance's commercial sector portfolio and directed the development of the Washington Sustainable Schools project. Under his direction, daylighting labs were established at five schools of architecture. Additional experience includes 12 years with Pacific Energy Associates in Portland serving as a technical consultant on several collaborative projects; director of research, development, and evaluation for Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships; director of the City of Portland Energy Office; and the first executive director of the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation.

Vivian Loftness

Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture
e-mail | web site

Vivian Loftness is an internationally renowned researcher, author, and educator with over 30 years of focus on environmental design and sustainability, advanced building systems and systems integration, climate and regionalism in architecture, as well as design for performance in the workplace of the future. Supported by a university–building industry partnership, the Advanced Building Systems Integration Consortium, she is a key contributor to the development of the Intelligent Workplace–a living laboratory of commercial building innovations for performance, along with authoring a range of publications on international advances in the workplace.

As a result of her research, teaching and professional consulting, Vivian Loftness received the 2002 National Educator Honor Award from the American Institute of Architecture Students and a 2003 Sacred Tree Award from the U.S. Green Building Council. Vivian Loftness has a BS and a MArch from MIT, and is on the national boards of the USGBC and TSAC, AIA Communities by Design, Turner Sustainability, and the Global Assurance Group of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. She is a fellow of the American Institute of Architects and is a registered architect.

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 three years. Thames Water is the third largest water company in the world and owner of U.S. Water.

Jill Pope

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