Thursday, August 09, 2007

What Will Create Positive Change In Green Building?

What are the weak signals that could spur momentous changes in the green building world? Here are a few that occur to Jerry Yudelson of Yudelson Consulting and's Sr. Editor.
  1. The trend in venture capital to focus on renewable energy, carbon mitigation and energy efficiency technologies (these grabbed almost 10 percent of all new venture money last year). This could mean that concept-busting innovations might be coming a lot sooner than you think. Consider solar powered roofing systems that deliver electricity at 10 cents or less per kilowatt-hour and what that could do to building design and zero-net-energy homes and buildings.

  2. The availability of software, sensors and intelligent networks that make buildings so smart they can identify their problems and come up with fixes, so that we can achieve these 50 to 90 percent reductions in energy use that are part of every scenario for controlling global warming.

  3. The continuing trend to cheapen and miniaturize communications technologies, along with an increasingly mobile workforce, means that we can make buildings half the size we think we need and still accommodate workforce and productivity needs.

  4. LED lighting is moving rapidly to replace even compact fluorescents, with half the power consumption. This will allow the further downsizing of mechanical HVAC systems, opening the way for new HVAC technologies to serve buildings' needs.

  5. Nano-technologies will revolutionize every aspect of building technology, from self-cleaning windows (no more guys suddenly materializing outside your windows ladies, watching you put on makeup at 10 a.m. in your office!), to self-cleaning fa├žades, windows with R-10 values (instead of R-2 now), wall paints that insulate and so on.

  6. Building information modeling that will enable integrated design to happen in real time, so that you could know the energy use of every possible building design change in minutes, instead of weeks.

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