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a Better South
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Charleston, SC 29413
building revolution has taken hold nationwide and has begun in the South,
although it is still lagging behind compared to other regions. Green buildings
usually cost only 2 percent to 5 percent more to build - and costs are
coming down as the market expands, according to several sources. But since
a large commercial building costs about 10 times more to operate as to
build over its lifespan, the increased upfront costs are easily paid back
by reduced utility and maintenance costs.
governments have special reasons to encourage green building, and special
tools at their disposal to promote it. Local governments often manage
and pay for stormwater services, landfills, and drinking water supply
and sewer systems. Some even operate electric utilities. Green buildings
sharply reduce reliance on all of these systems.
schools may have the most to gain from adopting high performance green
building standards. School buildings currently must meet building codes
designed to ensure basic safety. But green schools are designed to go
beyond basic safety to maximize student health and academic performance.
9: Southern states should require that all new state government buildings
or retrofit projects meet LEED Silver or better green building standards.
10: Southern cities and counties should require that all local government
facilities meet LEED Silver or better green building standards, and they
should provide preferential permitting for private sector construction
that meets these standards.
11: Local schools should be built to a LEED/CHPS standard. State and local
governments should require LEED buildings and more.
"green building" practices produce huge energy savings because
buildings consumer 70 percent of energy in the United States. Energy
savings, in turn, reduce pollution.
green building goes further because it conserves water, uses better
materials for the environment, reduces toxic air emissions and promotes
sector buildings need to go green. Building something to green building
standards only adds 2 percent to 5 percent to the total cost. And when
you consider you'll achieve major energy savings quickly, the public
will recoup its investment quickly.
states should require public buildings, including school buildings,
to be built to certified green standards to save energy and money, reduce
pollution, promote sustainability and cut unhealthy indoor air pollution.
governments can participate in the green building revolution by adopting
new strategies and incentives to reward builders who use green practices.
The West Quad dormitory
at the University of South Carolina was the world's largest green dorm
when it opened in late 2004. The 172,000-square-foot building uses 45
percent less energy and 20 percent less water than comparable buildings.
( Photo provided by the University of South Carolina.)
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