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Greenbuild 2011 International Summit: We Have Much to Learn from Each Other

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Jan 04, 2012 02:09 AM
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by Denis Du Bois last modified Oct 05, 2011

October 05, 2011 -- The 2011 International Summit at Greenbuild in Toronto conveyed an international message with voices from around the world. -- Energy Priorities



October 05, 2011 -- --

The 2011 International Summit at Greenbuild in Toronto conveyed an international message with voices from around the world.

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Greenbuild 2011 goes into full swing tomorrow. Today's agenda was dominated by the International Summit, a one-day conference-within-a-conference where 19 LEED International Roundtable members brought the state of green building from their home countries to Toronto.

The International Summit began with a keynote by Dr. Nils Kok, a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. Kok's research last year at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, like that of David Pogue of CBRE, has shown that green buildings get more occupants, 3 percent higher rents and 13 percent higher sale prices.

Delegates to the International Summit shared best practices and success stories from their home countries. Some examples:

Poland launched a program providing information to parents about indoor air quality in schools and homes. Rumania launched a green mortgage product, the first in that market, allowing home buyers to afford better insulation and energy-efficient appliances.

UAE is diversifying its power supply with a solid waste power plant that is reducing carbon emissions. Green belts are being used there for sewage treatment and making that water available for agriculture as well as habitat. The Jordan Green Building Council is providing information and education to support the growing interest in green building.

In India, the cost of green building has come down significantly in recent years. Technologies such as solar, wind, geothermal, and fly ash bricks were never heard of in India; now they're becoming popular. Net zero buildings are the next step for India.

Mexico has launched affordable-housing programs, along with a green mortgage program to subsidize green technologies with every loan. Canada, the first country to adopt LEED outside the U.S. in 2002, still lists the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games as its premier green initiative. The CaGBC has also been instrumental in the spread of LEED among governments in Canada, from the city level up to the federal level.

Sustainable cities are in demand in Sweden, the question is how to certify them. Sweden's GBC, in conjunction with the Delegation for Sustainable Cities, is exploring options for this. Finland is placing an emphasis on low-energy buildings and wood structures.

In Columbia the government is debating a framework to require green building as part of a larger movement to protect the country's biodiversity and fresh water supply.

And a study of Brazil's stadiums, conducted before the 2014 FIFA World Cup of soccer was awarded, ultimately led to a LEED Platinum "eco-arena." Stadiums in nine of the twelve World Cup cities are en route to certification. (Watch for the Brazil green World Cup success story to be a major focus of the GLOBE conference in Vancouver BC in the spring of 2012.)

Geraud Darnis, now president and CEO of UTC Climate, Controls and Security Systems, joined USGBC Chairman Rick Fedrizzi in a closing plenary this afternoon, praising the delegates for doing well and collaborating to improve green building worldwide.UTC's Carrier division is a major sponsor of the International Summit.

"The future of green building will depend on what we do next with knowledge, economics and collaboration," Darnis said. "We have much to learn from each other."

"The environment and the economy must win together for the movement to work. It's not one or the other." Darnis said, citing a recent statistic that green buildings represent 35 percent of the construction market in the U.S.

"While construction is going down, green building construction is going up," he said. "Think of how green building will accelerate when the economy comes back."


By Denis Du Bois at Energy Priorities




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