Monday, April 27, 2009

Local Developer and "Green Building"

Sustainable Development is ultimately defined by those who practice its ways in our local communities. This is a guest post from Peter Berman, a principal of Ruby Construction Services in Goshen, NY:

Green Building and Sustainable Development are certainly hot topics in the local construction and development industry. From our experience, we know that light commercial and residential customers are interested in these features. In response to this interest, many developers and builders have grabbed on to the words “Green” and “Sustainable”. Many go so far as to make definitive and measurable statements. It is not uncommon to hear “this will cut your energy bills in half” or “your health will be greatly improved”. These comments can be quite hard to quantify and in fact many experts would agree that they are often baseless. We must resist this urge to Go Green just for names-sake or to make promises that cannot be verified. Rather the focus of Green Building and Sustainable Development should start with an evaluation of processes. How is a project planned? How are materials ordered? How is waste handled? What quality control is employed to ensure that the building basics are being done properly so we don’t create a poor indoor air quality?

At The Ruby Group our road to “Green” has led us to some basic costs savings; by improving our processes and eliminating waste, we are saving money by focusing on “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. While many of these techniques don’t have the same panache as Zero-Energy structures, they are in fact legitimately “Green”. Of course we are also prepared to and do install advanced “Green” systems, ranging from spray insulations to Heat Recovery Ventilators to Photovoltaic Systems.

The Construction and Development Industry should be encouraged to optimize their systems both for improved profits and increased sustainability. After those first steps, Green Building should occur as consumers show a willingness to pay for it. As an Industry we should be responsible for making it available by effectively communicating the advantages. Then it will be the customers’ responsibility to make the investment.

1 comment:

  1. well, this is good blog about the sustainable building concept. Here they said that Green building is process is useful one to save money, energy, etc., and also their focus is on Three R(s) - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. THis is very good concept to save money and avoid wastages and also it is good for environment.




Being a land use attorney brings a unique perspective to the many interests at play in the making of land use decisions. In the course of any application, you encounter public policy and private property issues that require both advocacy and compromise in hopefully attaining the goals of your client while serving the common good.

Recently, I have been immersed in issues involving "green building" and sustainable development. I have researched the "legislating" of "green building", familiarized myself with "LEED" and other "green building" certification models, and studied the science of environmental impacts on commercial, industrial and residential development to gain an overview of what might be accomplished by bringing concepts of sustainable development to the forefront in our planning processes.

My goal with this blog is to create a dialogue between towns, villages, cities, their planning boards and ZBA's, counties, developers, engineers, designers, surveyors, attorneys, IDA's, empire zones, building associations, and the like, in order to set a course in which "green building" and sustainable development become primary in the decisionmaking on all land use matters. This is a "from the ground up" endeavor. Let's make things happen!

Jay R. Myrow