With the current debate around development in Beacon, it seems an opportune time to raise the issue of green building standards. In the U.S., buildings account for 39 percent of energy use, 68 percent of electricity consumption, 30 percent of landfill waste, 38 percent of carbon-dioxide emissions and 12 percent of water consumption.
Green building standards promote clean, green and well-designed projects that minimize resource consumption; improve air and water quality; reduce waste streams; attract development that makes a city more attractive; offer economic opportunities; and allow cities to set an example and have an impact on the environment at a scale larger than the city itself.
The cities that have green building standards are much like Beacon — attractive and growing quickly. LEED certification is a common way to implement them. The city should enact standards to promote smart, environmentally friendly buildings, and it should happen soon. There is no excuse for allowing outdated building design to continue.
Nicole Porto, Don Raskopf and Kate Stryker, Beacon
The writers are members of the Green Beacon Coalition.