Saturday, July 20, 2013

Being Green Can Indeed Be Easy

* Today's article was written by Jimmy Veteto ( LEED AP Building Consultant ) with the S.M. Lawrence Company, Inc. (based in Memphis, TNUSA) and author of Mechanical Matters

Think Green, Go Green, Act Green, Be Green, Feel, Smell...Green-Green-Green! 

If you are a building owner, manager or operator how many times have you heard about this Green Monster sweeping across the nation? No, not the outfield wall at Fenway Park, but this green monster of eco-friendly concepts and energy smart ideas for your building.

Green topics can be found in magazines, newspapers, websites, talk radio, television commercials, talking heads on CNN/Fox, politicians, the U.S. Government...the whole world is talking green. Saving the environment once meant tossing our old newspapers in the recycle bin, but now building owners are being faced with a much more radical view of what it means to be green. Property Managers are being pressured by building owners to 'think green'. Building Consultants, like myself are being pressured by property managers to think green. I in turn pressure my vendors to provide green products...and so on and so on.

Energy costs will continue to rise, oil prices have recently hit the $100 dollar per barrel and the U.S. Government is handing out tax incentives for those who can dramatically cut utilities. Now more than ever has saving the environment also meant saving money. If green building research is on your agenda for 2008, well then you are in luck. In this edition of Mechanical Matters, I will touch ever so briefly on why going green is important and share with you several sources of green research that I found helpful when composing this article.

But first I want to share with you a statement read that really sums up why green building technology is important to me as a mechanical building consultant. Joanna R. Turpin, with Engineered Systems Magazine said this:

"Manufacturers in all sorts of different industries are advertising their green offerings these days - products that help end-user save energy, lower emissions, reduces wastes, etc. Nowhere does that make more sense than in HVAC industry, where high-efficiency heating, cooling and ventilation projects are in great demand by building owners looking to cut energy cost and lessen their impact on the environment."

1. Why is having a green building so important? 
2. What is my first step towards a 'Green Building'?

Recently I sat down to watch television with a pen and notepad in my lap. I wanted to jot down every green advertisement or subliminal message that saw. Wow! I saw energy efficient light bulbs that apparently grow from trees and are picked like apples. Eco-friendly car commercials highlighted the MPG (mile per gallon) ratings in 'green across the screen. Learning channels such as HGTV, Discovery, National Geographic - have green related topics airing daily. There is so much green coming through television that I thought I needed to adjust the color balance. Everyone seems to have great green ideas for sale, but why?

I found a very convincing statement on Go Green Initiative's website:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the world population is expanding at a mind-boggling rate. The world reached 1 billion people in 1800; 2 billion by 1922; and over 6 billion by 2000. It is estimated that the population will swell to over 9 billion by 2050. That means that if the world's natural resources were evenly distributed, people in 2050 will only have 25% of the resources per capita that people in 1950 had. Throwing away items that could be recycled diminishes energy, water and natural resources that could be saved by recycling. To read the rest of this article, please go to

OK, so if we don't strive to protect our environment we could potentially consume all of our natural resources...I can buy that. No matter what side of the political fence you sit on, I think we all can agree that recycling and conserving some of our natural resources just makes sense...we should all do our part. Second to saving the environment, 'Going Green' has risen in popularity to another green acronym...MONEY. 'Going Green' is big business. It's no secret anymore. For most business owners its common knowledge that lowering energy consumption positively effects the bottom line. It's also common knowledge that product manufacturer's can now label their products 'Green' and sales will increase while saving our environment.

You may be saying to your self right about now, "But Jimmy, we didn't budget any building improvements this year...we don't have the capital!" That's why the Energy Audits are so important. Your audit may reveal an area that could be improved and the energy savings alone could finance the project with out any capital. Even if the Energy Audit didn't result in immediate cash flow improvements, you will still have a sound road map to model your building's capital investments for the next 1-5 years.

I work with a lot of engineers, who are a lot smarter than me, and have dedicated the past 20 years of their lives to energy services. The company that I represent is both an Energy Star Partner and U.S. Green Building Council member. Normally when writing these articles I try not to boast about my day job. Unfortunately there are a lot of companies out there that are selling green performance-contracted energy projects, that have no business doing so. Just because they are in the lighting business, or maybe they sell a great control system, doesn't mean that they have your ENTIRE building's best interest at heart.

Any desired improvements to your facility's mechanical systems, lighting, water systems, operations, controls and so forth can be financed by the money saved through energy smart decisions, or green concepts. Through precise energy audits, engineered solutions, strategic planning and skilled craftsmanship, we can improve facility operations, lower energy consumption, improve cash flow, and put money on the bottom line. 

There is a lot of information out there on this topic. ...I will leave you with a list of websites whose commentary I found very valuable in my own research. In these websites listed below you will discover thousands of eco-friendly and energy smart practices. We now know that green concepts can improve the world we live in and save money. It's a win-win so what are you waiting for?

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