I cannot tell you the boost I got this week from attending the US Green Builders Councils annual conference: Green Build Expo. http://www.greenbuildexpo.org/ Perhaps it was the 30,000 other attendees who all were like minded (YES, I said thirty thousand!). Perhaps it was the opening address from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Laureate. Perhaps it was the thought that in a conference that big there was no GARBAGE- seriously organic local food served on biodegradable plates. There were no garbage bins. Compost bins? Yes. Recycle bins? Yes. Garbage? Nope!
In Boston all new buildings over 50,000 sq. ft MUST be LEED Certified. For a definition of LEED see: http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CategoryID=19. Can you imagine if the Lehigh Valley adopted a policy like that? It would put us on par with New York City, Boston, LA and the state of Washington, to name a few. It would mark the valley as truly forward thinking. It would move us forward! This is not such a crazy idea.
The LV has many professionals trained to meet the challenge. Engineering firms, architects, and land planners with LEED certification are in every firm in the valley. We have developers motivated to build here ( a bit more slowly this year, perhaps). We have a region with a growing environmental conscience. It’s all good.
I went to the conference to find numbers to prove to our local development community that building green makes sense. I got those numbers. In many cases upgrades to achieve LEED are no more costly then other upgrades. AND on the whole LEED properties rent for $6/ sq ft more! Don’t even ask me about the resale value on LEED vs. not LEED!
One more thing… Archbishop Tutu thanked us…. all Americans…. for doing what we did on Nov. 4th. He, admittedly presumptuously, thanked us on behalf of the world and God. I guess being a global figure for peace and being and Archbishop gives you that right. I tend to agree.