By Stephen Leahy
Mar 13’08 (IPS)
Making buildings more environmentally friendly is the easiest and most effective way to cut climate-changing carbon emissions, often slashing energy costs by up to 70 percent.
So why isn’t there a massive effort to “green up” existing buildings and set green standards for all new construction?
North America’s buildings are responsible for a staggering 2,200 megatonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions — 35 percent of the continent’s annual total. A new report released Thursday says a rapid uptake of currently available and emerging advanced energy-saving technologies could slash emissions by 1,700 megatonnes (MT) of CO2 emissions by 2030.
A cut of that size would nearly equal the CO2 emitted by the entire U.S. transportation sector in 2000.
“Improving our built environment is probably the single greatest opportunity to protect and enhance the natural environment,” said Adrián Vázquez, executive director of the tri-national Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) that produced the report, “Green Building in North America: Opportunities and Challenges”.