President Bill Clinton, Greenbuild's keynote speaker, highlighted the Clinton Climate Initiative's partnerships and their efforts to “show the world that the solution to the climate crisis isn't far off in the future.”
The Dan Ryan Expressway Reconstruction Project in Chicago cost $975 million to complete recently. Green technology may help boost highway spending, even as consumers cut back on fuel by buying more energy-efficient vehicles, using public transportation, and using alternative fuels.
Greenbuild also attracted national attention with its keynote speaker, President Bill Clinton, who opened the conference with, “going green is good economics.” Citing examples of other countries whose economies have benefited by their efforts to reach Kyoto treaty targets, Clinton stressed the importance of adopting green practices in the U.S. “This is the biggest economic opportunity we have had since World War II,” he said.
Clinton also acknowledged the construction industry's key role: being on the front line of implementing green technology. Green building dovetails Clinton's own efforts through the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) by “applying a business-oriented approach to the fight against climate change in practical, measurable, and significant ways.”
CCI created the global Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program in early 2007, providing cities and building owners with money to retrofit existing buildings to reduce energy consumption.
The former president also announced several new partnerships and programs at Greenbuild. Together with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), CCI has established the Green Schools Program to reduce U.S. schools' energy consumption. “We are honored to have partnered with the president's Climate Initiative to convene this historic effort to green our nation's schools,” said Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC's CEO. “Green schools are a powerful way to show the next generation how we can all make a difference.”
Green Schools will work with K-12 schools throughout the nation to create new green schools and retrofit existing ones. In addition to improving students' health, green schools can save money. The annual operational savings of one green school is enough to pay for two new teachers, 250 computers, or 5000 textbooks, according to the program's partners.
CCI is also partnering with GE Real Estate to build sustainability into the company's entire global portfolio, including assets of more than $72 billion in 31 countries. “Improving the environmental performance of existing properties is essential toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing property efficiencies, and positively impacting the health of tenants, thereby improving the value of our properties,” said Ron Pressman, president and CEO of GE Real Estate.
“When it comes to climate change, the hurdles we face aren't technological,” added Clinton. “They're organizational, which is why my foundation is partnering with cities, businesses, nonprofits, and schools alike to design systems and programs that reduce energy consumption.”
Clinton predicts that within five years, we will be past the point of discussing energy savings. Instead we'll be talking about technologies for energy-positive building.
With such high-profile efforts, and support from associations such as the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association and the Portland Cement Association, producers are ideally poised to join the green movement and to enjoy its economic benefits.Related Article
Starting next month in TCP, we will publish GreenSite, a new monthly department which will provide insights into sustainable building, growth, materials, and construction practices and what they all mean to concrete producers. E-mail your thoughts and suggestions to Associate Editor Shelby Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org.