The Green Building Revolution by Jerry Yudelson and S. Richard Fedrizzi - Read Online
The Green Building Revolution
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The “green building revolution’’ is happening right now. This book is its chronicle and its manifesto. Written by industry insider Jerry Yudelson, The Green Building Revolution introduces readers to the basics of green building and to the projects and people that are advancing this movement. With interviews and case studies, it does more than simply report on the revolution; it shows readers why and how to start thinking about designing, building, and operating high performance, environmentally aware (LEED-certified) buildings on conventional budgets.

Evolving quietly for more than a decade, the green building movemhas found its voice. Its principles of human-centered, environmentally sensitive developmhave reached a critical mass of architects, engineers, builders, developers, professionals in government, and consumers. Green buildings are showing us how we can have healthier indoor environments that use far less energy and water than conventional buildings do. The federal government, eighteen states, and nearly fifty U.S. cities already require new public buildings to meet “green” standards. According to Yudelson, this is just the beginning.

The Green Building Revolution describes the many “revolutions” that are taking place today: in commercial buildings, schools, universities, public buildings, health care institutions, housing, property management, and neighborhood design. In a clear, highly readable style, Yudelson outlines the broader “journey to sustainability” influenced by the green building revolution and provides a solid business case for accelerating this trend.

Illustrated with more than 50 photos, tables, and charts, and filled with timely information, The Green Building Revolution is the definitive description of a major movemthat’s poised to transform our world.
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ISBN: 9781597267632
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About Island Press

Island Press is the only nonprofit organization in the United States whose principal purpose is the publication of books on environmental issues and natural resource management. We provide solutions-oriented information to professionals, public officials, business and community leaders, and concerned citizens who are shaping responses to environmental problems.

Since 1984, Island Press has been the leading provider of timely and practical books that take a multidisciplinary approach to critical environmental concerns. Our growing list of titles reflects our commitment to bringing the best of an expanding body of literature to the environmental community throughout North America and the world.

Support for Island Press is provided by the Agua Fund, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, Kendeda Sustainability Fund of the Tides Foundation, The Forrest & Frances Lattner Foundation, The Henry Luce Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Marisla Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, The Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation, Oak Foundation, The Overbrook Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Wallace Global Fund, The Winslow Foundation, and other generous donors.

The opinions expressed in this book are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of these foundations.

The Green Building Revolution

Jerry Yudelson

Foreword by S. Richard Fedrizzi, CEO

U.S. Green Building Council

Washington • Covelo • London

The Green Building Revolution

© 2008 Jerry Yudelson

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher: Island Press, 1718 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20009.

ISLAND PRESS is a trademark of the Center for Resource Economics.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Yudelson, Jerry.

  The green building revolution / Jerry Yudelson; Foreword by S. Richard Fedrizzi.

         p. cm.

  Includes bibliographical references and index.

  ISBN 978-1-59726-178-4 (hardcover : alk. paper)

  ISBN 978-1-59726-179-1 (pbk. :alk. paper)

1. Sustainable buildings—Design and construction. 2. Green movement. I. Title.

  TH880.Y634 2008

  720'.47—dc22         2007026207

Manufactured in the United States of America

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Search terms: Green building, environmental building, U.S. Green Building Council, USGBC, Energy Star, carbon emissions, revolution, LEED, indoor air quality, rating systems, commercial building, risk management, productivity, health benefits, public relations, marketing, new construction, core and shell, commercial interiors, existing buildings, property management, Greg Kats, Davis Langdon, World Green Building Council, Canada, China, India, Australia, Spain, socially responsible property investing, industrial buildings, private development, public development, campus sustainability, green schools, National Association of Home Builders, mixed-use development, retail design, hospitality design, green healthcare, workplace design, building operations, neighborhood development, local government, real estate finance.


List of Tables

Foreword by S. Richard Fedrizzi


ONE Green Buildings Today

The Origins of the Revolution

The Present Market for Green Buildings

The Policy Case for Green Buildings

Government Leadership and Private Initiative

Drivers for Green Buildings

TWO What Is a Green Building?

The LEED Rating Systems

LEED for New Construction

LEED for Core and Shell Buildings

LEED for Commercial Interiors

LEED for Existing Buildings

Typical Green Building Measures

Other Green Building Rating Systems

THREE The Business Case for Green Buildings

Incentives and Barriers to Green Development

Overcoming Barriers to Green Buildings

Benefits That Build a Business Case

Economic Benefits

Productivity Benefits

Risk-Management Benefits

Health Benefits

Public Relations and Marketing Benefits

Recruitment and Retention Benefits

Financing Green Projects

FOUR The Costs of Green Buildings

Cost Drivers for Green Buildings

The 2003 Cost Study for the State of California

High Performance on a Budget

The Davis Langdon Cost Studies

The 2004 GSA Cost Study

Integrated Design Reduces Costs

FIVE The Future of Green Buildings

Green Building Growth Rates by Market Sector

Green Building Market Drivers

More Commercial and Institutional Green Projects

Tax Incentives

Higher Oil and Natural Gas Prices

Movement Back into the Cities

More Green Homes on the Market

Local Government Incentives

Growing Awareness of Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Global Warming

Pressure on Companies to Conduct Sustainable Operations

The Competitive Advantage of Green Homes

The Larger Picture

Barriers to Green Buildings and Green Development

Triggers for Green Building

Beyond LEED

SIX The International Green Building Revolution

Global Green Building Status

The World Green Building Council






SEVEN The Revolution in Commercial Development

Commercial Market Size

Which Sector Builds the Most Green Buildings?

The Business Case for Green Commercial Development

The Business Case for Brown Development

LEED for Core and Shell Helps Developers

The Revolution Comes to Corporate Real Estate

Industrial Buildings

Socially Responsible Property Investing

EIGHT The Revolution in Government and Nonprofit Buildings

The Government Buildings Market

Green Building Drivers

Integrated Design for Public Projects

LEED Use by Government Agencies

Exemplary Government and Nonprofit Projects

NINE The Revolution in Education

Green Buildings in Higher Education

Greening Secondary Education

Benefits of Green Schools

The Green Schools Report

TEN The Revolution in Housing

Energy Star Homes

Homebuilders' Association Guidelines

LEED for Homes

Multifamily Homes

Affordable Green Housing

Modular Green Homes

The Green Home Revolution

ELEVEN The Revolution in Neighborhood Design and Mixed-Use Development

The New World of Mixed-Use Development

Examples of Green Mixed-Use Projects

LEED for Neighborhood Development

Green Retail and Hospitality Design

TWELVE The Revolution in Health Care

Green Guide for Health Care

Early Green Health Care Facilities

The Business Case for Green Buildings in Health Care

Accelerating the Revolution in Health Care Design

Barriers to Green Buildings in Health Care

THIRTEEN The Revolution in Workplace Design

What Is a Healthy and Productive Workplace?

Green Workplace Design

LEED for Commercial Interiors

FOURTEEN The Revolution in Property Management

LEED for Existing Buildings

Successful LEED-EB Projects

Barriers and Incentives to Greener Building Operations

FIFTEEN The Revolution in Building Design and Construction Practice

The Challenge of Integrated Design

The Slow Building Revolution

The Business of Sustainable Design

Revolutionizing a Design Firm

Revolutionizing Sustainability: Restorative Design

SIXTEEN Join the Revolution!

What You Can Do at Home

What You Can Do at Work

Greening Your Local Government

Investing in the Revolution

APPENDIX 1 Resources for Revolutionaries




Web Sites

APPENDIX 2 Green Building Rating Systems

LEED for New Construction

LEED for Commercial Interiors

LEED for Existing Buildings

LEED for Core and Shell Buildings

LEED for Homes Pilot

LEED for Neighborhood Development Pilot

Green Guide for Health Care



About the Author

List of Tables

Table 1.1      LEED Projects (2006 year-end)

Table 2.1      Key Factors in Rating a Green Building under LEED-NC

Table 2.2      Key Measures Used in LEED-NC Certified Projects

Table 3.1      Business Case Benefits of Green Buildings

Table 3.2      Financial Benefits of Green Buildings

Table 3.3      The Aging Labor Force

Table 4.1      Cost Drivers for Green Buildings

Table 4.2      Incremental Capital Costs of 33 LEED-Certified Projects

Table 4.3      Incremental Costs of LEED-Certifying Two Prototypical GSA Projects

Table 5.1      Projected Annual Growth Rates for Green Buildings

Table 5.2      Drivers for Green Building Growth

Table 5.3      National Energy Policy Act of 2005: Key Provisions for Commercial Green Buildings

Table 5.4      Green Building Triggers for Building Owners

Table 6.1      Status of Green Building Activity in Selected Countries

Table 7.1      Nonresidential Commercial Construction Market 2006

Table 7.2      The Business Case for Speculative Green Commercial Buildings

Table 8.1      Characteristics of 44 Federal LEED-Certified Projects

Table 8.2      Government Initiatives to Promote Green Buildings

Table 9.1      Drivers for Green Buildings in Higher Education

Table 9.2      Colleges and Universities with LEED Initiatives

Table 9.3      Financial Benefits of Green Schools

Table 10.1      Barriers to Growth of Green Homes, 2007 to 2010

Table 12.1      Drivers for Green Buildings and Operations in Health Care

Table 12.2      Barriers to Green Buildings in Health Care

Table 14.1a      Benefits of Greening Existing Operations

Table 14.1b      Barriers to Greening Existing Operations

Table 15.1      Integrated Design Approaches for Energy Savings


A revolution is going on all over this land, and it's about time! It is transforming the marketplace for buildings, homes, and communities, and it is part of a larger sustainability revolution that will transform just about everything we know, do, and experience over the next few decades. This revolution is about green building, and its aim is nothing less than to fundamentally change the built environment by creating energy-efficient, healthy, productive buildings that reduce or minimize the significant impacts of buildings on urban life and on the local, regional, and global environments.

In 1993 the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) was founded to drive this change, and in 2000 we launched the LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™ to provide a common definition and way to measure green buildings. A point-based system, LEED rates buildings according to key environmental attributes such as site impacts, energy and water use, materials and resource conservation, and indoor environmental quality.

To our delight and somewhat to our surprise, by 2006 LEED had taken the country by storm. As of early 2007, 18 states and 59 cities, along with some of the biggest and most prestigious names in the building industry—including the developer of the Ground Zero World Trade Center site, Larry Silverstein—had all made serious commitments to using the LEED rating system for their projects (the first new building built and occupied at Ground Zero, Seven World Trade Center, was LEED Gold-certified). In 2006 the U.S. General Services Administration, the country's biggest landlord, along with 10 other federal agencies, endorsed LEED as its rating tool of choice. This is not surprising, because LEED provides a rigorous road map to building green. Projected resource savings from the first 200 LEED-certified projects show that well-designed, fully documented and third party–verified projects get results: an average of 30 percent water-use reduction and 30 to 55 percent energy savings, depending on the level of certification.

Through the USGBC, business professionals, policymakers, developers, designers, scientists, and citizens are joining together to conquer some of the most intractable problems of our time. Two of these are front and center, and they are interconnected in a very important way. These are the health of our cities and the impact of climate change.

We build green buildings because they matter. But nowhere do they matter more than in this epic battle we've just begun with ourselves over carbon dioxide emissions, which are driving global climate change.¹

The greatest sources of those emissions are the very things that have helped us prosper—the cars we drive and the electricity we generate to run our buildings. These emissions are also the primary cause of the climate changes that have begun to significantly affect our quality of life. By now we know these changes by heart: melting ice caps are causing rising sea levels; monumental storms such as Hurricane Katrina have altered forever the lives of people we know and care about. The shifting temperature and weather patterns are poised to stress our economic and social fabric in unprecedented and alarming ways. Figure 0.1 shows the projected increase in primary energy use—and carbon emissions—by 2030 if we do not act now.

We are fortunate because we have the resources and the know-how required to achieve immediate and measurable results in our efforts to reverse global warming. Green buildings reduce carbon emissions by about 40 percent compared to conventional buildings.

Recognizing the need for urgent action, in 2006 the USGBC signed the Wingspread Principles, which lay out an assertive response to global climate change. These principles are an outgrowth of a national leadership summit on energy and climate change, and are part of an initiative to review and update the 140 recommendations developed in 1999 by President Bill Clinton's Council on Sustainable Development. The Wingspread Principles aim to create a road map for moving beyond words to action.

The principles respond to two questions:

• What is our nation's responsibility as the largest producer of the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming?

• Can the many individuals and groups concerned about climate change be heard better if we begin to speak with one voice?

The answers are intended to guide the nation in taking comprehensive, immediate action to address the threat of climate change.

The USGBC is working closely with other groups such as the American Institute of Architects, Architecture 2030, and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers to develop tools, professional training, and new evaluation software to help design and construction professionals create more energy-efficient and climate responsive buildings. The possibilities are exhilarating and endless. But perhaps most importantly, we'll finally begin to act on the knowledge we've acquired, that better health, improved productivity, and a slowing and then a reversal of climate change are the absolute immediate results of building green.

In 2006, the USGBC's board proposed that, beginning in 2007, all new commercial LEED-certified projects be required to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent compared to current levels. By resetting the benchmark for our green building rating system, we hope to persuade everyone to take action against further buildup of the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations that drive climate change.

The USGBC challenges every architect, every contractor, every builder, every interior designer, every facilities manager, every student on a college campus, every CEO and CFO in corporate America, every commercial real estate broker, every building owner, every governor, every mayor, every city council member and every county commissioner, every consultant, every corporate real estate director—everyone—to commit to learning how they can do more to limit emissions from every new building that is constructed.

Those architects, engineers, and builders who have begun to make green design their standard need to challenge their colleagues and hold them accountable. Design for the sake of design alone is no longer an option. Design for higher performance is our pathway to a better future.

To drive ourselves and others to achieve higher-performance outcomes, the USGBC has set two audacious goals for green builders everywhere:

• 100,000 LEED-certified buildings by the end of 2010

• 1 million LEED-certified homes by the end of 2010

For those of us in the green building movement, outcomes will always matter more than good intentions. By convening the best minds, building consensus for direction, and inspiring action, we can realize our vision of a planet powered by renewable energy, populated by sustainable communities housed in green buildings and driven by clean, green innovation.

The Green Building Revolution will guide you to a deeper understanding of the problems we face and the numerous solutions now emerging from the creative work of architects, designers, engineers, contractors, building owners and facility managers, insurance and financial organizations, and manufacturers of every type across the country, and even around the world. I hope that you will take something valuable from this book and put it into immediate and measurable action in your home, your office, your school or college, and your community.

S. Richard Fedrizzi, president, CEO, and founding chairman, U.S. Green Building Council

Washington, D.C.

March 2007

A version of this foreword was presented at the Plenary Session of the Greenbuild conference in Denver, Colorado, in November 2006.


From San Diego to Boston, Seattle to Savannah, Montreal to Miami, Tucson to Toronto, Vancouver, B.C., to Washington, D.C., New York to Monterrey, Mexico, builders and developers, public agencies at all levels, and major corporations are all discovering the extraordinary benefits of green building. Between 2000 and the end of 2006, the number of green buildings has grown from a handful to more than 5,000 projects actively seeking certification of one kind or another.¹ This is the fastest-growing phenomenon to hit the building industry since the Internet.

By 2010 this revolutionary wave will inundate the worlds of architecture, finance, engineering, construction, development, and building ownership. The green building revolution responds to the great environmental crises of the early 21st century—global warming, species extinction, droughts, and severe floods and hurricanes (or typhoons), all of which are affecting our world in unprecedented ways. If we had to date this revolution, two milestones stand out: the events of September 11, 2001, which highlighted the vulnerability of an advanced economy to terrorism; and Hurricane Katrina in late August 2005, which all but destroyed a major American city, New Orleans, in a drama of natural forces and human suffering that played out on TV before an anguished public for weeks on end.

If global warming is the poster child for the problem set described above, green buildings are part of the solution toolkit. Progressive companies, government agencies, and nonprofits across the United States, and indeed around the world, are using them to create value and maintain competitive advantage. This book chronicles that revolution.

In The Green Building Revolution, you will learn of the abundant evidence supporting the economic and policy case for green buildings. I wrote this book for the intelligent layperson who is perhaps not actively engaged in architecture, development, construction, or building engineering, but who wants a quick introduction to the rationale for green building and an overview of how it is being implemented throughout the United States.

I also designed the book to be useful for public officials; for those dealing with green building or sustainability requirements from within or outside a company, organization, or agency; for those whose livelihood depends on financing, building, or marketing commercial and residential developments; and for senior executives in universities, government agencies, and large corporations who need to understand what all the fuss is about.

The book addresses several key questions: How large is the green building movement today? How is it affecting commercial, primary and secondary school, higher education, hospital, and government buildings? What are the economic benefits and costs of green buildings? And what can you do to further the green building revolution?

For the past ten years I have been involved in building design and construction, and I've been active in the green building movement since 1999. Knowing how long it has taken me to become conversant with the world of green building and the larger issues it addresses, I wanted this book to accelerate public understanding of the importance of the green building revolution in addressing the climate-change, energy, and environmental challenges of our times. According to NASA climate scientist James Hansen, the continuation of business as usual in business, transportation, and industry will likely result in the destruction of 50 percent of all species on the planet by 2100 unless we take firm, irrevocable actions to reduce the continuing increase in carbon dioxide generation from human activities by 2016.² Time is short, and we need action.

I hope this book will help you to play a role in this great undertaking. I welcome your feedback at my personal e-mail address,, or via my web site,

I want to thank all the people who contributed to the case studies and interviews in this book and to all those leading the green building revolution in their companies, organizations, agencies, cities, and states. We interviewed and obtained valuable information from the following: John Boecker, Penny Bonda, Jim Broughton, Laura Case, Richard Cook, Peter Erickson, Huston Eubank,