American cities, businesses look to energy efficient buildings

October 29, 2012

Thanks to the efforts of the government and energy development companies, more than 200 federal, state and local agencies now require green-building standards as part of an effort to limit emissions and increase efficiency.

According to USA Today, businesses and city organizations are being transformed because of these new standards, and the efforts of one nonprofit group have helped the push for more efficient practices in a significant way.

The nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council, the agency behind the standards, calls itself a "diverse group of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofits, teachers and students, lawmakers and citizens," according to the news outlet.

American cities are beginning to reflect this rise in energy efficient building use, as major metropolitan areas across the U.S. have embarked on new projects to lower carbon emissions and increase sustainability.

Philadelphia is home to the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub), a consortium of institutions and minds from academia, government, private sector and the energy-development industry.

These organizations are working together to try and initiate a change in the commercial real estate market, as they are hoping that successful retrofit and renovation projects provide a national model for how efficient technology can reduce waste and lower operating costs.

Boston is also hoping to join the ranks of Philadelphia and NYC, as a new project in the city is going to help residents and businesses lower their electricity bills while limiting energy consumption in the downtown area.

The Boston Globe reported that Mayor Thomas M. Menino will soon kick off a building program that will provide resources and funding for new projects that are focused on limited-energy-use construction.

"It’s really not rocket science," Kamran Zahedi, ­president of Urbanica Inc., the developer building the first wave of homes, on Highland Street in Roxbury, told the news outlet. "People are now realizing it’s good business to build in this way."

This sentiment was mirrored by others in the city's real estate industry.

"There are a lot of architects and builders that have the ­expertise to do this," Sheila Dillon, director of Boston’s ­Department of Neighborhood Development, told the Globe. "We see this project as something people can learn from and then begin to build on larger sites using the same energy practices."