Independence Day – New Meaning for Sustainability
America’s fight for independence and freedom from oppression has long been our greatest legacy. In order to continue our heritage, we should also consider sustainability as a critical path to achieving our independence as well as our financial and economic interdependence.
The importance of sustainability and the continued evolution of our planet continues to be a polarized social and economic challenge. The coined phrase, we must adapt or die, couldn’t be a more appropriate statement than it is today. According to a United Kingdom website resource: One of the key concepts of sustainable development is the interdependence of society, economyand the natural environment.
Written over two decades ago and introduced at the UIA/AIA World Congress of Architects in Chicago, June 1993, the Declaration of Interdependence for a Sustainable Future was memorialized. The document was created to dutifully describe the principles necessary to incorporate global, sustainable economic and environmental policies. Still if we consider the timeline of over 20 years later, could we have achieved more to protect our resources and effect change in environmental policies?
Clean water, air, food and resources to provide shelter and support life represent the earth-human sustainability experience; but social behavior and culture is the driver of adoption. Much like the cell phone, internet and other 21st Century technological advancement, mass consumption and adaption always wins.
But wouldn’t it be a grand accomplishment for human’s to create sustainable models that can endure for generations to come? As history dictates, It remains to be seen as to what legacy our great, great grandchildren will inherit and endure from our generation’s actions and choices. We can only hope we’ll strike the fine balance of an interdependent sustainable existence.
The following excerpts are taken from Green Energy Money’s Book available online.
The Solution Is Possible!
America’s energy consumption can be drastically slashed if most homes and commercial buildings are upgraded to achieve higher building performance. Reducing energy consumption by upgrading buildings can result in lower payments and provide financial security from rising utility costs. This should be an important consideration for consumers.
Everything needed to solve this problem is already at hand. There is no need to wait for new technological breakthroughs. America has the applied and clean technology, building materials, tax initiatives, green building science know-how, trained and deployed a skilled and ready workforce—everything owners need to make their buildings more energy-efficient.
Steps can now be taken to dramatically improve building performance with a far reaching impact:
- America could reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil. Energy costs would stabilize and infrastructure costs may even drop. Nuclear power plant construction would not be needed.
- Government could stop spending billions of tax dollars to subsidize high energy costs. Jobs would be created in green construction, manufacturing, product sales, lending, technology, and other sectors. Property values and declining real estate markets could be dramatically improved.
- Renovation of antiquated building stock would greatly improve the chances of energy reduction goals and reduce deferred maintenance costs and risk. Environmental benefits would lead to a healthier, more sustainable existence. Economic recovery would happen more quickly.
With a list of benefits like these, it’s hard to believe that so many Americans are not taking action. Educated, informed property owners can take steps now to “green up” homes and buildings and become more energy interdependent and financially independent.
Why it’s Time to Take Action Now
- Rising energy, interest, and building costs will make upgrades for energy efficiency and high-performance building less affordable in the future. The cost for improvements made today can increase 20-30% over the next decade. Other benefits of improved health, occupancy comfort, indoor air quality, and building durability with lower maintenance costs make a strong case for acting now.
- Energy efficient and renewable tax credits (now set to expire in 2020) are at risk of being phased out . We also face future policy makers who may not favor energy reduction policies.
The future of our world’s energy and financial interdependence depends greatly on our engagement with green initiatives and high performance building. “Greening up” our buildings is a solution that will create enormous impact with energy reduction goals and our economic recovery. Neighborhoods can take advantage by deploying green upgrades in all of the homes in their community. GEM’s HiPP Initiative offers affordable economic solutions for communities to engage and lower their energy operating costs collectively. Mass purchase orders for equipment, installation with contractors and loan prices and fees can lower costs dramatically and afford price reductions that individuals would not be able to achieve alone; collectively communities can benefit greatly by combining resources and buying power.
The benefits of joining community resources to green up our neighborhoods include:
- Improved property values; higher marketability for the neighborhood
- Reduced energy loads and utility bills
- Reduced infrastructure overhead costs for HOAs; common areas usually cost HOAs monthly fees for operating cost