16 posts categorized "Quotable" Feed

October 02, 2010

McDonough: Efficiency Will Not Save Us


William McDonough is one of the greatest minds the environmental movement has to offer.  He's the co-author of Cradle-to-Cradle, Time's Hero for the Planet, and a recipient of the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development.  And, perhaps more importantly, he's extremely influential.  McDonough shares ideas with compelling clarity, and listeners can't help but pass the message along.  I had the opportunity to listen to McDonough's keynote at West Coast Green yesterday and took down the following quotes.

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March 31, 2009

Architects Are Creating 'Killing Machines'

William McDonough

William McDonough* has always been a beacon and true voice of environmental leadership, despite what a recent magazine article may be trying to say.  Case in point, just last week he warned of a lop-sided focus on carbon during his keynote speech at the ParkCity conference in London (organized by Cabe and Natural England).  If you've ever listened to Mr. McDonough, you know his speeches are captivating -- there's always a lot worth remembering -- but in this most recent keynote, one particular sound bite has been making the internet rounds.  He likened buildings to "killing machines:"

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June 24, 2008

Non-Green Buildings Soon to Cost Owners $$!


"At this point it is my experience green buildings are receiving the same financing they would get for any high quality building with a good tenant ... what I think will change is that lenders will start assessing a premium on financing for any building that is not designed to green standards."

Comparing green buildings to the advent of air conditioning, the quote continues:  "At first buildings that came equipped with air conditioning were seen as luxury developments.  But within a short period of time any building that didn't have it was considered functionally obsolete."

             -- Jim Amorin, president-elect of the Appraisal Institute [via]

May 15, 2008

A Perspective of Green Building [Quotable]

Bruce Irving

"Truth is, I've been a skeptic about many aspects of the green building movement.  My eyebrow arches when, for example, someone uses bamboo flooring (which is held together with lots and lots of glue, often containing formaldehyde, and is shipped to the US on bunker-oil-burning ships) to floor a new 'green' 11,000 sf house.  Tough too to get on board when magazines feature low-VOC paints on one page and walk-in showers with multiple heads and bodywashers on another.  Greenwashing, marketing whatever's hot, and just trying to make ourselves feel better as we change almost nothing about our consumption habits -- the suspicion of these plus the thought that a year's worth of green living is negated by 2 minutes operation of a coal-powered electricity plant ... you get the picture ... but after my time in the desert of cynicism, I’ve been reminded that every little bit helps, and just because larger forces are at work doesn’t mean we do nothing as individuals—as long as we keep lobbying against the big stuff, like coal-powered electricity plants."

     -- Bruce Irving, Renovation Consultant, former producer of This Old House

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January 16, 2008

Industry Outlook, a Conversation about LEED


Q: Do you think we will see more LEED and green building in the future?

Lonnie Bullard, Jacobsen Construction: I think a lot of good is coming from what's happening.  We are kind of picking the low-hanging fruit right now with this green building surge.  In other words, it makes our people feel good that they can do these kind of things and end up with a LEED certified building.

There's a lot of waste in our business, and people would like to do this, but to move to a higher level is going to be difficult.  You have a lot of owners that say, "I want a LEED certified building, but don't spend any money to get there."  To move to another level of sustainable projects and the green projects is going to take some very difficult decisions about dollars.  People are going to have to pay more to do that. 

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December 04, 2007

Thoughts on Creative Destruction + Environmentalism

The_age_turbulence I'm about halfway through Alan Greenspan's book "The Age of Turbulence."  It's quite the incredible read.  Throughout the book, he's mentioned "creative destruction," which is the idea that the old will be destroyed to make way for the new.  Not being an economist, I've thought of this process in my head as the ebb and flow of capitalism. 

There's a fairly provocative quote on creative destruction that directly implicates the future of green building, and well, I'm curious as to what everyone thinks:  "Although I am a strong advocate of 'in with the new, out with the old,' I am not an advocate of tearing down the U.S. Capitol and replacing it with a more modern, efficient office building.  However no matter what one's depth of feeling is on such issues, to the extent that creative destruction is restrained to preserve icons, some improvement in material standards of living is forgone."

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October 20, 2007

McDonald's Responds to Fast Company's LEED Criticism

McDonald's LEED

You've probably heard that Fast Company wrote a recent article about some of the potential problems with the LEED system.  Well, Bob Langert, Vice President of CSR at McDonald's, just wrote a small response to Fast Company Magazine in an article titled "LEED = Progress for the Environment."  Starting with the quote, "Perfection is the enemy of good," Langert continued:

From my own personal experience, I know that our team of engineers and building development professionals within McDonald's has studied LEED and all that the USGBC has achieved over the past decade. We joined the USGBC this year, and to us, LEED is an outstanding development that has helped advance sound, practical and motivational ways to make building construction more sustainable.

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October 11, 2007

Kiplinger's, The Green Issue - October 2007

Kiplinger's The Green Issue "This issue is a big departure for us.  In fact, I don't think we've ever devoted as many pages of an edition to a single topic.  But then, you seldom encounter a subject so full of possibilities for making money as an investor and for saving money as a consumer.  To date, global warming has been debated as a matter of government policy, and the economic fallout has usually revolved around costs and sacrifices -- pretty depressing stuff, actually.  It occurs to us, however, that confronting global warming will produce winners as well as losers.  Which would you rather be?" - Fred W. Frailey, Editor

I couldn't have said it better myself.  There is a business case for environmentalism, for sustainable progress.  Here are a few articles worth a read:

August 06, 2007

Pursuing a Ken Yeang Built World

Chongqing Tower

There's an excellent interview by CNN with Ken Yeang, principle of the UK firm Llweleyn Davis Yeang.  Almost a year ago, I wrote about Yeang's fascinating Menara Mesiniaga building, and that article has been a popular one in terms of visitors.  Yeang is an ecological, architectural visionary designing in a way that blurs the boundary between the natural and human-built environments.  With eco-logical design, the goal is to build a structure with no pollution or waste.  And we're getting there, too.  To quote Yeang, "we'll see green buildings long before 2020 -- I think the movement is intensifying. Within the next 5-10 years we'll see a lot more green buildings being built. Not just buildings but green cities, green environment, green master plans, green products, green lifestyles, green transportation. I'm very optimistic."  The green buildings pictured in this post are only a fraction of those designed by Ken Yeang.  If you're looking for more information, feel free to pick up his latest book: ECODESIGN: A Manual for Ecological Design

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July 20, 2007

The Green Book: A Gateway to Greener Living

The Green Book I was excited to receive a copy of The Green Book in the mail from Crown Publishing the other day.  Actually, my wife took it over before me, so I had to wait for her to finish.  I've been interested in reading it ever since I saw that Will Ferrell had a part in there about his electric car.  I wasn't disappointed either.  This book is excellent.  The celebrity asides really make the book shine I think.  I can just hear them talking as I'm reading it.  I've taken the liberty of including Owen Wilson's commentary below--it's a little long, but the guy just kills me.  He's so casual and chilled out, it's hard not to appreciate what he's saying.  I mean, he's absolutely dead on.  Go get a copy at the Jetson Green Sustainability Store, inside you'll find tons of discourse on the small and big things we can do (with research references if you have more questions). 

"I started driving a Prius a few years ago, and I was surprised to find myself a little defensive about it.  'You know, aside from the whole environmental thing," I'd say, almost dismissively, "it's actually a pretty cool car to drive.'  It was like I was halfway apologetic because I didn't want to be aligned with any group, or movement.  Sort of like, 'Hey, just because I'm driving a hybrid doesn't mean I'm turning into Ed Begley Jr.'  But you know people say marijuana is a gateway drug?  That's sorta what buying a Prius was for me...in terms of becoming environmentally sensitive.  Because before too long, I stopped wondering if driving it made me some kind of a preachy do-gooder and I actually started looking for other ways to 'go green." 

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