Markets Greener than Green Buidling Lobby

According to a story in today’s Greenwire, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development has conducted a survey showing that people in the real estate industry don’t understand the cost-saving benefits of “green building.” Accordingly, the president of the organization concludes: “In order to achieve a step change in energy efficiency in buildings, there is a need for strongly supportive policies and regulatory frameworks.”

Hogwash. If such “green building” was saving money, there would be no need for government regulation and support. It is most likely that real estate professionals shun politically designed “green” building standards because they are foolish or even wasteful. CEI’s study on the green building issue shows that, in fact, many of these politically correct standards actually cost far more than green building experts said they would and some are even environmentally questionable.

Such results should be expected. After all, markets already produce important incentives for legitimate and economically efficient green building practices. That is why people voluntarily buy double-pained insulated windows, install insulation, and upgrade heating systems to save energy. They don’t need a government hand out or regulation to make rational decisions. When government makes such decisions we get foolish policies demanding such things as low flush toilets that require multiple flushing or washing machines that cost a bundle but don’t get our clothes clean. If the green building lobby gets it’s way, expect more foolish policies and less affordable homes.