We know that, on a personal level, efficiency saves money. It also reduces our impact on our strained environment, which is becoming a bigger concern with each passing year. There are many average people who are changing their habits and the way they interact with their environments so as to embrace green living.
People are buying organic, installing green devices like solar-powered garage doors, and even building green homes. But there is always more that can be done, and as is the case with the individual consumer, being efficient can save taxpayers money as well.
Many scoff at the idea that government buildings should be built green — as it means that we, the taxpayers have to foot the bill for this. However, sometimes spending a bit more on the outset costs a lot less in the end. What we often forget is that we have to pay for the maintenance, upkeep, and operating costs of these buildings as well. This illustrates exactly how spending more to make a government building efficient can actually save taxpayers in the long run.
A number of different technologies are utilized in green building design that allow for the reduction of resource use and operating costs. A green roof, which involves the planting of low-growing plants on flat buildings, has been shown to reduce heating costs. The plants add an extra layer of insulation to the building, which helps keep it more comfortable year round.
Passive solar lighting is also becoming very popular, as taking advantage of natural sunlight means a decreased need to use artificial lighting and heating. Many also feel that natural light provides a much more pleasant working environment for those who work within the building. Other technologies such as low-flow faucets, waterless toilets, tankless water heaters, and more, are also employed in these buildings.
We should take a “big picture approach” to being environmentally friendly. It is vital that not only our own dwellings, but those which help our country function, are built for an energy-efficient and environmentally future. These buildings do not only reduce our impact on the environment, they also cost less to maintain and operate.
The greenly built courthouse in Seattle, WA uses a range of different efficiency technologies in design and operation and has seen a 35% reduction in operating costs when compared to similar buildings. These savings can add up very quickly!
image credit: gwarcita on flickr