A recent article in The New York Times is a good example of how misinformation gets disseminated. Citing a report from NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, the article gives the impression that cost savings from green building are not as readily achievable as advocates maintain.
As pointed out by Edward Mazria of Architecture 2030, this report is part of a disinformation campaign meant to stall efforts by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on improving building energy code standards. According to Mazria, in a blog post entitled, A Hog in a Tuxedo is Still a Hog, “It is clear from a simple analysis of the study that NAIOP commissioned a building energy efficiency analysis to support predetermined results.” Mazria continues,
“They did not study changing the shape of the building, its orientation or form, or redistributing windows or using different windows to take advantage of natural light for daylighting or sunlight for heating (office buildings are day-use facilities). They did not study shading the glass in summertime to reduce the need for air-conditioning, using operable windows for ventilation (not even in Newport Beach with its beautiful year-round climate), using landscaping to reduce micro-climatic impacts, employing cost-effective solar hot water heating systems, employing an energy management control system or even study the impact of using inexpensive energy-saving occupancy sensors in rooms to turn off lights.
“In other words, NAIOP intentionally kept out of the analysis all the readily available low-cost, no-cost and cost-saving options to reduce a building's energy consumption. This deliberate omission is glaringly apparent in their press release and in the NY Times article. In fact, they take so many inexpensive, energy-saving options off the table that it is impossible for the imaginary building to reach commonly achievable energy-consumption-reduction targets.
They then add an inflammatory headline to their press release, “Results show efficiencies unable to reach 30 percent mandates”, and state that, “The study provides an unbiased insight into the energy targets practical to commercial development today.”
Using this analysis as their baseline, NAIOP goes on to report, without any objective basis, that “reaching a 30 percent reduction above the ASHRAE standard (a commercial building energy code standard) is not feasible using common design approaches and would exceed a 10-year payback.” They conclude, “achieving a 50 percent reduction above the standard is not currently reachable.”
Clearly, this study is meant to confuse the public and stall meaningful legislation, insuring that America remains dependent on foreign oil, natural gas and dirty conventional coal.
NAIOP touts itself as advancing responsible commercial real estate development and advocating for effective public policy. This study and misleading campaign accomplishes none of these goals.
The American public deserves better.