Tech execs talk smart design for ‘green’ buildings
June 15, 2009, 2:09pm PDT | Length: 00:03:02
At Greentech Media’s Green Building Summit at SRI International, in Menlo Park, Calif., tech executives discuss what is needed to construct and design "green" buildings. Executives contend that many "green" buildings are not energy efficient and smart design means more than picking the right materials and products.
>> What's needed in this space? Is it better tools to measure what we have today and predict? Is it a new generation of materials, like some of the things we've heard of this morning? Is it just better design? What do people think? Chris?
>> Well as a materials geek, I would love to say that it's new materials and new products. But in fact that's about the last thing. Echoing what everybody else has said, design is ninety percent of the job. And you get the opposite impression, if you're coming into the inaudible green building as a VC, as an investor, just as a homeowner wanting to do the right thing, you go to a green building conference anywhere, and they're happening now every twenty minutes somewhere in the United States. And all you see is products, products that Matt puts in, products that I design as an engineer, products that any of us are using every day. But that's the last thing. I can design you a very super green building with terrible products. And conversely what we're seeing often, unfortunately, are really fancy buildings with really cool, snazzy products that are not green buildings. They don't save any energy, they're leaky, they're not performing one way or another. And it's not because we don't know how, it's because there is a great need for more education, especially amongst the people who design the buildings. The materials choices and systems choices are the last thing down the line. Buildings are not an abstraction, they occupy a particular place on earth, and you know where the sun is, and you know where the wind blows. Intelligent design means you account for that, make the sun and the wind and the climate work with you, not against you. Seems kind of obvious when you say it, right? But routinely people fail to do that. And what all of us have war stories here, I'm sure. Everybody I know, all of us old greenies going back a ways. Somebody designs a building with a whole bunch of west facing glass, and they come to their mechanical engineer and say, or their builder and say turn it into a lead platinum building for me, would you? Aren't there really super efficient coolers now?
>> So Bill, I -
>> You can't make up for bad design.
>> Bill I had the impression you've got some comments on this space too?
>> I think the answer is it's ninety percent design, and it's ninety percent materials, and it's ninety percent innovation.
laughter And frankly, it's putting it all together, it's a matter of never discounting any component and portion of it. Cause again, a great lead building operated poorly, you know. Really it's rank order. It's like miles per gallon on your car. You have a general idea where it is, but frankly you could probably get ten miles per gallon on a Prius if you wanted to, right? There are some just rank orders, and I think that's the key component of it, is to recognize that you can't be afraid to look out for new products, new ideas, new people. Because we've been screwing around with stuff for decades, we just got used to the risk. And the fact is the risk sometimes is not doing new things. So hopefully nobody around this group says new things are bad things, right? If we're gonna find new things, it better be in this group, this today.
==== Transcribed by Automatic Sync Technologies ====