STARTING AT HOME. LEADING A GLOBAL FUTURE.
Americans currently comprise 5% of the world’s population yet produce 25% of global CO2 emissions. That adds up to more than 12,000 watts of continuous fossil energy, emitting more than 20 tons of CO2 per year per capita.
Leadership in the homeland is not only welcome but necessary.
IT'S TIME TO TACKLE A BIG PROBLEM: AMERICAN BUILDINGS CONTRIBUTE 48% OF TOTAL CO2 EMISSIONS.
48%. That's how much American buildings and building-related activities (use, operation, retrofitting, product manufacturing and transportation related to building products) contribute to all CO2 emissions.
And since buildings have one of the longest life-spans of all "human tools" using fossil fuels, their impact on climate change is intense and far-reaching.
A fragmented, traditional American building industry can't change this. A more holistic approach is needed; one that involves global partnership and collaboration; one that leverages new approaches, technology, products and talents; one that begins right here at home, right now.
INTRODUCING THE GREEN BRIDGE:
LEVERAGING GLOBAL KNOWLEDGE TO CREATE BETTER BUILDINGS IN THE U.S.
The Green Bridge will demonstrate American global leadership in the fight against climate change by making leading edge, high-performance, sustainable buildings a reality for U.S. educational institutions.
The knowledge to construct buildings that address climate change is already being applied in Europe. The German Passivhaus Standard has become the benchmark for buildings throughout the European Union and beyond.
Another European initiative --– co-created by a Green Bridge team member -– is The 2000-Watt Society – a global energy-vision developed by Novatlantis, the Center for Sustainability at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. It's based on research that defines the base amount of energy necessary to maintain the quality of life in today’s industrialized nations. The vision of the 2000-Watt Society is related to the need to reduce CO2 emissions and the impact of these emissions on climate change. And it works.
Living comfortably and sustainably is a reality so many people are enjoying throughout the world. It's time to leverage more of these benefits in the U.S.
The first certified Passivhaus Standard building in the U.S. was built in Bemidji, Minnesota – one of the most severe, cold climates in the country. With leadership by Green Bridge team members, the BioHaus was built through collaboration with the local building trades, U.S. and European product manufacturers, and an educational institution dedicated to impacting climate change. Funding to assist in meeting the Passivhaus Standard came from the German Foundation for the Environment and the Kresge Foundation.
CLOSING A MAJOR GAP IN U.S. CLIMATE-CHANGE LEADERSHIP.
In building the BioHaus and other Passivhaus and sustainable projects throughout the world, Green Bridge team members have focused on one goal: construct buildings that increase user comfort while stabilizing the use of CO2 thus eliminating the effects of – or contribution to – climate change.
Stabilization of CO2 levels means that global emissions need to be reduced to 1 ton of CO2 per capita per year – about 500 Watts of fossil energy or about 120 gallons of gasoline. The BioHaus and other structures built within 2000-Watt and Passivhaus Standards are already being constructed in this manner:
The average U.S. building, however, contributes to a society needing 12,000 watts per capita to run effectively. This is the major gap in U.S. climate-change leadership.
MOBILIZING NATURAL CHAGE AGENTS: AMERICAN COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
Out of their deep concern for the “unprecedented scale and speed of global warming and its potential for large-scale, adverse health, social, and ecological effects,” American colleges and universities have already exerted leadership in the pursuit of climate neutrality. Acting individually as well as jointly, many higher education institutions have articulated sustainability goals and America's prestigious universities are leading these efforts.
Unfortunately, the existing means of achieving these goals are limited and lacking. From capital cost to scheduling and staffing constraints – coupled with the patchiness of consultants’ knowledge and experience – many educational institutions are poised to achieve only modest gains in building and user performance.
But with the holistic, measurable and experienced services of The Green Bridge, significant progress and inspired results will be achieved.
Leadership, innovation and action: the heart of our higher learning educational institutions.
American colleges and universities are the face of the future. They employ some of our best, brightest and most influential educators. They inspire leaders of tomorrow. And current students, “Generation M,” are ready to respond to The Green Bridge.
A group of change-agents and early adopters, today’s college students are passionate and in action with their causes -– especially when it comes to advocating for a more harmonious relationship with our environment. Raised on collaboration, technology and global interaction, international issues are simply part and parcel of Gen M’s daily learnings and realities. And they share this knowledge freely and frequently.
Gen M has been called the "hand-me-up" generation: that is, what we don't provide for them, they'll hand up to their elders, whether it's new technology or a new environment. They're in action. They're productive. They're a powerful group to inspire and mobilize toward the vision of The Green Bridge.
TAPPING INTO A GROWING CONSTRUCTION NEED.
Education construction is currently the largest institutional construction category, accounting for about 16.5 % of total nonresidential building activity or about $50 billion annually. And it is only set to expand.
Strong enrollment growth, particularly at the high school and college levels, has pushed up construction levels. During the next decade, with continued enrollment growth driving renewal of existing assets and construction of new facilities, educational construction spending is projected to increase an average of 5% per year. This influx of projects is primed to either serve as a wasteful example of outdated building design or as a tipping point moving the U.S. toward a sustainable future.
The Green Bridge leads to the tipping point.
ACTIVATING THE PLAN:
IMPACT GLOBAL CHANGE THROUGH AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP.
Given the value and mission alignment of educational institutions, the education construction market offers a timely and effective opportunity to move the U.S. toward an environmentally sustainable future.
Established as a non-profit organization to partner with educational institutions to deliver significant improvements in building performance, user satisfaction and global sustainability, The Green Bridge will offer these services:
- Integrated planning
- Project development
- Project steering
- Facility operation
- Research and education
Benefits will include:
• Application of best practices in building technology and performance, highlighting the positive impact of its application on people and the environment.
• Each college or university project will stand as a research tool for construction and operation of high-performance facilities.
• Constructing and operating energy- and resource-efficient buildings will improve livability and outcomes for building users.
• New higher-education buildings will be beacons of innovation, lighting a new path for other American construction market segments and other countries.
• The ongoing collaboration of European and American professions will contribute to the United States’ global leadership in addressing the global warming issue.
The ultimate goal of The Green Bridge is to present the educational building sector as the “lighthouse” for other industries to learn about and replicate.
MEET THE TEAM THAT WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN.
The Green Bridge team consists of experts in the sustainable design and construction categories, all coming together to leverage their international expertise in integrated planning and high-performance building technology.
Stephan Tanner is principal of Intep, LLC Minneapolis directing Intep's eight
years of experience in the North American educational market. During his
30 years of practice, he has designed buildings in Switzerland, the United
States, and China. Having won numerous awards in national and international
competitions, Tanner's vision and leadership are the foundation of The Green
Robert Lunning is a principal in Lunning Wende Associates with 25 years experience planning and designing educational facilities. Employing scenario planning techniques, Lunning assists institutions to achieve strategic visions through high-performance environments.
Renee Sigg is principal of Intep Munich & Zurich, reflecting 27 years of sustaninable design and integrated planning experience. Sigg has consulted in Europe and the United States employing the latest sustainable technology to generate high living standards through optimum building engineering.
Roland Stulz is Executive Director of Novatlantis, the center for sustainability at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Under his leadership, Novatlantis translates cutting-edge technology research into practical sustainability applications. The founder of Intep, Stulz is a Managing Partner of Amstein & Walthert Consulting, one of Switzerland’s largest engineering companies.
Dr. David B. Laird, Jr. brings more than 35 years of state government, higher education finance, fund raising and college administration experience to his current position as president and chief executive officer of the Minnesota Private College Council, Fund, Research Foundation, and Partners for Education Opportunity. Dr. Laird works closely with the Governor’s office, the Minnesota Legislature and members of Congress and executive branch representatives as they chart state and national higher education policy.
EVERY SECOND COUNTS.
SUPPORT THE GREEN BRIDGE. SUPPORT THE FUTURE.
You make the difference.
Please support The Green Bridge by sharing this plan and your opinions with others right now.
Your support will put working solutions in action – proven European methods fused with true American leadership – creating a new vision and representation of global leadership.