The words "government office building" may bring to mind visions of Franz Kafka's notorious clerks' office. Endless rows of literally gray partitions. Government workers packed into a maze of windowless tunnels. God forbid they should have a view of the outdoors, or be able to occasionally move from their cubes to a comfortable chair or table.
Since the economic collapse, real estate owners have sought ways to cut costs, retain tenants, increase market performance and gain competitive advantage. A deep retrofit can achieve these objectives by turning business-as-usual upgrades into profit centers. Existing buildings are full of energy efficiency opportunities waiting to be realized. While some savings are obvious and easy to reach via one-off upgrades of windows, lighting and appliances, by using an integrated, whole-buildings design approach, profoundly larger energy savings can often be gained at little or no added capital cost.
Turn on the TV, and you will likely view a commercial featuring the plug-in capable Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf. Reading the paper, you have no doubt encountered news about their much-anticipated launch (GM will publicly launch the Volt later this month).Turn on the TV, and you will likely view a commercial featuring the plug-in capable Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf. Reading the paper, you have no doubt encountered news about their much-anticipated launch (GM will publicly launch the Volt later this month).
Last month, after a state senate bill increasing California's renewable energy standard failed to pass, the state's Air Resources Board (CARB) increased the goal on their own, establishing the 33 percent by 2012 renewable electricity standard. California now claims the country's highest renewable energy standard, with Colorado close behind -- 30 percent renewable by 2020.
Victor Olgyay is a principal architect with the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Built Environment Team. He sees future buildings as “Green Machines,” factories for the production of ecological infrastructures.