Come and take it: Green & booming in the South
The South is booming–and it isn’t going to stop. Data from the U.S. Census show that “when looking at the areas with the largest numeric gains, those high on the list are mainly in the South and West.” Energy is driving this massive flow of people—and money—to these states, and that presents a great opportunity for the U.S. Green Building Council and its stakeholders: These folks will need places to live, work, and learn, and we have the opportunity to ensure it’s all done in a sustainable way.
For sustainable designers, it’s time to recognize the prospects caused by hydraulic fracturing. America needs energy, and as long as there is demand, folks will find supply. As sources in the South are tapped, massive supporting infrastructure must be built.
Proponents for sustainable design must come to terms with this realization: supporters of these energy sources may very well be allied with our mission.
While being far from the only groundwork needed to carry this influx of people, Texas accounted for 16 percent of all new housing permits in 2011, an incomparable opportunity for LEED for Homes. Especially since it takes the next three states’ rates combined to exceed the Lone Star State’s percentage. The other resources needed for this expanding industry—refineries, business space, transfer stations, etc.—can all be done with sustainability in mind, too.
These professionals are already tuned to consider energy (and water) efficiency, because it's their job. They can be emphatic supporters of these design tenets, and with so much being built or renovated to make way for this industry, they understand the importance of doing so cost effectively.
But we must show them why being active in USGBC is a great benefit to them. We should advertise our education programs, symposia, service projects, opportunities to meet established professionals and build their careers, just to name a few. The depth and breadth of USGBC’s programs is second to none; no other professional society groups all the stakeholders—owners, builders, and consumers—of the built environment in one place, affording experiences offered nowhere else.
There is great opportunity here: Come and take it.