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Chapter 1

needs without diminishing the chance of future generations.” In 1987, the Bruntland Commission, headed by then Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Bruntland, adapted Brown’s definition, referring to sustainable development as “. . . meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” Sustainable development, or sustainability, strongly suggests a call for intergenerational justice and the realization that today’s population is merely borrowing resources and environmental conditions from future generations. In 1987, the Bruntland Commission’s report was pub- lished as a book, Our Common Future, by the UN World Commission on Environment and Development.

  • 2.

    The World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) promotes sustain- able development reporting by its 170 member international companies. The WBCSD is committed to sustainable development via the three pillars of sustainability: economic growth, ecological balance, and social progress. Its website is www.wbcsd.org.

  • 3.

    In November 1992, more than 1,700 of the world’s leading scientists, including the major- ity of the Nobel laureates in the sciences, issued the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity.” The preamble of this warning stated: “Human beings and the world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the envi- ronment and critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it may be unable to sustain life in the manner we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about.” The remainder of this warning addresses specific issues, global warming among them, and calls for dramatic changes, especially on the part of the high-consuming developed countries, particularly the United States.

  • 4.

    See, for example, Campell and Laherrere (1998).

  • 5.

    A recent report, “The Cost and Benefits of Green Buildings,” made to California’s Sus- tainable Buildings Task Force, describes in detail the financial and economic benefits of green buildings. The principal author of this report is Greg Kats of Capital E. Several other reports on this theme by the same author are available online. See the References for more information

  • 6.

    From World Health Organization (1983).

  • 7.

    The losses are estimated productivity losses as stated by Mary Beth Smuts, a toxicologist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in Marsha Zabarsky (2002).

  • 8.

    From “Ultra-violet Radiation Could Reduce Office Sickness” (2004).

  • 9.

    At the First International Conference on Sustainable Construction held in Tampa, Florida, in November 1994, Task Group 16 (Sustainable Construction) of CIB formally defined the concept of sustainable construction and articulated six principles of sustainable con- struction, later amended to seven principles.

  • 10.

    Sustainable construction and the model are described in Kibert (1994).

  • 11.

    Insolation is an acronym for incoming solar radiation.

  • 12.

    Primary energy accounts for energy in its raw state. The energy value of the coal or fuel oil being input to the power plant is primary energy, while the electricity being generated, which has lower energy value due to the inefficiency of the generation system, is simply the output energy. Consequently, primary energy accounts for the losses in energy conver- sion, generation, and transmission.

  • 13.

    A description of severe water resource problems beginning to emerge even in water-rich Florida can be found in the May/June 2003 issue of Coastal Services, an online publica- tion of the NOAA Coastal Services Center, available at www.csc.noaa.gov/magazine/ 2003/03/florida.html. A similar overview of water problems in the western United States can be found in Young (2004).

  • 14.

    An overview of xeriscaping and the seven basic principles of xeriscaping can be found at http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/extension/xeriscape/xeriscape.html.

  • 15.

    The Adam Joseph Lewis Center at Oberlin College was designed by a highly respected team of architects, engineers, and consultants and is a cutting-edge example of green buildings in the United States. An informative website, www.oberlin.edu/envs/ajlc, shows real-time performance of the building and its photovoltaic system.

  • 16.

    The Whole Building Design Guide can be found at www.wbdg.org.

  • 17.

    The design approach used in creating Solaire in Battery Park, NewYork City, plus updates on construction progress can be found at www.batteryparkcity.org. Another website with detailed information and illustrations is www.thesolaire.com.

Introduction and Overview


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