How a building is made, what it is made with, and how it will remain efficient over its lifespan are questions that date way back. Yet as contractors, we live in a world that is no longer content to let the answer to those questions be dictated solely by the bottom line. Instead, major new green initiatives have opened up a brand new age of eco-friendly construction.
Understanding the delicate balance that exists between the real world economy and the best of intentions is always a tricky proposition. The mission of Green America is to carefully weigh that balance and harness its power while simultaneously fostering a just and sustainable society. Utilizing the strength of the marketplace, Green America looks to end corporate irresponsibility through individual empowerment and collective action. In real-world terms, this process is two-fold and begins with promoting green, fair trade business practices in the US and abroad. Subsequently, Green America is committed to giving individuals purchasing and investment power to build green communities throughout the world.
In North Carolina, one of the most famous names in the world of hotels is also moving toward increasingly eco-friendly practices. The Ritz-Carlton of Charlotte boasts water conserving low-flow toilets and showerheads, as well as a host of energy-conserving processes that save as much as 30% of the energy expended by standard hotels. Perhaps most innovatively, the Ritz Carlton is home to a rooftop garden and over 60,000 honeybees. The many residents of the two fully contained beehives provide garden pollination and all-natural, chemical-free organic honey that is then served in the hotel’s restaurants and room service.
From Ritz-Carlton to the elegant glamour of the Strip in Las Vegas, the Palazzo Hotel & Resort is proving that when it comes to eco-friendly building, even Sin City is getting in on the action. The Palazzo is filled with green initiatives including the ability to reuse its waste, a top of the line water recycling system, and solar panels for heating. For its efforts, the Palazzo has recently named the “Most Eco-Friendly Hotel in America.”
Many of the questions that face contractors are likely to stay the same long after the Modern Age has receded into a distant memory. Luckily, as we have seen, the ever-changing answer to those questions might just ensure that we have a future to look back from. It is important for this trend to continue. There are many encouraging signs that it will, especially with the new green Las Vegas hotels continuing to be built. Other organizations need to mimic the “green blueprints” of the Ritz-Carlton and the Palazzo.
independent ‘green’ contractor and co-author of Fair Marquit Value.