Sunday, April 20, 2014

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Mohawk Valley

Calls for green building standards

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Calls for green building standards
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It's called the U.S. Green Building Council and its goal is to convince companies and people to consider new standards for environmental and sustainable construction. The group is holding its annual meeting in Syracuse and YNN's Bill Carey says there is hope that the message is finally getting through.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Just a few years ago, the people crowding this exhibit at Syracuse's convention center might have been considered to be on the "fringe." Hawking technologies to save energy and save the environment.

But, slowly, changing realities have inched this "movement" closer to the "mainstream." More and more major companies have adopted so-called green building standards saying, in the end, they will save substantial dollars. The demand for new technology is creating a new market and more and more companies to meet the demand.

Conferences like this have seen, over the years, growth in the number of products and services being offered. The question is whether the public is finally signing on to the idea of going green.

The major projects by large companies help. Many homeowners are beginning to realize the changes that are on the horizon.

“For that awareness to spread, by word of mouth, by examples, by inspiration, is something that can take some time. We're seeing that awareness accelerate, so that more and more people are seeing what's possible,” said Paul Anastas of Yale University.

Ed Kirk helps sell products from a new LED developer in Central New York.

“People are seeing it. They like it. But, again, it's new. Okay? So, anything new people are hesitant to jump on the bandwagon really early with that,” said Ed Kirk of Ephesus Technologies.

But "newness" is not the only barrier. Often accompanying that concern, are worries about cost.

“It could be a little of both. A lot of it is the myth of it being more costly. Or the technologies not being very good because it's so new. There's a real, I think, misconception that it has to be more costly to be green. And that's not really true anymore,” said USGBC Upstate Boar Member Lewis Durland.

There is always optimism at gatherings like this that the green wave has finally arrived. But the experts here say reality is finally catching up with their dreams.

“It takes time for a homeowner to come to that point of being dissatisfied with the performance of their home, in terms of energy or indoor environmental quality, to undertake a major renovation. But, I think that tipping point, I think we're just at that tipping point, now,” said Edward Bogucz, Executive Director of the Syracuse Center of Excellence.

The proof of whether Bogucz is right may be coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

The environmental sustainability movement is also bringing a windfall of jobs. The federal government now estimates that more than three million people are employed in so-called green industries. About a quarter million of those jobs are in New York State ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP