In this report, the Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) recommends that North American leaders make green building a foundational driver for environmental, social, and economic improvement in Canada, Mexico, and the United States
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Buildings in North America are major consumers of electricity and water and contribute an estimated 35 percent of the continent’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Building greener, more environmentally sustainable structures can reduce the environmental impacts of our buildings. In fact, the US Green Building Council estimates that green buildings, on average, reduce energy consumption by 30 percent, water use by 30 to 50 percent, and carbon emissions by 35 percent.
Green buildings are already being constructed across North America, winning awards for cutting-edge design, intelligent use of “gray” water, integrating solar panels or passive solar construction, or achieving “net-zero” carbon emissions status, and yet we lack a comprehensive understanding of the wide range of innovative green building technologies, materials and practices available throughout North America.
The CEC’s 2008 Green Building in North America: Opportunities and Challenges report made specific recommendations to help make green building a standard practice for all new and existing buildings in North America. Through this project, a new Trilateral Green Building Construction Task Force will build on those recommendations by creating a blueprint for eliminating barriers and accelerating the growth of green building across the continent.
The task force, whose members will include leaders from the green building industry, researchers, and government officials from across North America, will help identify opportunities for, as well as obstacles to, the construction of green buildings and the use of green building materials in North America.
To develop its blueprint, the task force will meet with building industry leaders and experts, who will help address issues such as common approaches to certification systems for green building practices and materials, best practices for building performance, and incentives for reducing energy and water consumption.