The difference between these two approaches and their methods is actually quite small. For professionals in the field it is merely another series of options—familiar choices about materials, installation and tools. On the other hand, because of the increasing popularity of green building, and the rising number of projects whose specifications include green building provisions, thinking, bidding and working green is becoming profitable; in the future it is likely to become the only reliably profitable mode of operation in a large part of the construction industry. Today green building practices are encouraged and sometimes required: in the future they will increasingly become mandated as part of industry codes and specifications.
Of course, every segment of our industry is already acquainted with conservation of energy and material; after all, that’s what plumbing, piping, heating and cooling are all about. Building green is simply another expression of the same effort and work.
New Practices for New Goals
Green building standards are rapidly being adopted in both the public and private sectors, for work as varied as a simple faucet replacement to the design and construction of major facilities. Most contractors are familiar with these standards as elements within a larger set of specifications; for instance, as a local requirement for the use of graywater in the irrigation system of a public park. It is becoming increasingly common for customers and awarding agencies to establish or to refer to standards which are comprehensive in scale—ranging from particular origins and composition of construction materials to the type and use of tools and methods of installation, all the way through to the elements of the final punch list, and occasionally beyond. One significant difference is that the green building is perceived as a set of ongoing functions rather than a temporary challenge of construction to be accomplished and left for another job. These functions often begin before the traditional scope of construction work and end beyond it, too.