HGHB Architect Ken Scates Gives Green Building Presentation at Spanish Bay

HGHB architect Ken Scates recently gave a presentation about basic green building principles to the Pacific Grove Rotary.Presented to a group of 60 people during a luncheon at The Inn at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach, Scates explained that with sustainable development emerging as a major issue among communities, a growing interest in high-efficiency, low environmental impact buildings is rapidly transforming building design, construction, and operation. Currently in the United States, buildings consume:

• 40% of total energy used
• 68% of electricity used
• 12% of potable water supplies
• 40% of raw materials used

“It stands to reason that if we can improve our building practices we’ll have a significant impact on the overall environment,” Scates said.

Scates stated that there is no single blueprint for green building; rather, it is a set of processes that may be adapted to best suit the needs of the particular project and community. Green building practices revolve around a few basic principles: conserve energy and resources; minimize impact on the environment; and create healthy environments for people. According to Scates, creating healthy environments bears the most importance since “It’s not just about saving the planet. It’s about saving us.”

Scates shared examples of buildings varying from “not green” to “extreme green.” He explained that although builders covet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification as a way to gain tax credits, attract tenants, and project an image of environmental responsibility, there can be a huge gap between design and construction, and how some buildings actually perform. Some LEED certified buildings for instance, utilize a gas-guzzling cooling system. Despite LEED rating, Scates said, a building has to be assessed as a whole in terms of actual energy efficiency.