Earth Day 2016

New York Times cover for Earth Day on April 22, 1970. (Credit:

Today is the 46th annual observance of Earth Day.  As I write this, leaders from 130 nations are gathering at the United Nations to sign the climate deal reached in Paris last December. This could be an historic day for the planet as governments focus attention on collectively curbing carbon emissions.

There are, of course, many ways individuals, organizations, building owners, etc. can play a part in ensuring the health and future of the planet we all share. Extending the useful service lives and improving the performance of buildings - that includes analyses, identification and rectification of problems in the built environment - is one important way to locally build on the momentum of the Paris Climate Summit. The Earth Day Network remind us that:

“New and existing buildings should improve energy and water efficiency, reduce waste and pollution, rely on renewable energy, and use sustainable buildings materials. These strategies can reduce energy consumption in buildings by 30-80 percent!”

Earlier this week, Ely Razin wrote an article for Forbes that points out that the initial costs of achieving energy efficiency may well be offset by the financial benefits posed by environmentally friendly property features. His article points out:

  • Buildings certified as being environmentally sustainable have higher rental or lease rates than their non-green counterparts;
  • Studies of green commercial buildings have shown a significant decrease in water, heating, cooling and electricity bills; and
  • Such properties tend to be attractive to lenders as well.

The US Green Building Council reminds us that April 22nd represents different things to different people and serves as an important reminder to think more consciously about the environment and the impact we all make. BTL Architects is here to support your efforts to save energy, save money, and secure a more sustainable future.