The building industry accounts for about 13 percent of this nation's gross domestic product. Buildings are responsible for 48 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, they consume more than 70 percent of primary electricity and 12 percent of all potable water, and they generate about half of all municipal waste.
If our "built environment" is a chief source of pollution and climate change, it can also be a valuable source of solutions. And one such solution is to build green. Green buildings reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by 40 percent on average compared to conventional construction, while lowering energy consumption by some 35 percent, water consumption by 30 percent to 50 percent, and waste generation by 70 percent.