PCSD's MODEL INDUSTRIAL PARK
The President's Council on Sustainable Development chose Cape Charles, Virginia as a site for a model industrial park to prove industries can be "environmentally intelligent." A three-day design work session in early April brought that vision to the drawing board. According to William McDonough, design team leader and dean of the University of Virginia's College of Architecture, "What we're in now is a crisis of creativity. We have no clue about what an eco-industrial park is. Nobody does. It's a brand-new day." The work session brought together government officials, businessmen, professionals, and citizens. Among other things, their design would improve water quality by reducing the amount of paved area and using wetlands to improve wastewater systems. -The Virginian-Pilot, April 6, 1995, p. D1, by Karen Jolly Davis.
PAYING FOR GROWTH
Michael Kinsley, senior researcher at Rocky Mountain Institute, challenges the assumption that growth generates more in taxes than it demands in new services. Kinsley's paper "Paying for Growth, Prospering from Development" argues that communities often find themselves in a vicious circle. To pay for infrastructure that growth demands, they must encourage more growth on an even larger scale. Local policies often subsidize growth by not reflecting its true cost, unwittingly encouraging sprawl, strained services, and higher taxes. Kinsley suggests local government officials hooked on growth should take into account all of growth's costs. –Rocky Mountain Institute Newsletter, Spring 1995, p. 6.
ASSESSING GREEN BUILDING MATERIALS
Life cycle, or "cradle-to-cradle", assessments analyze the environmental impact of building materials at each stage of their life. These evaluations consider raw material sources, energy used and pollutants produced in manufacturing, and reuse. Comparing different materials, however, is complicated. For example, one material might result in contaminated water run-off. Another might cause air pollution. Determining which impact is less severe-and which product is greener-is tricky. The article lists eleven "green products" organized by CSI divisions. -Progressive Architecture, April 1995, p. 86, by Alex Wilson.
Once concerned about the bottom-line impact of environmental restrictions, many companies are now finding that environmentalism pays. In the last 25 years, American industry has spent an estimated $1 trillion to preserve and protect the environment. Today many companies exceed government regulations. For example, Dow Chemical has spent $11 million over the last three years on projects that will eliminate 56 million pounds of hazardous and non-harzardous waste. Dow expects to save $12 million from the projects. -The Christian Science Monitor, April 21, 1995, p. 19, by Jerry J. Jasinowski.
WORLDWATCH REPORT ON GREEN DESIGN
The Worldwatch Institute, a Washington DC-based environmental think tank, recently released a new report "A Building Revolution: How Ecology and Health Concerns Are Transforming Construction." The report warns that without better building design and construction to conserve global resources, "already severe environmental problems may grow much worse." The report praises the architectural firm Hellmuth, Obata, & Kassabaum, Inc., among others, for environmental and health evaluation of materials specified for projects. -Engineering News Record, April 3, 1995, p. 27.
TAKING STOCK AT 25
On the 25th anniversary of Earth Day, environmental trends are, for the most part, positive. Regulatory legislation-including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act-has proved to be strikingly effective, while costing less than anticipated and improving the economy. Yet advocates at both ends of the political spectrum are playing down the successes. The left is afraid of environmental good news because it undercuts historically-effective impending doomsday pessimism. The right is reluctant to acknowledge that regulations can produce benefits at affordable cost. -The New Yorker, April 10, 1995, p. 38, by Gregg Easterbrook.