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Guest Commentary: What to Do About Pending “Green” Legislation

Written by Heidi Schwartz. Posted in Energy, Environment, FacilityBlog, Sustainability, Topics, Web Exclusives

Tagged: , , ,

Published on August 18, 2008 with 1 Comment

This guest commentary comes from George Ahn, president and CEO of TRIRIGA.

Cities across the nation are accelerating the implementation of more stringent green building legislation—take Mayor Newsom of San Francisco, for example, who just signed what’s being called the “nation’s most aggressive green building legislation.” If you take a look at the energy platforms for both presidential candidates, you’ll see that nationwide legislation is not far behind.

Obama vows to establish a goal that would make all new buildings carbon neutral by 2030; he also hopes to establish a national goal of improving existing building efficiency by 25% over the next decade.  McCain proposes a cap-and-trade system that would set limits on greenhouse gas emissions and force companies to pay for excess carbon emissions. 

The bottom line is that green building legislation is coming—and companies, their CEOs, their SVPs of Real Estate, and their facilities managers need to get ready. Rather than waiting for the specific details around “how much” and “how strict” the legislation will be, executives and managers need to be asking themselves, “How do I start measuring my carbon footprint so I’m prepared when the legislation is passed?”

If corporate executives do not have a factual representation of their carbon footprint today, they cannot possibly benchmark for the future and stand up to government scrutiny and audits.  As legislation moves forward, all companies will be held accountable for their carbon footprints, so why not start measuring now before the demands are in place?

The problem is that most companies today cannot measure their carbon footprints, let alone say how they will go about reducing them.  With the right measurement system—and these technologies are already on the market—the benefits can outweigh the costs because energy savings will kick in and investors, customers, and regulators will stand by companies that can back up their green-building talk with real data.

For more information on carbon footprint measurement visit this link.

About Heidi Schwartz

Heidi Schwartz

Schwartz joined Group C Media in April 1989 as managing editor of Today's Facility Manager (TFM) magazine (formerly Business Interiors) where she was subsequently promoted to editor/co-publisher of the monthly trade magazine for facility management professionals. In September 2012, she took over the newly created position of internet director for TFM's parent company, Group C Media, where she is charged with developing content and creating online strategies for TFM and its sister publication, Business Facilities. Schwartz can be reached at

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  1. This should infuriate every FM and CFO in the US. While marketing folks are getting in lock-step and guzzling the anti-carbon kool-aid and while the cost of energy and corporate taxation makes the US less and less competitive on the world stage — here comes the nasty dynamic duo of increased regulation & taxation associated with “green mandates” from ignorant policy makers that wouldn’t know the difference between a KWH and a volt. These are the same people that think an “AMP” is an energy drink!

    This is an terrible scam and instead of simply grabbing the ankles, FMs should be getting indignant and warning their politically powerful executives what this will cost and rallying resistance against ever more government intrusion in the private sector.


    Poor Richard

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