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A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Posted Oct 14 2008 4:10am
Google Headquarters putting its money where its roof is.

Tired of all the bad economic news? Could you use a 121% return on your investment dollar right now? Looking for a safe place to invest your money? Then pull yourself away from your doom and gloom TV for a while and take a look at these good news videos.

Probably the best summary of the business case for high-performance green buildings was presented at Greenbuild in Chicago. This video, orchestrated by my friends at the Rocky Mountain Institute Built Environment Team is a collection of case studies where the strategies and the cost/benefit analysis are revealed for a range of building projects from residential to high-rise office buildings. They have a link at the bottom of the page for direct links to high-definition versions and shorter clips about particular building types. The common thread to all these stories is that high-performance green buildings don't have to be more expensive up front and their return on investment is often spectacular. Be sure to check out the clip on Adobe HQ if you are thinking you can't afford to upgrade your existing building. Their project had a less than one year payback and a 121% return on investment.

If you think the payback on alternative energy systems stinks, you may find this talk by Google CEO Eric Schmidt (formerly with Novell and Sun Micro Systems) of interest. Schmidt spoke recently at the Corporate Eco Forum event about Google's expected 2.5 year payback on their new $5 million solar photovoltaic installation. But he also noted that "a crisis is a terrible thing to waste," referring to the opportunity for positive change that accompanies any deep crisis. He goes on to outline his plan for 100% alternative energy in the U.S. by 2030. While you are there, you may want to learn more about the Corporate Eco Forum and who showed up there last month.

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