Green buildings are not a new concept – the first green building standard came about in 1990. Yet here we are, 30 years later, and still talking about the same things.
One of the biggest challenges in the sustainability space has been accessibility.
It’s always complicated. There are always nuances. You always need expertise to understand the challenges and the solutions.
No wonder people roll their eyes and shut down.
How many times have you heard a conversation about a sustainability solution and then the two words: it’s complicated.
Here’s the thing though. It isn’t that complicated.
Every month there are conferences, webinars, panels, working groups, and task forces that come together to discuss the green building market and how to drive change. I’ve lost track of how many initiatives are out there. They produce white papers, research documents, recommendations, briefings and frameworks for people to use to guide them.
Let me say something very simple and honest…
It is a finite list.
The options aren’t endless, and they aren’t all as complicated and as expensive as each other.
So why are we still dilly-dallying?
Part of it is market perception on cost and the business case, but this has been debunked again and again. Building green is a small incremental cost, there are so many green building benefits, and frankly anyone who isn’t considering sustainability or resource-efficiency in their buildings is behind the curve.
What if the issue isn’t market perception of cost?
That is why what the International Finance Corporation has done with the EDGE App is so special. The EDGE App is a free tool that transforms accessibility to green buildings by giving you a clear list of everything you can do to make a building more resource-efficient, as well as the incremental cost and return on investment data for each efficiency measure. And yes, it is entirely free without any strings attached.
Funded by the UK and Swiss governments, the tool is open for anyone to use. It brings transparency and clarity to the industry by showing exactly what companies need to do to make their buildings green, whether they are old or new, or somewhere in between. And the best part? You don’t need to be a technical expert to use the web platform, which reduces a barrier of entry for many around the world looking to understand green buildings.
Green building certification isn’t necessary for every single building on this planet. But every building can and should be green, and that’s why the EDGE App is so powerful. It gives everyone the opportunity to understand what a green building is and implement the practices, and for those looking for certification it creates a streamlined approach to be able to achieve it without getting lost in the depths of paperwork.
So instead of building frameworks and writing 60-page white papers with lots of information that most people can’t digest, why don’t we just get everyone to plug in some basic information about their building and look at what options are available to make that building greener?
People don’t need an encyclopaedia of information (though it’s valuable to have). They need to know what they need to do, how much it is going to cost them and what the ultimate benefit is in the short-term and the long-term. That is literally it.
Making something complicated doesn’t increase its value or prestige. It simply makes it inaccessible for the majority of the population and less likely to be adopted.
We know that the net zero target is far away, and in many cases it doesn’t feel possible. But tools like EDGE give us an opportunity to change the status quo and enable mass market change, which ultimately means we can drive systemic change.
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