Global Financial Crisis
We do not need to buy sun power to use solar energy, nor do we need to buy the air to get wind energy. The cost to switch to these new systems may be expensive to start, but the maintenance will be more cost efficient than importing oil at the amounts we do and at the current cost. (FT Business, PG. 1) Wind is a favored sub-sector in the BlackRock portfolio because it is affordable, low carbon, and scalable power generation technology of choice. (FT Business, PG. 1) Wind accounts for the largest share of new generation capacity installed in the US and Europe in 2007, respectively at 30% and 40%.
(FT Business, PG. 1) Ed Guinness co-manages Guinness Asset Management’s Dublin-domiciled says it is not only the cost of fuel that is driving up electricity prices, but also increases in the raw materials needed for construction. (FT Business, PG. 1) He also stated that prices of oil, gas and coal are all increasing tremendously and so are the construction costs of power plants, stating it now costs twice as much to make electricity from new-build gas turbines than it did one year ago making wind and solar energy highly competitive.
(FT Business, PG. 1) With that said it is now in the times of economic struggles that America should make change that will be benefited in the years to come. Some manufacturers, such as, agriculture, food processing, metal refining, paper manufacturing and the chemical industry have switched to alternative energy to join the “Green” campaign that has been moving through the world for years. (Katz, PG. 16) The main alternative energy the manufacturing applications have used is electricity and thermal energy.
(Katz, PG. 16) James Lee, an associate professor in the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at the Rochester Institute of Technology, stated that manufacturing companies are working in both of these areas to reduce consumption and expand the use of alternatives to fossil fuel. Many manufacturers are investing in combined heat and power (CHP) systems that produce both electricity and heat for their manufacturing processes. CHP systems increase energy efficiency by making better use of the energy.
Using a CHP system also enables companies to produce electricity directly from alternative fuel sources such as biofuels, hydrogen and solid municipal waste. (Katz, PG. 16) Unlike Solar and wind energy, thermal energy is not really a natural resource, but still more cost efficient and less risky to be dependent on than oil & fossil fuels. In the years to come it will be increasingly important to make better decisions on what kinds of energy we want to produce to power our world. With alternative energy becoming more affordable and oil prices raising it may be the best time to change.
According to the EIA, the United States has 21 billion barrels of proved oil reserves as of January 1, 2000. The U. S. uses about 6. 6 billion barrels per year. That is only enough oil to last the U. S. about three and a half years without importing oil from other countries. (Churchhill, 2000) The chart above shows the reduction in oil if the U. S was forced to use the oil they have in reserve from 2001 to 2003, it shows that by 2004 the US will run out of oil and be unable to keep producing in the masses they need.
Going “Green” will be cost efficient now and will help save on resources the US is currently burning through. Being dependent on fossil fuels & oil is risky and if change is done soon it will become harder to weed off to alternative energy. The real question is, in our economic times isn’t it too expensive not to switch to alternative energy? Green Construction Helping What can we all do on trying to find a solution for the global financial crisis we are in?
Many of us have tried to come with a solution, along with governments who have tried to come up with rescue packages to bail us out of the financial systems. As we face these hardships on trying to stay afloat in these crises we are put in, there could only be an upside of opportunities as we all try to prosper from this. Part of this research paper is based on how the “Green Building” construction movement could help the global financial crisis that we are facing, and the benefits that go along going green.
Even though going “Green” may seem expensive up front, it pays off in the long run, “like an investment”. What Green Building Is “Green Building”, which is also known as sustainable building, is a “structure that is designed, built, renovated, operated, or reused in an ecological and resource-efficient manner” (Dick, 2009). This type of construction is used on buildings and houses, and what classify them “Green Certified” are the materials used to construct (i. e. concrete, rubber, steel, carpentry, and the types of wood for framing, fencing, and cabinetry).
These materials are reused materials from landfills or other sources, and the wood is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sustainability harvested sources. There is special type of insulation, windows, and roof paneling for a classified “Green Building,” this is to make the building more energy efficient. Saving money on energy bills, protecting the environment and improving health standards are great incentives of constructing a “Green” building or home. How can the “Green Building” construction help with the Global Financial Crisis?
As people may be aware of the stimulus plan that has just been passed by the president of the United States of America, “six billion is to make federal buildings “green” and energy efficient” (Clemmitt, 2009). This alone would get people back working and stimulate the economy; Home Depot alone was hit hard because of the lack of construction being done. The amount of business lost is unbelievable. This is a perfect example on how the economy affected construction building. With no construction being done, many Home Depots have gone out of business all around, and the one’s that remain open are dead with hardly any employees to help.
“The construction business was among the first to slow drastically as the United States entered a recession in December 2007, but most other industries now also have slowed — with accompanying layoffs. In January 2009 alone, 598,000 people nationwide lost their jobs, the biggest monthly total since 1974” (Clemmitt, 2009). The spending on infrastructure should create jobs for those who lost and the ones who want to change their career path. With new innovating practices of “Green” architecture, this would push those to go back to school for certification on construction trades.
This pushes money spending for schooling, and materials for jobs giving by the government to make buildings “green”. President Barack Obama has recently passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and it has been enacted by congress. “The act is designed to pump additional demand for goods and services into the economy, partly by creating jobs and retooling infrastructure for the future” (Clemmitt, 2009). Not only will this act produce jobs, but it would also be beneficial for the environment, health, and on the pockets of owners, when saving money on the energy bill.
President Obama has stated that “programs will benefit the economy both in the current recession and long term. For example, grants to weatherize homes — modifying them to reduce energy consumption — will “immediately put people back to work,” (Clemmitt, 2009). Going “Green” is no longer a movement like back then, green is now a world market. “Americans will spend an estimated $500 billion this year on products and services that claim to be good for the environment because they contain non-toxic ingredients or produce little pollution and waste.
While some shoppers buy green to help save the planet, others are concerned about personal health and safety. Whatever their motives, eco-consumers are reshaping U. S. markets” (Weeks, 2008). The $500 billion in products and services is doubled of last year’s numbers and it could only go up, as everyone is becoming more consciousness about the environment and health. Home and building construction techniques have changed from the past to become more innovative in becoming energy efficient. It seems like everyone is trying to ride the new wave of the “green” business.
Many companies are pushing to green their operations because of this fast growing market. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has stated that “this is the most perfect time . . . to lay out a plan to rebuild America, just like Roosevelt has done because it would stimulate the economy and it would create a tremendous amount of jobs,” “It’s not spending. It’s an investment in a stronger economy” (Clemmitt, 2009). With crisis, creates opportunities, which means people are going to try to get into the green market.