Readers shared their views on the Atlanta Forward blog regarding energy efficiency and how Atlanta has emerged as a national showcase for strategies designed to make commercial and industrial buildings 20 percent more efficient by 2020.
Quantavious: Here’s an idea: Turn off the lights. Drive through Atlanta in the middle of most nights and you see the high-rise office buildings lit up like Christmas trees. In the many years I’ve worked in my downtown 30-story building, we’ve never once been asked to switch off the lights at the end of the day.
Building manager: Quantavious, many buildings have scaled back the lighting schedules in the evenings. Can you imagine driving through the city with no lights on? There is a fine line between saving energy and displaying your product. Most of the lights you see are architectural lights that are meant to be seen. More to your point: The lights within the building should be turned off. The lights where you work may be on a building automation system that turn off automatically at a certain time, therefore not relying on tenants to turn them on and off.
Observer: Last time I saved on water, my water rates went up. Same thing will happen with energy. You end up paying a certain amount, whether you use energy or not. The cost of energy is a fraction of the cost for having access to energy.
Mangler: Not every green building claims to save energy in the construction process. Some do. Power transmission facilities aren’t on the green bandwagon yet. Very few properties claim to generate their own energy. Some do. So balking that an Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building is only referring to its site energy use is pointless. If the building consumes less energy than a non-LEED counterpart would, then it is a success. If upgrading a building’s systems and insulation capabilities reduces its energy needs, then it’s a success. As long as the majority of our energy generation comes from non-renewable and fossil-fuel sources, it really won’t matter how green we make buildings.