Despite a common misconception, environmentalists say buildings and not vehicles are the primary sources responsible for CO2 emissions. From skyscrapers to family homes, energy experts say buildings emit twice the level of carbon dioxide as cars.
General Motors' Low Emission Car Factory Kate Brooks: While most of us probably think global warming is primarily caused by this, the fact these buildings from skyscrapers to the family home are responsible for more CO2 emission than automobiles. Kimberly Hosken: If you’re generating power, you are emitting CO2 and the demand for that power is what the building is using to power the lights, power the mechanical system even what we call plug loads for your computers and your various electronic devices. All of that power is being demanded of a power plant that is emitting CO2 in the atmosphere. Kate Brooks: So, in order to encourage better building design, the Green Building Council now rates construction and land management practices and hands out coveted Gold Certificates to those buildings that measure up to their global friendly criteria. And for the first time ever, one of the winners was an Automobile Assembly Plant in Lansing Michigan. Rick Ryczek: We built this plant with a very tightly enclosed building envelope. We utilized a highly insulated roof panels and wall panels. We built a central utility complex which has a central monitoring and control of all utilities in the whole plant, lighting, heating, ventilation, cooling. And we focused our light on the task at hand instead of using a lot of high energy, high day lighting. Kate Brooks: The six month old plant which assembles the Saturn Outlook in the GMC Arcadia also preserved this 75-acre wildlife refuge across the street. Has drought resistant landscaping to eliminate the need for irrigation and collects rainwater from its 1.5 million square foot roof to flush the toilets. On average, the plant expects to save four million gallons of water a year and three million kilowatts of electricity. To learn more about Green Buildings, go to USGBC.org. I’m Kate Brooks.