Tuesday, November 11, 2008

China v. US--Top Down v. Bottom Up Green Building Standards

Via @allroads on Twitter, I found an interesting presentation on the difference between green building standards in China and the United States. As I discussed here China takes a top down approach to mandating environmental change. In the United States, it is a more bottom up, market based approach. We will see how/if this changes with a more environmentally interested president in the White House. Do you think top-down or bottom-up is more effective?


The Green Decoder said...

This is an interesting question and one that should spark a variety of opinions. This country was founded on the principles of a free market and capitalism. Of late, capitalism has gotten a bad rap because of the failures on the market and the wealth generated at the high end of the market. It isn't capitalism that was the problem, it was over involvement of government in the details, rather then regulation of standards that govern the market.

I agree we need to be moving, as a country, toward sustainable, efficient products, but let the market dictate our direction. Market demand encourages innovation. If solar power systems are too expensive today, don't force them on the public, but ask companies to build it in a different way to reduce the cost. Look at the examples the free market. Computers were once a tool only for the wealthy. You don't have to be wealthy to own one anymore.

For a family making $35,000/year, a home with 30-40K in "green" features is likely not in the cards. But a home with better windows and energy efficient lighting is cost effective and will help reduce the total carbon footprint of the home.

Crossroads said...

Thanks for picking up on my notes.

I think it is important that while consumers in the US are the driving force, it is CITIZENS in China that are the motivating force.

Why it is important to make this distinction is that in the US, investors (public and private)are looking at hurdle rates .. while the Chinese government is looking at non-financials first.. social stability, energy security, water management, etc

What strikes me as odd is that in the US you hear about how firms re making decisions based on customer need... but how many firms use the term "citizen" in the place of customer.. ??

again, I am glad you enjoyed the notes.. and I will be adding more shortly to color in some of the notes (I was posting in real time).


Juvarya Warsi, APMCP19 said...

Love your blog, and thank you. I can't seem to find the presentation you refer to, any further instructions on how to find this, please?

Thank you.
Juvarya Warsi
Light House Sustainable Building Centre