Creating a ‘Win-Win’ in Buildings

Architects daily face a challenge to create an economic “win” for their clients while coming up with an environmental “win” for the rest of us, according to Charles E. Bell, AIA, NCARB, president of theGreenTeam Inc., 136 E. 18th St.
“What we have to do as design professionals is make Tulsa owners, builders and developers aware of the real issues involved in sustainability and green building,” Bell said. “Perceptions (real or perceived) affect how people do business. Until these perceptions change, they will affect how projects are built and how people live.”
During 2006, theGreenTeam saved clients:
? $42 million in energy costs
? 673 million kWh of electricity
? 151 million gallons of water
? $102 million in labor costs
? 86,800 tons of construction materials
? 410,000 tons of CO2.

Sustainable Development
“We are fortunate to have created a successful business based upon sustainable development,” he said. “We have done that by demonstrating that sustainability is about eco-efficiencies —environmental efficiencies that make economic sense.”
The firm works with clients to identify trends and synergies and help them respond to those, Bell said.
“That usually results in new habits with new profits and environmental benefits,” he said.
Most of the company’s work is with repeat clients, including Wal-Mart, Nestlé and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“We have been quite successful in generating the ‘win-win,’” he said.
“Green” architecture has not impacted Tulsa — yet.
“Tulsa has lagged with respect to sustainability and green building,” Bell said.
Since its founding in 1998, most local inquiries to theGreenTeam have come from homeowners. The company’s environmental consulting has been primarily for Fortune 500 companies, non-governmental organizations and government agencies, Bell said.
Most of the work has been out of state.
“A great deal of our work involves strategic planning for sustainability and sustainable development,” he said. “So we have not been able to assist at that homeowner level.”

Web-based tool
What the company has done, however, is create the GreenPLUS Registry.
The free, Web-based tool enables homeowners to rate and improve their efforts toward sustainability, Bell said.
“It is our way of giving back,” he said.
The tool is called GreenPLUS because it expands common notions of “green” by including health and safety impacts. GreenPLUS provides scores in terms of health, safety and welfare (
Bell suspects “green” will gain momentum over the next 2 to 5 years.
“We have inquires every week about projects in Oklahoma that are considering green. We hope that it soon will go beyond consideration,” he said.
Once owners and developers understand that sustainability is about eco-efficiencies, they will realize that green building will be very cost effective rather than the notion that green costs more money to build, Bell said. ?

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