News Brief

Greed to Green: The Transformation of an Industry and a Life

by David Gottfried, foreword by Paul Hawken, WorldBuild Publishing, 2003. 260 pages, softcover, $15.95

I didn’t really expect to like this book. Maybe it’s because David Gottfried is a developer and developers tend to be so self-promoting. Or maybe it’s because I’ve read too many articles and books by nice people who fancied themselves as writers … but really aren’t. I admit that I didn’t have high expectations as I opened the small volume that David, one of our advisory board members, had given to me in Pittsburgh.

Thus, I was pleasantly surprised as I read through

Greed to Green. It’s a quick read and quite engaging. It provides fascinating insight into the evolution of the green building movement and the formation and nurturing of the U.S. Green Building Council, which David founded and almost single-handedly kept afloat during a long gestation. Though

EBN wrote about the launch of the Council, we were mostly on the outside during its early years. It was fascinating to learn some of the machinations that went on as David and the other Council founders struggled to pull many disparate people, companies, and organizations together into what is truly one of the most unique organizations in America.

It was also interesting to learn about David’s own evolution from a bottom-line-driven developer wearing $3,000 suits to a champion of the environment who tried to practice what he preached by bicycling to work, installing compact fluorescent lamps and recycling at home, and eventually trading in his Jeep Cherokee and BMW Z3 for a Toyota Prius. David emerged from his transformation still bottom-line driven, and he has been able to accomplish as much as he has in part because of that underlying capitalistic bent. He argued—and proved—that it was possible to do the right thing and make money doing it. He can claim credit for driving the green agenda on dozens of well-known green buildings, including some that we have covered in

EBN over the years, such as the Ridgehaven Building in San Diego. He is continuing to push the envelope (literally and figuratively) and is currently devoting a great deal of attention to greening the building industry in other countries through the World Green Building Council and his consulting work.

The skills and insights David brought —and continues to bring—to green building are tremendous. Anyone active with the U.S. Green Building Council or deeply steeped in green building will enjoy and appreciate his memoir,

Greed to Green.

Published December 1, 2003

(2003, December 1). Greed to Green: The Transformation of an Industry and a Life. Retrieved from

Add new comment

To post a comment, you need to register for a BuildingGreen Basic membership (free) or login to your existing profile.