Op-Ed

Welcome to Environmental Building News

Welcome to Environmental Building News

Buildings have a tremendous impact on the environment. In North America, buildings and the building industry account for about 30% of carbon dioxide emissions, 35-40% of ozone depletion, 20-30% of municipal solid waste, vast quantities of natural resource consumption, and dramatic loss of open space each year. What can we do about it? How can you and I as builders, designers, and others involved in the building industry have an impact in turning the tide on this environmental destruction?

The challenges we face in bringing greater environmental sustainability into the building industry seem tremendous—indeed we need to be careful not to feel discouraged. Yet the opportunities, too, are tremendous. There is so much room for improvement that the strides we can make as an industry are huge.

Environmental Building News seeks to be a voice in the transition to environmentally sustainable building practices. In the pages of EBN we will expose the faults in our current practices, but more importantly, we will present the options we have for turning things around. We will provide a wide range of information on environmentally sustainable design and construction—from leading-edge case studies of sustainable design that will stimulate your creative juices, to hands-on construction details that will help you integrate these ideas into your daily work.

In each issue of EBN we will provide one or two in-depth feature articles—like the pieces on rigid foam insulation and site-work in this issue. In these articles we will try to probe deeply into an issue—getting into more detail than is found in most newsletters. Also in each issue, you will find information on new products and materials, news about environmental trends that relate to construction, reviews of pertinent publications and events, and a regular reader’s forum.

Now here’s where we need your help. We want

Environmental Building News to be

your publication. We want to direct it to your needs and interests. To do this we need to hear from you. Send us your thoughts, your opinions, your suggestions of what we should cover. If you are using construction details that you feel particularly good about, or if you come across interesting new products or materials, let us know about them. Also keep an eye out for information resources that would benefit EBN readers: conferences, seminars, books, periodicals, obscure technical publications…we’ll review these materials and pass the information on to our readers.

Finally, thank you. Launching a new publication is a bit scary. When we mailed our first promotion a little over a month ago, we really had no idea what the response would be. We have found tremendous interest. While that makes us feel good about the prospects for EBN succeeding, more importantly it gives us a sense of optimism about meeting the broader challenges we face. We’ve heard from dozens of builders and architects that the time is right for this publication. Let’s hope that the time is also right for a major shift within the building industry toward environmental sustain­ability.

Published July 1, 1992

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