Fight the Good (Green) Fight

As you read this, Earth Day will have already passed, but its spirit, I would hope, carries on through the rest of the year. Depending on what camp you side with, Earth Day is celebrated March 22, in conjunction with the Vernal Equinox—or April 22—somehow expanding the role of Arbor Day. Either way, the concept remains the same—reflect on the state of our planet and what we mi...

05/01/2002


As you read this, Earth Day will have already passed, but its spirit, I would hope, carries on through the rest of the year.

Depending on what camp you side with, Earth Day is celebrated March 22, in conjunction with the Vernal Equinox—or April 22—somehow expanding the role of Arbor Day. Either way, the concept remains the same—reflect on the state of our planet and what we might do as individuals to help out.

Certainly, members of our industry concur. In late March, representatives from the HVAC manufacturing sector hosted an Earth Technologies Forum in the nation's capitol. There, as part of an auspicious move toward producing more energy-efficient and emmission-reducing equipment, leading HVAC manufacturers unveiled new offerings. Trane, for example announced their new "EarthWise" oil-free chillers, and Carrier released its new "Evergreen VSS" chiller line that combines a non-ozone depleting refrigerant with a high-efficiency, variable-speed screw compressor. Carrier claims that the new product will improve energy efficiency up to 48% more than comparable tonnage chillers meeting ASHRAE 90.1.

In April, the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute also convened in Washington D.C., to bring HVAC-related environmental issues to the table, including the status of the SEER mandate in the energy bill currently being debated on Capitol Hill, as well as to discuss the Bush administration's alternative proposals to the Kyoto Protocol (see "EPA Unveils Climate Partners Program," p. 11, for more).

And as I write this piece on Earth Day, the Senate, in a minor victory for environmentalists, has rejected President Bush's proposal to allow oil drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Preserve in Alaska—good news to note on an Earth Day, although it yields no help in finding proactive ways to reduce our nation's dependence on oil and fossil fuels.

I, however, applaud the Senate for taking such steps. I also applaud manufacturers like Trane and Carrier for acting where the President won't. I also applaud our many readers who practice sustainable design, or simply see energy efficiency as just common-sense engineering. In fact, I'm proud to be associated with people such as Jonathan Gray and Jerry Yudelson—who wrote the water conservation article we recently published ("Taking the LEED in Water Conservation" March 2002, p. 44)—to name but two. But one thing that still concerns me is something Gray and Yudelson alluded to in their story—that the impetus for such innovative conservation measures ultimately came down to money, specifically in the form of charges being issued by municipalities.

Here's to hoping that "green" design and energy conservation will flourish for its own merits, not just the "$green$" it can save owners, however naive such speculation might be.





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