Government green buildings more efficient than commercial buildings?

Paging Rush Limbaugh: Your grandfather’s new federal building is green.

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory says in a new study that green federal buildings cost 19% less to maintain.

Jumping on this questionable factoid, the eco-wackos at Grist.org say,

Paging Ron Paul: Once you’re done transforming the U.S. into a neo-feudal patriarchy whose fiefs are ruled by their respective John Galts, you could make a huge dent in whatever government spending is left by simply making the feds’ buildings “green.”

That’s the conclusion of a new report [PDF] from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. PNNL evaluated 22 green federal buildings — including the Rush H. Limbaugh Courthouse in Cape Giradeau, Mo. — and found that when compared to the average commercial building, they:

  • Cost 19 percent less to maintain
  • Used 25 percent less energy
  • Consumed 11 percent less water
  • Emitted 34 percent less carbon dioxide
  • Had occupants who were 27 percent more satisfied

    But there’s more here than just the PNNL/Grist highlights.

    First PNNL looked at new federal “green” buildings and compared them to average (presumably much older) commercial buildings.

    Second, the report doesn’t mention how much the government green buildings cost — presumably a lot more than the average commercial building. Low operating cost but high capital cost is not likely to be an actual bargain.

    Third, the CO2 metric is silly for the usual reasons.

    Fourth, as to the satisfaction metric, given that the average federal employee makes more than twice as much as the national median outcome and has a terrific pension plan (i.e., the taxpayer), we would hope that federal employees in new buildings are more satisfied.

    Finally, as Steve Milloy pointed out in a September 2007 FoxNews.com column, green building is a racket. Nothing has changed since.

    If this is the sort of work being produce by the once-proud Energy Department national laboratory system, it’s time for the naphthalene.

    Click for the PNNL media release.

    Click for the study.

    2 thoughts on “Government green buildings more efficient than commercial buildings?”

    1. when i was younger, the term “green meat” indicated that it was rotted and useless .. reckon the same goes for this “green building” project..

      it’s waaaay past time for us to throw a bunch of these departments into the rotting heap that cost us all waaay too much..

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