US Needs to Learn from European Green Building Examples

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Green building consultant Jerry Yudelson's latest book and YouTube video explain how the US can benefit from looking more closely at Europe's innovative green building examples.

"Green Building Trends: Europe" by Jerry Yudelson

in spite of different cultural, political, economic and climatic factors that influence building decisions.

Jerry Yudelson says in his new YouTube video that the greenest new buildings on the planet are located in London, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. "Europeans are leading the pack," says American green building consultant Jerry Yudelson. "when it comes to energy-efficient green buildings. I learned of a building in Frankfurt in June that uses one-third the energy of best American practice."

Yudelson's latest YouTube video is less than two minutes in length and can be viewed here:

Yudelson spent two years researching his new book, "Green Building Trends: Europe," which documents the latest European sustainable technologies, cutting-edge ideas and green home trends. Citing primarily examples from Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, Yudelson's book showcases the work of leading architects and engineers involved with many of the continent's exemplary green buildings.

"Designing green buildings isn't rocket science, it's building science" says the green building consultant. "In this book, I clearly demonstrate that we can have beautiful, high-performance, super-green buildings, using best-in-class technologies and systems, with the knowledge we already have, but don't use very much. We're 10 years behind the Europeans and need to start catching up."

"Many European approaches will work just as well in the U.S. and Canada," says Yudelson, "in spite of different cultural, political, economic and climatic factors that influence building decisions." What he discovered is that many European green buildings routinely use 50% to 70% less energy than comparable certified green projects in the U.S. "These are mostly issues of design and intention," says the author, the founder and principal of the green building consulting firm, Yudelson Associates. "And North American designers certainly have the knowledge and skills to emulate what's being done abroad. With the new emphasis on green and energy saving buildings from the Obama Administration, I think architects and engineers here will close the performance gap within the next five years."

In the new book, using dozens of extensive photographs and interviews with leading practitioners, Yudelson illustrates how Western European designers are setting a new standard for low-carbon building construction and operations. He says, "For them, it's as much a moral issue as a technical issue. It's just wrong, in their view, to waste scarce resources, such as water and energy, and to waste materials by not recycling them. We can learn a lot from this core attitude."

In his YouTube video, Yudelson cites examples of the leading contemporary green buildings in Europe, including the new Lufthansa headquarters in Frankfurt and the Norddeutsche Landesbank in Hannover, both in Germany; the Beaufort Court Zero-Emissions facility in the U.K. and a passive downdraft cooling system at University College London fully integrated with the building design.

So what can U.S. building-industry professionals learn from the Europeans? Based on his conclusions, Yudelson makes three specific recommendations:

"First, the U.S. should adopt the European Union's system of building energy labeling," says the author, "so that everyone can see the actual energy performance of each building." This one measure alone will dramatically change the practice of building construction and operations in the U.S., as it's doing already in Europe.

Second, North American architects and engineers should go to the U.K., Germany, Holland and Switzerland, to see first-hand how their commercial buildings are designed and operated. "Taking a new form of 'The Grand Tour,' seeing things first-hand and talking with the professionals who design and build them has the potential to rapidly change our design and construction practices rapidly," adds Yudelson.

Third, homebuilders should adopt the German Passivhaus approach for reducing energy use for heating and hot water by 90%. "For the most part, we could cut the energy use of new homes by 50% at no little cost, just by adopting these proven German methods of building design and construction," says Yudelson.

Published by Island Press, "Green Building Trends: Europe" is Jerry Yudelson's ninth book on green buildings, green homes and green development since 2006. Two more books, covering greening the retail sector and greening existing buildings are due out in the second half of 2009.

For more information about the new book "Green Building Trends: Europe" by Jerry Yudelson, go to:

About Yudelson Associates

Yudelson Associates is a leading international firm in sustainability planning and green building consulting. The founder, Jerry Yudelson, is widely acknowledged as one of the nation's leading experts on green building and green development. He is the author of nine green building books and serves as Research Scholar for Real Estate Sustainability for the International Council of Shopping Centers, a 70,000-member international trade organization. He is a frequent green building speaker at industry and professional conferences and chaired the U.S. Green Building Council's annual show, Greenbuild, the largest in the U.S., from 2004 through 2009.

For more information on Yudelson Associates please visit


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