Consultant Claims: "Europeans Lead the World in Green Building Practices"

Share Article

Leading green building consultant and author, Jerry Yudelson says that the U.S. can learn from Europe's exemplary practices.

"Green Building Trends: Europe" by Jerry Yudelson

And we certainly have the knowledge and skills to emulate what's being done abroad.

Where should the world look for the best examples of large-scale, energy-efficient green building today? Not New York or Los Angeles or Washington, D.C. Instead the greenest new buildings on the planet are located in London, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. "The Europeans are now the leaders," says American green building consultant Jerry Yudelson. "It turns out they know a lot more about environmentally-aware architecture and construction than we do."

Yudelson based his conclusions on the research he recently completed for his new book, "Green Building Trends: Europe," which documents the latest European sustainable design techniques, cutting-edge ideas and green building trends. Based on more than a year of on-the-ground research in Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, Yudelson's book chronicles the work of leading architects, engineers and contractors involved with many of the continent's exemplary green buildings.

"I found European approaches that would work in the U.S. and Canada," says Yudelson, "Even given the different cultural, political, economic and climatic factors that influence building decisions."

What he discovered is that many European green buildings routinely use 50% to 90% less energy than comparable certified green projects in the U.S. "These are mostly issues of design and emphasis," says the author, the founder and principal of the green building consulting firm, Yudelson Associates. "And we certainly have the knowledge and skills to emulate what's being done abroad."

In the new book, Yudelson uses extensive photographs and illustrations to illustrate how Euro-zone practitioners are setting the new standard for energy-conscious construction. Readers can see 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. There's even a look at an all-glass house in Stuttgart, Germany that uses no net energy for heating and hot water on an annual basis.

So what can U.S. building-industry professionals learn Europe? 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 practice will lead to a revolution in commercial and institutional building design and operations, almost like having to wear a Scarlet Letter with your energy crime out in plain sight."

Second, North American architects and engineers should spend time in the U.K., Germany, Holland and Switzerland, to see first-hand how their commercial buildings work. "There's no question that seeing things first-hand and talking with the professionals who design and build them will change our design and construction practices rapidly," adds Yudelson.

Third, home builders need to study the German Passivhaus system 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 proven methods of building design and construction," says Yudelson. This measure alone, he suggests, could lead to an enormous reduction in greenhouse gases if implemented over the next 25 years.

"Designing green buildings is not rocket science," says the green building consultant. "In this book, I've clearly demonstrated 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 just need to go across the pond and look at what's already been done in the past ten years by the Europeans."

Published by Island Press, "Green Building Trends: Europe" is 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 "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


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Jerry Yudelson
Visit website