Will the new economy be a green economy?

Green Economy

In the early months of today’s pandemic crisis, workers headed home and businesses locked their doors. Globally, the April average of carbon dioxide emissions was 17% less this year. Now, as a new economy is taking shape, those emissions are again within 5% of last year’s levels.[1]

Must business as usual lead to climate change as usual?


Solar Streets

New economies are taking form on every continent. Within the next few months, $9 trillion may be spent as governments seek to rescue their economies after the terrible jolt of pandemic needs. Those crisis actions will reshape the global economy.

As economies change, the energy that powers those economies must be cleaner, reducing emissions. Business as usual could put climate targets beyond reach.


Progress begins with planning. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has led with that first step. After detailed analysis, and in partnership with the International Monetary Fund, the IEA has published a Sustainable Recovery Plan.[2] The major goals of this plan depend on each other:

  • Boosting economic growth
  • Creating jobs
  • Building more resilient and cleaner energy systems


In its plan, the IEA specifies the necessary policies and investments. These include:

  • Accelerated deployment of wind and solar energy
  • Modernization of electricity grids
  • Lower-carbon transport, made possible with fuel-efficient and electric vehicles, along with high-speed rail
  • Greater energy efficiency in buildings, manufacturing equipment, and household appliances
  • Technology innovations in carbon capture, batteries, hydrogen power, and more


As more green energy is produced, consumption must also be reformed. The rewards could be substantial. Each year, roughly 9 million jobs could be saved. Green jobs would fabricate and install solar panels and wind farms. Buildings would be retrofit, making them more energy-efficient.

The necessary journey began pre-pandemic. More than 53 gigawatts of new renewable energy is scheduled to be online by April 2023. That energy would be 50 times the combined new capacity from natural gas, coal, oil, or nuclear power sources.[3]

After the losses and suffering in today’s pandemic, a green economy can bring more jobs. That will bring progress toward controlling climate change. It’s all possible. Public awareness can lead to commitment and planning to benefit the economy… and the planet.

Alexa Stone
LEED AP, Sustainable Facility Professional, Envision Sustainability Professional - - Alexa has more than 25 years of experience in sustainable and Smart Cities development. Her strategic planning work has served local, state, and federal government, higher education, and private industry. Alexa founded ecoPreserve in 2009 as a team of 3 and has grown the company to over a dozen of the brightest sustainability and project management professionals in the industry.
Alexa Stone


We empower organizations to reduce environmental impact, improve efficiency, and improve quality of life.
@ecoPreserve’s List: Buildings_made_safer In a pandemic, how can a building be made safer for occupants and for the… https://t.co/2446Jq2lPH - 4 days ago
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Facility Condition Report

The report is prepared in accordance with the recommendations of ASTM E2018-15, Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments. This is a partial list of contents:

    • General condition of the building, grounds, and appurtenances
    • Physical deficiencies, their significance, and suggested remedies
    • Photographs
    • Safety issues observed
    • Potential operating efficiencies
    • Electricity and water use reductions
    • High-efficiency interior and exterior lighting
    • Recommended interior finishes
    • Construction costs

Risk Mitigation Improvements

  • IAQ
    • Airflow
    • Temperature and humidity
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
    • Settings
    • Conditions
    • Capability
    • Filtration
    • Traffic patterns
    • Placement for social distancing
    • Clear barriers where social distancing is not possible

Interior Elements

  • Foundation
  • Building frame and roof
  • Structural elements
    • Floors, walls, ceilings
    • Access and egress
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC equipment and ductwork
  • Utilities
    • Electrical
    • Plumbing
  • Safety and fire protection

Grounds and Appurtenances

  • Façades or curtainwall
  • Topography
  • Storm water drainage
  • Paving, curbing, and parking
  • Flatwork
  • Landscaping
  • Recreational facilities
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AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

An OPTIMIZED Assessment

Certified Sustainability Consultants on a facility assessment team can discover ways to lower energy costs. Their understanding of HVAC equipment suitability and condition along with the specifics of LED lighting retrofits can provide offsets for needed investments in upgrades and replacements.

Knowledge of water systems can bring further savings while averting water waste. It can all be part of an assessment which might otherwise overlook water fixtures and irrigation schedules.

How should a facility be ASSESSED?

A thorough facility assessment finds the issues - on the surface or below - which have a potential negative impact on the building. That brings the facility to meet building codes. Beyond that, the assessment proactively addresses the deficiencies not covered by code.

The occupants of a building benefit as the assessment reveals conditions having a potential impact on their health or safety. The assessment must not overlook those conditions, nor fail to consider the frequency and duration of occupant visits.