The Future of Green Building

The Future of Green Building

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Did you know that buildings account for almost 40 percent of total energy use in the U.S.; almost 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions; and 12 percent of total water consumption? The climate friendly solution is “green building.”

But what does green building mean? And what is the future of green building? Phil Williams, VP of Webcor Builders sat down with Fresh Dialogues to answer these questions and explain how the venture capital and building sectors work together to deliver innovative green building products – like smart glass – that reduce energy consumption and environmental impact.

Here are some highlights of our conversation (edited for clarity and length):

What is green building?

“The term actually started here in San Francisco in the mid-1990s, and starts with a certification of a building under the LEED standard (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), developed by the US Green Building Council. We try to reduce the energy, the water, be responsible in the use of materials and create healthy interior environments.” Phil Williams

Why build green?

“There’s a high probability of climate change due to man’s impact; it’s seen as good business, it’s my energy bill today in terms of what is my overall cost of doing business.” Phil Williams

What should we expect from green building in the future?

“We’re really excited about Underwriters Laboratory’s Environmental Group. Pretty soon, all of us in the building environment are going to have product category rules and will have environmental product declarations so that every manufacturer knows how to report their information.

It’s like a box of Cheerios…you’ve got some healthy products, you’ve got some less healthy products, some with sugar, some with fat. The consumer can now make a choice. When we didn’t know, the consumers were blind to the health or the energy consumption of a building. The marketplace will determine what happens, but now the information will be available.” Phil Williams

How do new green building products get in the supply chain?

“We work closely with several venture capital firms that are specifically focused in the built environment, and we have a strong engineering background…We can be part of that next breed of product…we have that advantageous viewpoint that we can lend to our clients and we can help those new innovative firms get a foothold in a very competitive industry. Any insight that we can provide benefits everyone.” Phil Williams

Webcor is sponsoring a four part interview series all about Green Building. Check back soon for more details.

Meantime, you can check out other green building interviews and stories by clicking here or on the Green Building Tab above.

Bloom Energy: A Closer Look at Adobe’s Bloom Boxes

Bloom Energy: A Closer Look at Adobe’s Bloom Boxes

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Ever wondered why so many companies and institutions like Google, eBay and Caltech are installing Bloom Energy’s fuel cell Bloom Boxes?

Here’s a fascinating breakdown of the figures for Adobe’s San Jose Headquarters from Bloom Energy‘s Director of Product Marketing, Asim Hussain, who made a rare public appearance at SVForum’s Clean Tech Conference at SAP last month.

The Bloom Box installation was made atop Adobe’s garages in 2010 – Here are the details:

Number of Bloom Boxes/ Servers: 12

Size of Bloom Servers: 1.2 Megawatts

Energy source: Biogass (100% renewable)

Cost to generate power: 8.5c per Kilowatt Hour – fixed for 10 years

Previous cost to generate power: 13c per Kilowatt Hour

Savings: Approx $500,000 per annum

Incentives and programs: PG&E self generation program, Federal Investment Tax credits

Green Building issues: Helps LEED evaluation qualification for Platinum Certification in areas of energy and atmosphere; and innovation and design.

New Video coming soon…

Here’s a video segment from the first extended interview with Founder and CEO, KR Sridhar: How to Change the World

Other Bloom interviews here

Kevin Surace: Building Climate Change Solutions

Kevin Surace: Building Climate Change Solutions

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh DialoguesKevin Surace on Fresh Dialogues

Download or listen to this lively Fresh Dialogues interview


We welcome feedback at, click on the Contact Tab

Kevin Surace is serious about tackling global warming and argues that producing energy saving building materials can go a long way to cutting down CO2 emissions and reducing energy consumption in the United States. He’s CEO of Serious Materials, a Sunnyvale based maker of eco drywall, windows and other building materials; and frequent speaker * on global warming and the built environment. *His TED speech is worth checking out.

We discussed the influence of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth in helping create a market for green products; the pace of global warming; and whether consumers are willing to pay a premium for green. Kevin outlined how his company uses new media to get its message out and why his company is growing rapidly, despite the shrinking economy.

On how climate awareness grew in 2005