Tackling “green fatigue” in Asia

green fatigue

In the past few years, the world’s top scientists have been sounding warnings about urgent environmental concerns including climate change and limited natural resources to produce and provide sufficient energy for the ever-growing population of the world.

Many ordinary citizens nowadays are overwhelmed by the command to be “green” such as green lifestyle, green buildings, green development, etc which causes a syndrome called “green fatigue”. The term refers to a phenomenon described by the exhaustion caused by the overflowing messages of ineffective green credentials, which eventually disrupts the intended objectives.

What does green fatigue mean for green building development?

It means that many building management teams have reached their limits in relations to green courses and certifications, filling out extensive new forms and working with consultants. In addition to their workload, they will need to carry out all these long-processed and tiresome tasks.

Many organizations, including Green Building Councils from many countries, are acutely aware of “green fatigue” and aggressively pushing ways to detail the measurable green benefits to businesses and consumers.

Although future growth industries will likely be led by “green” industries, green fatigue can lead to an economy decrease in Asia. The environmental standards that European governments have long implemented and the promise of the new administration in the United States to create stricter and more comprehensive environmental regulations will raise the bar for governments in the rest of the world. Those stricter international standards will likely pose more pressure for Asia’s green development to continue its development path with growth industries that are less carbon intensive.

Bridging the gap, tackling ‘green fatigue’

In some cases, overwhelming number and flow of ‘green’ information does not solely create ‘green fatigue’ by itself. Topped off by lack of proper understanding about what each green initiative requires, affects, and benefits the stakeholders may lead to disapproval to contribute to these initiatives.

The propensity of getting actively engaged in green practices may decrease if not equipped with adequate knowledge on it which eventually stagnates industry growth – including in the building segment.

China witnesses it happening – according to a report by the China Greentech Initiative which focuses on developing green tech solutions in China, green building knowledge gap and misaligned incentives have slowed the adoption of green building in China. To top it off, incessant communication about green initiatives, if not done right, may have led to ‘green fatigue’.

Green building experts admit that construction decisions are often made based on short-term costs consideration, such as material and labor costs, instead of considering the long-term savings from energy efficiency or green building techniques. Many developers in China also often overlook the green features, such as better insulation and solar panels – which are necessary to improve energy efficiency and building performance.

To an extent, the government’s support is needed to improve energy efficiency standards which through proper labeling system. Improving the market demand and standards for green building development projects will help Asia’s countries become more competitive in terms of green building economy on a global scale.

Increasing market opportunities require long-term and coordinated efforts, but targeted improvements to address specific deficiencies could make a big difference. Building owners and experts should engage with building occupants and tenants in delivering information about how to maintain optimal conditions and the benefits of going “green”.

Henceforth, appreciation for higher performing buildings can be increased through green education. The government in this sense can also provide relevant avenues and workshops to cater knowledge that is required.

It is also considerably crucial to provide near to real-time feedback, educate them on monetary benefits and also provide information about the broader impact of the building’s performance to the stakeholders. This information can be shown or displayed strategically via a large screen in the building lobby and/or provide via a secure online portal to building tenants and encourage them to reduce, reuse and recycle. (AGB.com – VL)

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