Executive Summary

Today, Texas is at a crossroads. We are one of the fastest growing states in the Union. At the same time, we have the worst air pollution in the entire country. Texas could lose over $3.6 billion in federal highway funds starting in the year 2004. Meanwhile, the pollution is already costing Texans many billions more in bad health, lost jobs, and lost business opportunities. If the situation is not corrected, Texas is on a collision course with its own future.

Texas must make some crucial decisions in the face of this dilemma. We can continue to bludgeon the problem with the same tired command-and-control methods of pollution reduction used in the past. But these methods grow drastically in cost and give less and less in return.

Or Texas can use the imagination and creativity that settled this state and has made it a powerhouse in the new technologies of the 21st century. It is time for us to reshape our environment by using Cooler Buildings to Clear Our Skies and simultaneously Cut Costs.

Cooler Buildings

The future of construction in Texas offers both home and commercial builders a new and exciting opportunity to build structures that are healthy, safe, efficient, and durable with low maintenance and high comfort. The technology of green building can help in the reduction of overall air emissions, lower insurance premiums, and reduce the use of energy. Green buildings can also reduce the cost of pollution on health, both by helping in the reduction of outside air pollution and by offering a physically healthier living and working space inside.

Clear Our Skies

Green buildings, with their cooling affect, can make cities better places to live. Green building technologies applied to commercial and residential structures, as well as roads and parkways, can substantially reduce the formation of ozone and other dangerous pollutants, while lowering energy bills and repair and maintenance costs of roads and sidewalks. Just as importantly, green building technology is a recognized method of energy efficiency that reduces emissions, which can be used by cities to obtain credit from the EPA towards clean air plans.

Cut Costs

Taxpayers and policymakers will find the new greener technologies both cost effective in their own lives and cost effective in the public arena. Taxpayers choosing green technologies will see lower living costs. Policymakers choosing green technologies over conventional pollution control and reduction methods will see better results at a lower price. More importantly, green building and the technologies it uses are not reactionary, but forward motivated. Green technology, be it in building methods or in the development and use of renewable energies, offers the state new businesses, new jobs, new tax bases, and new ways to eliminate pollution while positioning the state of Texas for the future.