‘Don't back away from the future'

‘Don't back away from the future'

New blog post from Bruce J. Oreck, U.S. Ambassador to Finland about his thoughts on the renovation of the Innovation Center. Does ‘green' building translate into long-term economic and environmental benefits?

10th June, 2014

Part of the problem we have in the 21st century is that you've got this exploding population coming into the developed world and we are going to have to figure out better ways to share our resources, so we can share prosperity and success.

However, when we look at how we best use resources, it shouldn't be about sacrifice. I was recently involved in the renovation of the Innovation Center in Helsinki, to demonstrate how ‘green' building can translate into long-term economic and environmental benefits. There was nothing about the project that said we needed to cut corners, that would make it less comfortable or less pleasing – in fact we think the finished building is more comfortable, even more pleasing. When you look at the lighting in particular we realised a 70-80% energy saving whilst achieving a better quality of light, with fixtures that are longer lasting and so require less servicing. To me that's about smart thinking and not about sacrifice.

Following the renovation we looked internally at how people performed – whether they were comfortable there, did they like the space? Was there a lot of natural light, was the artificial lighting good and how did they work in the space? And of course the last piece was how energy efficient was the building - were we using less energy in this building per foot then you would do in a comparable building? And the answer to all that was ‘yes'.

So, being high performance when it comes to your energy and your relationship with it doesn't mean sacrifice – I would measure the Innovation Center against the best buildings in the world and we perform better on measure after measure and we do so much more efficiently and much more effectively; so our operation costs are down, our return on investment for the tax payer is up. There is absolutely no reason to be afraid of new technology, no reason to back away from the future - rather you have a great chance and choice to embrace it - and I think we've done that very well.

Products from GE Lighting's Lumination EP Series Suspended LED Luminaires were one of the lighting innovations chosen for the Innovation Center. Read more about our involvement here.

Embassy of The United States Helsinki, Finland

Embassy of The United States in Helsinki, Finland

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Bruce J. Oreck

Bruce J. Oreck

Bruce J. Oreck has been the U.S. Ambassador to Finland since 2009. His role is to explain and advocate the position of the United States Government on bilateral and multi-lateral political, economic, social and scientific issues.

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