Lower cost fuels green construction

The green roof of the Clifford Bartholomew Ninth Grade Center at William Allen High School in Allentown. Barry Isett & Associates was the civil and structural engineer and provided landscape architecture. (Contributed Photo)

Lower cost, greater availability and a broader realization that what’s good for the environment is good for business, too.

Lower cost, greater availability and a broader realization that what’s good for the environment is good for business, too.

Those are among the key reasons that are fueling green engineering initiatives and sustainable industry practices nationwide and here in the Greater Lehigh Valley.

With government incentive programs waning for alternative energy incentives, companies are turning to mainstream staples. Examples include light-emitting diode lighting and innovative wastewater and storm management options – while biting the cost bullet up front to score significant operations savings down the road.

“Old tech is being reborn,” said Joe Manda, Professional Engineer and department head of mechanical, electrical and plumbing with Barry Isett & Associates Inc. in Upper Macungie Township. Isett is a multidiscipline engineering and planning firm.

Dispelling the notion that green tech is simply a product, sustainable and green engineering practices become more meaningful, said Curt Santee, a principal of The Architectural Studio in Emmaus.

“Green technology and sustainable practices encompass a whole range of things,” he said. “It’s not just one thing.”

Jeff Euclide, president of Entech Engineering Inc. of Reading, said requests for green technologies such as solar and wind power are on the decline because of reduced government incentives.

“There is still a desire for solar and wind [powered systems], but less government support is making it less [of an option],” Euclide said.

However, there is an uptick in other green initiatives such as LED lighting, lower impact building materials and heating, ventilation and air conditioning climate control solutions such as geothermal and energy recovery.

“A [recent] drop in costs for LED lighting has made using those fixtures more affordable for clients,” said George Moore, also a principal of The Architectural Studio.

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