Its a Green, Green, Green World


Who would have thunk it? A world gone mad over a color. It’s green. From an artist’s perspective, color is a wonderful thing. It’s one of the loci to all great paintings, drawings, or photos — even if the color is only black or gray. But as a writer, color takes on a slightly different meaning.

It sets the background and tone of a story. It establishes clarity, helps to develop character, paints a scene with words.

So I decided to begin this editorial with a trip to to confer with the oracle of words, to find the cyber definition of green. Here’s what the good Wiki had to say:

In human culture, green has broad, even contradictory meanings . . . The most common associations, however, are found in its ties to nature . . . Culturally, it is also associated with growth, regeneration, fertility, and rebirth, for its connections to nature.

Mike Weil, Editorial Director, Contracting magazine

“Recent political groups have taken on the color as symbol of environmental protection and social justice, and consider themselves part of the green movement, some even naming themselves green parties. This has led to similar campaigns in advertising, as companies have sold green, or environmentally friendly, products.”

So says Wiki. Interesting, because the color green is setting the stage for the future of our industry. From the Montreal Protocol and the move away from environmentally unfriendly refrigerants, to the outcry against energy waste in the name of environmental stewardship, the HVACR industry has been and continues to be in the forefront of the modern green movement.

The movement today differs from its origins in the 1970s. Back then it was a band of disparate international political groups that struggled to stop nuclear proliferation and force an industrial society from polluting the outdoor world. Today’s movement still has political groundings, but has turned its focus on energy conservation and stopping mankind from polluting our indoor environments.

So now, green means LEED certified, Energy Star-rated, and smart technology, and it impacts the contracting community because it requires training, education, and certification. There is a re-emergence of renewable energy resources such as solar and wind power. That opens the door to more opportunities and perhaps, this time, there will be some staying power behind them.

Then there are the regulations — federal, state, and now, regional. To comply, contractors must get real with regard to refrigerant recovery and reclamation (2010 is only two years away and the cost of R-22 will only continue to rise as its availability declines). They need to change to a green approach to system design and installation to achieve true energy efficiencies.

This year, in New York City, the AHR Exposition brings all of this under one roof, and for four days the industry will be viewed through a pair of green-tinted glasses. Green products will be the focal point of the show. For now, read about what some contractors are doing to keep in step with green building in our State of Green Special Report starting on page 54 of this issue.

Can this movement, and the smart technology behind it, help attract young people to our industry? The technician shortage continues to plague the HVACR universe, and that shortage becomes more acute as time moves on. Perhaps our collective social and environmental consciousness will bring more positive attention to the industry and convince people that this is the place to begin their careers.

And that brings us back to this concept of green signifying growth, regeneration, rebirth. This is what the indusry needs. It’s what the world needs and wants. So welcome to 2008. Be healthy, be prosperous, be green.

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