The Green Building Initiative (GBI) has awarded certificates for two new buildings at the United States branch facilities. The awards are achievements for the Watchtower Farms F Residence, completed in late 2012, and the Watchtower Wallkill Office Building, completed in 2014.
As JWR has reported before, the Watchtower Society’s focus continues to be one of adding property to their real estate portfolio. These Awards may indicate that sustainable management techniques are being applied to ensure the cost effectiveness of the buildings. The Green Globe Awards, of course, stem from a United Nations initiative.
“The Green Globe program traces its roots back to the United Nations Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992, where 182 heads of state from around the world endorsed the Agenda 21 principles of sustainable development. The Earth Summit was unprecedented for a U.N. conference, as it was the first-time world leaders acknowledged, as a group, that consumption of non-renewable resources was leading to environmental degradation.”
Since the initial concept, the Green Globes brand has expanded.
The promoters state:
“The brand and its associated programs hold even greater promise as the world further embraces the need for sustainability and response to global climate change as essential core values.”
Zeny St. Jean, who coordinates global building projects for Jehovah’s Witnesses from their world headquarters, states: “. . .we appreciate these awards as professional recognition of the environmentally conscientious building design and construction that we strive to implement at our facilities around the world.”
The United Nations will no doubt be delighted that one of its major opponents is now coming on board with ideas that will help the planet.
Some may note a modicum of irony. The Watchtower Society continues to preach that the United Nations and many millions that care about the planet’s survival (but do not want to be Jehovah’s Witnesses) will soon be swept away in eternal damnation.
But how “major” are these Green Globe Awards?
Green Globe Awards are not without their critics. According to an article in Owners Perspective Magazine in May 2014, the magazine of the Construction Owners of America:
“The biggest criticism of Green Globes is that it’s designed to skirt LEED’s strict environmental standards by offering a new rating system that’s more friendly to big business interests, such as timber, plastic, and building materials companies. Critics point to the fact that GBI, which oversees Green Globes, was founded by a former timber executive and has a board of directors that includes members of Dow Chemical, American Chemistry Council, the American Wood Council, the Vinyl Institute, and the American Gas Association.
“U.S. Green Building Council Senior Vice President Scot Horst told Charleston, South Carolina’s, Post and Courier that Green Globes is simply a way for these industry groups to avoid having to deal with LEED’s increasingly stringent regulations.”
“The industry supports Green Globes because it does not represent a threat to them—it’s their way of having a green building without having to change their practices,” Horst said. “It’s a good tool, but it’s a light tool.”
Green Globe Link
Green Globe Int (History) Link
Owners Perspective Magazine Link
Green Building Rating Systems (PDF)
A Comparison September 2006 Link
World Wildlife Foundation –
An analysis of Green Globe 21 and other tourism certification programmes Link
Watchtower caught dumping chemicals Link