Lester Brown

President, Earth Policy Institute

“Americans have been behaving like Enron at the height of its folly … because we’re hiding some of the costs [of energy consumption] off the books. If we don’t put a price on CO2 we’re building up, or on our addiction to oil, we’ll never nurture the innovation we need.”

Jeff Kingsbury

Managing Principal, Greenstreet, Ltd.

“The research shows that all else being equal, sure, the American public is concerned about the environment. They’ll do what they can, but the ­underlying assumption is they won’t sacrifice quality or pay more [to help the environment].”

Arjun N. Murti

Energy Analyst, Goldman Sachs

“The possibility of $150 to $200 per barrel [of oil] seems increasingly likely over the next six to 24 months, though predicting the ultimate peak in oil prices as well as the remaining duration of the up cycle remains a major uncertainty.”

Witold Rybczynski

Architect and Author

“For the moment, it doesn’t look as if the majority of Americans, who live in the suburbs, are going to move back to cities, so smart growth and new urbanism are certainly one answer to sprawl. The biggest impediment is probably the resistance of communities, for [which] ‘density’ has become a dirty word. It is also true that higher-density residential developments, with more emphasis on design and a more complicated sort of marketing, are slightly more expensive and slightly more risky. This has discouraged some developers from trying. The smart-growth model is inherently more complicated, so it isn’t suitable for beginners or inexperienced developers.”

Shyam Kannan

Vice President and Director of Research and Development, Robert Charles Lesser & Co.

“If you look at long-term energy prices and affordability, this is not the first time we’ve experienced [increased prices]. Every single time we’ve bumped into something, we’ve found ways to continue to consume more energy. Historically, it hasn’t had huge impacts on people’s real estate choices. I will still venture a guess that the average duration of a shower in the Atlanta area hasn’t dropped below five minutes. I love energy savings; that’s fine. But it’s a very difficult proposition—spend money here, save money there. One thing that is a more optimistic conversation that hasn’t had enough discussion is rather than dwelling on notions that green building has to cost more, is that the people who are making it work have found out how to build cheaper. When you put in [water-blown foam insulation], for example, you could go from [needing] a 3-ton HVAC to a 2-ton HVAC. Holy moly.”


Al Gore

Former Vice President

“We do face a planetary emergency. The phrase sounds shrill to many, but it is unfortunately quite accurate. Humankind must now find a way to reach a higher levelof consciousness that allows us to see our planet whole.”

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Atlanta, GA.