I'm grateful to Ann K. Newman, guest blogger for the Chronicle of Higher Education's Buildings and Grounds blog, for injecting a voice of reason into the current discussion about "green architecture."

"We can build all the LEED-certified, carbon-neutral buildings we want," she says, "but that's just a drop in the bucket if we don't do something to increase the efficiency of the billions of existing buildings."

I like that idea. "Green" doesn't mean building a new energy-efficient structure that costs millions. It means using what you have in the best possible way.

And how do you use what you have in the best way? By making sure that buildings are taken care of. And by using them to their maximum capacity.

"A college that is using its space well but has old, inefficient, leaky buildings needs to go further," Newman advises. "A building that uses energy very efficiently but is half empty most of the time is a problem as well."

That's good advice.

Read Ann K. Newman's blog post here