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Goodbye Growing Season, Hello Knowing Season


While fall is a time of demise in the natural world and an edging toward a period of dormancy, for me it never fails to awaken my senses and rejuvenate my creative spirit. With Greenbuild just around the corner, my personal reawakening coincides with the world’s largest green building conference, which is visiting San Francisco next month. The sustainability industry is more active than ever, and I’m tremendously excited about the many issues that are transforming our work.

Here’s a quick list of the topics I see as the most influential and those I plan to explore more fully in the coming months.

Greenbuild and LEED v4 – Greenbuild is a conference where you can learn more about green building in one week than in an entire year. “LEED 2012 (now v4) strives to offer a better user experience and additional performance management features…” but the release has been postponed until next year. Will the green mega-conference continue its ongoing trend of growth and success this year, and what does the delay of the next revision to the LEED rating system say about its place in the market?

Performance – Performance is what matters in a building. We tend to forget that measured performance is a data point and temporary, and that sustained performance takes continuous attention. How do we stem the tide of performance decay? And why just Net-Zero, why not Plus?

Energy and the Scale of Transformation – How much do we need of something, and how long does it take to get there? Let’s focus more on the negawatt, a theoretical unit of power representing an amount of energy not spent.

Buildings and Our Intent – Are we at a historical moment where the standard of care in designing, constructing and operating our buildings and cities transform? What do our designs and our buildings say about our intent as professionals and what do we want to leave to the future?

Innovation – What is real innovation? The harnessing, delivery and use of electricity revolutionized our buildings, cities and the world. Less water per flush and widespread use of LED’s are good examples of improvements we are making, but where can real innovation take us – the kind of innovation that moves our facilities from sustainable to regenerative?

Ending the “Throw Away Model” – Does everything need to be “disposable”? Disposability is presently viewed as good for business in the form of planned obsolescence, so what can be done to reduce and reuse and also give business a model for long-term revenue?

Just putting these topics in a list has ignited a spark of excitement within me and reminded me why I work in this industry. It’s an industry of possibilities–of what can be–and people who are as enthusiastic as I am about reforming our built environment to achieve measurable benefits for future generations.

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