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Inspiration and Connection

Halie Colbourne, Sustainability Associate | BCCI Construction

Fresh off of the Living Standard Town Hall Series, the pre-GreenerBuilder kick-off event hosted at Perkins+Will’s San Francisco’s office, Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council, shared the impact of storytelling to engage a broader audience about the importance of reversing climate change. To get a pulse of people’s thinking about environmental issues, the Living Standard team surveyed focus groups across five regions in the U.S. Only 11 percent of people surveyed associated the term ‘green buildings’ strongly with the environment. An overwhelming majority did not understand the correlation of sustainable building with lessening the impact on the environment and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Moreover, many terms used by the sustainability and green building communities were viewed as highly politicized, such as ‘climate change,’ ‘climate movement,’ ‘global warming,’ and ‘climate risk.’ Those surveyed resonated with more favorable terms such as ‘Mother Nature,’ ‘sustainability,’ and ‘green communities.’

During the Greenbuilder Opening Keynote, Paul Hawken asked why 99 percent of the world is disengaged with the climate conversation. He believes that to reverse climate change, we need to address the country’s current health needs, not our existential threat. In fact, 65 percent of survey respondents don’t believe the environment is healthy. Research has shown for some time now that changes in climate have altered people’s health, families, and communities, and when messaging is related to those issues, it’s personal, and people pay attention.

Advance Sustainable Building: Counting Carbon

Matthew Koester, Sustainability Coordinator | BCCI Construction

The Decarbonization Track featured a rich lineup of panels covering methods of carbon reduction in both organizational operations and cutting-edge projects. The Building Decarbonization Coalition defines decarbonization as removing greenhouse gas emissions from energy use and moving to clean energy sources for building energy. Decarbonization is not just about building energy use, but also involves embodied carbon or the carbon required to manufacture and install construction materials. Embodied carbon often consists of 75 percent of the building’s complete lifecycle of emissions, overshadowing the operational carbon singled out in energy efficiency measures. The international concrete industry is responsible for seven percent of global emissions alone.

BCCI’s Sustainability team is already working on implementing a few of these practices in an effort to reduce and measure carbon outputs:

“If humanity changed the climate by mistake… We can change it with intent.”

Paul Hawken, Environmentalist, Entrepreneur, Author and Activist

Whether taking measurable steps towards improving real estate programs or making small changes in your daily life, we all have a responsibility in the way we interact with our environment. If we shift our perspectives, even just slightly, the impact we can have on the earth is profound. Many incredible thought leaders in the green building community share their stories to inspire others and take action. BCCI will continue to tell our stories to inspire other projects towards innovative, sustainable, and inspiring buildings of the future.

Learn more about the GreenerBuilder Conference here.

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