Cynthia Gage, Director, Marketing | BCCI Construction
We are proud to announce the release of our first-ever Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report, which provides details about our company’s operations and commitments related to three key areas: our people, the environment, and our communities. The report emphasizes our long-term commitment to encouraging a culture of transparency and responsible business practices as an IWBI Just Organization and showcases examples of our progress supporting social equity, diversity, inclusion, and sustainability in the built environment. It also provides an overview of our business goals in the year ahead.
“Together, we envision a more sustainable and resilient future by staying firmly committed to our people, making a positive environmental impact, and channeling creativity and innovation into a force for good.”Michael Scribner, President and CEO, BCCI Construction
Our in-house sustainability group compiled the report, supported by a cohort of representatives from our Human Resources, Marketing, and Finance departments and internal committees, including Community Builders, Sustainability Builders, and our Social Justice Focus Group.
To learn more about the impact and outcomes of our CSR efforts, click here to read the full 2020 CSR Report.
Halie Colbourne, Sustainability Associate and Matthew Koester, Sustainability Coordinator | BCCI Construction
This year, BCCI’s Sustainability Team had the privilege of participating in the U.S. Green Building Council’s GreenerBuilder Conference, San Francisco’s premier venue for architects, contractors, owners and other green building professionals to learn about cutting edge projects and latest trends in the Bay Area.
The conference opened with Vien Truong, CEO of The Dream Corps, who led the opening plenary. The Dream Corps champions nationwide policy to advocate for and address the needs of disadvantaged communities. Truong wove several threads, including the effects of poor air and water quality on Oakland and Flint-raised children, renewable energy, and state policy into a moral imperative for green building. In building inclusively and designing to mitigate the impacts on water and air quality, Truong notes that we have an opportunity to lift up disenfranchised communities and employ the community in a green economy. This theme was carried throughout the rest of the conference.
The first session focused on Rebuilding Resiliency, a crucial topic in the Bay Area due to the devastating wildfires that seem to occur during any season in California now. Led by Ann Edminster (Design AVEnues), Robin Stephani (8th Wave) and Bob Massaro (Health Buildings) the panelists shared solutions such as the urgency for cities to develop temporary housing ordinances. The idea is to utilize prefabricated housing for temporary use during and after natural disasters, similar to what Homes for Sonoma has been doing since the massive wildfires erupted in the North Bay last October. The speaker’s firms are actively working towards connecting wildfire victims with tax credits and rebates to rebuild their homes with features including Energy Star appliances, solar panels and passive heating and cooling systems. Massaro said Healthy Building’s projects are moving away from using natural gas as this can cause dangerous flare ups in the aftermath of these wildfires. He further explains that when building for a homeowner, his firm analyzes their fire insurance policy to pressure the company to finance these measures. The panelists also noted that the wildfires can still impact buildings throughout the Bay Area with high levels of particulate matter. Indoor air quality is a major component of LEED and WELL projects, and smoke/particulate matter (PM) levels become a concern when most building systems have to accommodate a minimum level of outside air. It is important to realize that wildfires directly impacting residential homes in Northern California can also indirectly impact commercial buildings in the city. Focusing on resilient building practices supports the green economy and reinforces the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit.
The session Women in Green: The Power of Diversity was another wonderful session led by Gabrielle Bullock (Perkins+Will), Kimberley Lewis (USGBC) and Andrea Traber (Integral Group) who highlighted the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Bullock began Perkins&Will’s Diversity + Inclusion + Engagement council in 2014 as a way to foster their culture’s talent and engagement, and to create a “diverse and inclusive practice and profession”. Bullock shared some of their focus areas such as recruitment, retention and mitigating unconscious biases. At the onset of this council, they measured their workforce gender balance, finding that women in leadership make up 25 percent where the AIA (American Institute of Architects) industry average is a mere 17 percent; in 2014, 44 percent of their workforce was comprised of women. Through their devotion to diversity and inclusion they have managed to increase their percentage to 48 percent women in the span of four years.
Their commitment to workplace diversity has produced impressive project wins as their clients are looking for diversity in a project team. Traber elaborated on these metrics mentioning the International Living Future Institute’s JUST Label which has helped Integral Group quantify similar metrics around gender equality and transparency. As a participant of the JUST Label, we were pleased to hear other companies using the JUST Label as a metric. BCCI committed to its JUST Label in 2014 and since becoming a JUST company has been able to benchmark, create and improve existing policies, as well as utilize the platform to increase our company transparency. The JUST Label allows companies to understand where there might be room for improvement. BCCI is currently working on obtaining better data in the Equity category as a commitment to one of our core values, Transparency, and to continue to strive for authenticity and equality in the workplace.
As Kimberly Lewis, USGBC’s Senior Vice President stated, progress towards a green economy has not been without its moral challenges. From building resiliency for natural disasters to increasing equity in the workplace, we are excited to see these challenges being addressed by visionaries like Truong and our green building community. In Truong’s words, we will continue to “build up, build power and build the future.”
For the last two years, the Sustainable Construction Leaders (SCL) group, facilitated by BuildingGreen, has been working on an initiative to redefine the idea of what it means to be a green contractor—and it’s called the “Contractor’s Commitment.”
STO Building Group’s involvement with this cause runs deep. In 2018, STOBG director of sustainability, Jennifer Taranto, and the director of sustainability for Consigli Construction, Steven Burke, helped BuildingGreen form the Sustainable Construction Leaders network, which also includes BCCI Construction’s director of sustainability, Kena David.
Together, the group developed this idea of a commitment to better illustrate the contractor’s role in sustainable building.
“We recognize that the way the industry currently decides who is a green contractor is based on the company’s green revenue,” says Taranto. “The Contractor’s Commitment was born out of this idea to emphasize our deeper role in and commitment to building sustainably.”
CONTRACTOR’S COMMITMENT GUIDELINES
Officially launched as a pilot program last fall, the Contractor’s Commitment is becoming the standard for evaluating a contractor’s sustainability progress—divided into a “good,” “better,” or “best” rating. Contractors who sign the commitment pledge to meet a series of goals in five categories:
- Carbon Reduction: How well a contractor reduces carbon emissions
- Jobsite Wellness: Fostering wellness (clean air, nourishment, mental health, etc.) for anyone working on the jobsite
- Waste Management: Promoting waste diversion, whether seeking green building certification or not Water Management Assessing risks to prevent water pollution
- Water Management: Assessing risks to prevent water pollution
- Material Selection: Assessing and selecting healthy and sustainable materials
BCCI and Ajax Building Company were the first STO Building Group members to sign the commitment, and Structure Tone New York and Structure Tone Southwest are in the process—with several more STOBG companies in the works.
“For BCCI, we identified what systems we had in place, what we measured and tracked, and what would be a lift. We created a detailed plan specific to each project and role on the project. We also created resources for project teams to use and customize to help with implementation.”Kena David, Director, Sustainability, BCCI Construction
STOBG sustainability leaders across the organization are also taking up the mantle and driving change through the Contractor’s Commitment, developing scope language for subcontractors, protocols for material data collection, processes for more robust waste diversion, and means for tracking jobsite carbon. BCCI is in the process of creating and normalizing a construction waste signage package that would tie to a color-coding system for source separating materials onsite. Complementing STOBG’s already robust Safety 360⁰ program, waste diversion processes will tie into general material handling initiatives and layer in health and wellness measures.
BCCI Construction for The LEADER Magazine
Implementing green building strategies has increasingly become the norm for many projects across the country, both large and small. As more companies choose to implement sustainable strategies into the design and construction of their projects, the questions inevitably become, “Should we pursue LEED certification, and how much will it impact our budget?”
The Alternative to Certification, Equivalency
In an attempt to avoid the inherent costs of LEED documentation while maintaining a benchmark by which to measure the project’s sustainability goals, some projects are pursuing what is commonly referred to as LEED equivalency. In other words, using the framework of the LEED Rating System as guidance throughout the design and construction process, without enduring the time and effort to compile and submit the documentation for review to GBCI. By making assumptions and using rough estimations, projects that are targeting LEED equivalency instead of formal certification may be able to reduce or eliminate many of the costs associated with LEED documentation.
Time, Cost Reduction vs. Recognition, Marketability
In theory, the idea of LEED equivalency has merit since project teams still incorporate the stringent set of standards required by LEED while significantly reducing the time and costs involved with documentation. In practice, however, LEED equivalency does not always work because the project’s sustainability achievements are not verified by an independent body nor are they recognized by the building community at large. Projects pursuing LEED equivalency must forfeit the marketability that comes with formal certification, less they run the risk of being accused of “greenwashing” – making environmental claims without any basis to back them up.
As with any green building strategy or product, when choosing whether to pursue LEED certification or opt for LEED equivalency, owners and projects teams must evaluate their intentions behind seeking a formal certification. Ultimately it all comes down to the time-old question: What are the costs and what are the benefits?
Read full article in The LEADER January/February 2012: 32-34.
Learn more about BCCI’s LEED Consulting Services.