Greenbuild 2012 Day 2

See all GreenBuild 2012 posts.


One of the high points of Day 2 was the Women in Green Power Breakfast. How many meetings start with the animated reading of a poem? This inaugural breakfast, a meeting of 300 women, did. A powerful young woman poet told the audience “Don’t tell your daughter she is beautiful unless you have told her 10 times she is intelligent.” We can’t be concerned simply with matters of beauty.

The panel was led by Michelle Moore, Senior Advisory, Director’s Office, Office of Management and Budget Executive Office of the President; Marge Anderson, Executive Vice President, Energy Center of Wisconsin; The Honorable Katherine Hammack,  Assistant Secretary, U.S. Army; Elizabeth Heider, Senior Vice President, Skanska USA Building, Inc,; and Romilly Madow, Chief Executive, Green Building Council of Australia

Empowering speeches by empowering women inspired attendees. Women were urged to use their skills to their advantage, to never back down, to follow their passion, and let them be known. It was also discussed how successful women end up in leadership roles and how can we help them get to those roles. The conclusion of the breakfast talked about launching a USGBC Women’s mentoring initiative in the near future.

Education and LEED sessions continued Thursday morning at Greenbuild 2012. In the afternoon at the South Tech Stage, Melissa O’Mara led a panel discussion including David Eijdai, Weidt Group, and Net Zero Court; Tim McCormick, Joulex; Casey Tallon, IDC Energy Insights; and Andy Schonberger, Earth Rangers Centre,,


Melissa started the panel based on a discussion she had with an architect, asking about customers requesting green building projects. His response was “If it’s not code they can’t afford it.” Melissa then asked the group what they thought some of the common barriers for green buildings were. David’s response is that code is dead; it represents everything we knew about the past and nothing about the future. Tim mentioned that getting cooperation between IT groups and energy/facility groups is usually an issue. If they came together to work on plug loads they could have a 3-5 month ROI of about $50-$100 per employee per year. Casey mentioned a lack of definition to what a smart building is, used to be a problem. Once it was defined it makes it easier to determine where a building can improve its performance. Andy said people not liking change was a big road block. The technology to create high-performance green buildings is already here: when people are willing and engaged, more will happen.

The first question from the audience was about LEED certification. The certification process can be cumbersome and time consuming for building developers who are already taxed with countless other tasks and processes. The panel discussed how people and process can be more challenging barriers than the technology itself. Melissa said we would not fly in a plane if it was built the same way a building was built today; what we are doing now is not very efficient.

The discussion continued around taking a holistic view of a building. It allows you to see what is happening in your building or portfolio of buildings, and prioritize maintenance and upgrades. Monitoring data can help you find where to implement energy saving measures, or even indicate early on where equipment needs to be replaced or maintained. The panel wished more companies would stand behind their new products in ways to help mitigate the risks buildings owners take to learn the new technologies. Removing this barrier would have beneficial impacts to all parties. Melissa spoke about Schneider Electric’s new Green Building StruxureLab where the company is testing and validating complex, integrated technology solutions for customers in order to help mitigate that risk.

We know that net-zero and even positive energy buildings, such as France’s Green Office Meudon, are possible. But how do we make take them into the mainstream? Enablers include green leasing and new construction performance contracting. These tools, combined with technology, can help alert tenets about their energy usage limits, and reward them when they have an energy surplus. Programs such as these can help incentivize tenants to maintain a building’s energy performance throughout the life cycle of the building. Without tenant engagement and cooperation, buildings can easily over-consume, regardless of design intent.

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