Monica Mosure attended a USGBC Central Ohio Lunch and Leaders discussion. Below is a recap of her experience.
Last week, I attended a USGBC Central Ohio Lunch and Leaders panel discussion about the fundamentals of LEED® accreditation and certification. One of the best aspects of the luncheon was its speakers, which included individuals from nearly all points of view. Speakers included Jeremy Cohen, a former USGBC national employee (now with MaGrann Associates); Lisa Laney, new schools program director for OSFC (which as of Sept. 10, 2012, will be known as the Facilities Construction Commission); Jennifer Chrysler, New Albany’s community development director; Dave Scott, business/construction litigator for Luper Neidenthal & Logan; Scott Moline, vice president of construction for Key Bank; and ms consultants’ own LEED expert, Melissa Berardi.
Panel members presented their experiences with and perspectives on the LEED process through the eyes of public and private clients, legal representatives, and engineering and architecture consultants. As panel members discussed, I realized that sustainable practices can bring a wide range of positive benefits to a variety of organizations, but there was a group of ultimate stakeholders not represented on the panel to give its take on sustainable design: the general population that uses public and private buildings. Sustainable design, or lack thereof, affects these individuals through the buildings where they live, work, shop and learn. In addition, these individuals are unable to escape the effects of carbon emissions, water use, and solid waste, no matter who produces or overuses them.
Sustainable buildings are capable of reducing energy use, carbon emissions, water use and solid waste between 30 and 70 percent. With buildings using nearly 71 percent of the nation’s electricity, imagine what could happen if all buildings saw a 30 to 50 percent reduction in energy consumption. It is a reality I would like to see someday.
With such an opportunity for improvement, sustainable design is something we cannot ignore. Even if you are a building owner who decides not to pursue LEED certification, you can still incorporate sustainable design into your building. In fact, other sustainable building tools, such as Energy Star and Green Globes, exist for those looking for non-USGBC certification options.
In all, one thing is certain: Education about the benefits of sustainable design is key to making sound design decisions for the future. After having such an informational experience with USGBC Central Ohio myself, I urge everyone locally in central Ohio, to attend at least one luncheon session and judge for yourself. For those not in central Ohio, find a local USGBC chapter - there are 77 nationwide! You can also visit USGBC National’s Web site for additional educational information.