8 posts categorized "green buildings"

July 13, 2010

Anne Younglove: Creating a Template for Green Tech Teaching

Wouldn't it be great if your teenager could graduate from High School and be able to earn $18-$20 an hour immediately?  Thanks to Anne Younglove and her colleagues, they can. 

Anne championed the idea of turning a typical business training program for solar panel installation into curriculum for high school students -- the kids not only graduate from high school, but they have a job waiting, if they want it. 

Is it working? So far Back Bay High has an outstanding 97% attendance rate of which 99% of the students graduate. In honor of that achievement Back Bay High was named a model school by the state of California. 

Kathy Evans is the solar installation class instructor, she started out teaching biology and then went hands-on into solar. She is a role model to other teachers and especially the young women in her classes. One female student decided not to go into solar installation, but because she was no longer afraid of science, she confidently turned her talents towards the medical field. 

Everyone wins in this apprentice-like system, the solar panel companies don't have to educate their new hires and the students get a hands-on, real-life education. On top of learning the basics of solar panel installation, they also learn about the marketing, operations and the nuance of running a small business from REC Solar

Anne told me that Sharp handles the installations; Suntrek is the thermal and solar photovoltaic supporters of the curriculum; Heritage has been a helpful adviser; and Global Village Green have been big supporters and are encouraging the school to move forward on Environment Auditing." 

It's good to see apprentice-type programs are making a come back. It's an amazing confidence booster to be able to make something with your own hands. 

I'll let their video tell the rest of the story. Nice work Anne!


June 18, 2010

A Day in a Green(er) Life

Beth, who writes on living plastic free at Fake Plastic Fish asked us to capture a typical day and how we face our green challenges. It was a more difficult assignment than I thought and showed the power of being mindful of what's in me, on me or around me...

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5:45 / no need for an alarm clock, the sparrows outside of my window wake me up. 

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6:00 hit the shower (with low-water shower), tried out the Green Natura soap we from the Sustainable Brands conference last week. I really like the face scrub and can feel the difference on my skin. Organic coffee has arrived as Mr. Hand slips a cupo-joe onto the bathroom sink  (thank you sweetie...)

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6:30 figure out what to wear starting with what shoes I can walk in. One of the reasons I wear slacks to work is because dress shoes aren't walking shoes. (Settled for black sandals, black slacks and jacket, it is LA and anything brighter than brown is suspect) Actually I like black for the same reason my great, great grandmother wore it - it doesn't show the wear and tear like colors. the slacks are my new favorites, Royal Robbins found at REI, good for work or play / no wrinkles, dry instantly, pack tight, never shrink...

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Returned email to EcoMomAlliance.

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7:00 Drove the Honda Civic (33 mpg) to the train station where I'm writing this before the battery goes dead on my 'green' Mac laptop. The Metro train is a predictable 45 minutes until I catch the next link into downtown to my consulting job. I could walk to the train from my house, but then I'd look like a train wreck when I got to work.

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8:30 First meeting - finish the Touchpoint Handbook. The handbook is a new business model for groups who have to work together, but have no tight financial contracts between them to keep the job on task. The District has hundreds of architects and contractors working on almost $6 billion in building projects over 10 campuses. The Touchpoint chart helps bring groups and processes together during the critical phases. The buildings are going for LEED certification.

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11:30 didn't pack a lunch, so went down to the deli where everything comes in a plastic container. We have recycle bins in the office. I opt out of the plastic bag and just take the salad in its plastic container.  Used my bandana for a napkin and the real silverware that I have in my desk drawer. I never liked using plastic utensils.

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12:00 Listened to TED talks while creating binders for the Touchpoint Handbook, an organization way to operate when you have hundreds of companies working on the same project.  Listening to TED is a great way to pass the time while doing mindless work. I can recommend the following on what makes us happy (you'll never give people choices again), one on poverty and creating new ideas. 

http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy.html

http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_reveals_new_insights_on_poverty.html 

http://www.ted.com/talks/alan_kay_shares_a_powerful_idea_about_ideas.html

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3:00 Binders complete. Checked email / found a google alert hit on SMaRT and the presentation Forbo gave to the GSA this month. http://www.usgbc-stl.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/SMaRT-Denny-Darragh.pdf  

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4:00 Walked back to the Red Line,  8 minutes later I'm at the Union Station and catching the 4:30 Metro Link back to Orange. Finished up emails from work on the way home.

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6:00 Dinner: We tried the veggie/eggplant meatballs and gluten free pasta. We're finding that we feel better when we don't eat as much wheat products. Mike thought the meatballs were 'ok' then I told them they were made of eggplant and he was more impressed. We'll buy them again. Thanks to Beth's prodding, we're buying far less plastic wrapped items.

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We also buy the "Naked" brand of smoothies that are loaded with fresh veggies. They are expensive, but we use them as a base, add cold water and a sprig of fresh mint leaves and voila - an inexpensive and good for you beverage. We buy our main food at the Farmer's Market or Mothers Market. Both places let me buy without having to shop very hard for organic food. Mother's has a whole section dedicated to gluten-free food. That makes it easy to buy, I don't have to check every label, whatever is in that section is fair game. 

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7:00 Cleaned up the kitchen with 7th Generation dish soap. Watered planters containing flowers as well as spearmint, chocolate mint (fantastic tea), oregano, basil, chives, rosemary, dill and thyme. It's nice to grab fresh and free food. Finished off emails for the day, hung out with Mike and went to bed by nine.  

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It's not an extraordinary day, but that's the point. We're working so that doing everyday green things becomes so normal that no one has to think about it. I'd like to think that my little selections along the way are making a difference. 


April 18, 2010

Green Women Celebrate Earth Day's 40th Birthday

Screen shot 2010-04-03 at 7.01.35 AMWhoo Hoo! Light 'em if you got 'em, Earth Day's 40th birthday is here on April 22. It's time to pause and praise the thousands, maybe millions of Green Women making every day Earth Day by greening their homes and encouraging others through their blogs and community action projects. 

From mommy bloggers like Heather Hawkins and Renee Limon from EnviroMoms to members of the Green Mom Carnival to the team behind the Eco Mom Alliance and their 25,000 green gal pals - women everywhere are joining to support each other's work. 

All the awareness and buzz that they generate is fabulous. In tandem and equally important (but not as visual) are the women working in the B2B zone helping to bring the building, products and investment side of things into the main stream. Together the two groups are co-creating the next eco-culture. 

Coming up on April 28th, The Green Standard Organization, lead by Deborah Dunning, will be hosting a thought leader forum on sustainable standards in DC. They'll be covering the processes, education, financial backing, buildings, products... everything a business needs to make it on a global scale. Deborah's known for her ability to translate sustainable product performance information into a user-friendly format. Between her and another visionary, Marilyn Farmer of Green Building Pages, no one has an excuse that they can't learn what it takes to be sustainable. 

Also at the forum are Leanne Tobias, LEED AP and expert in sustainable commercial real estate projects and portfolios. Working with Leanne, is Martha Paschal. Martha also works with commercial real estate and watches for ways to match Federal stimulus funds to energy-efficient, multi-family projects. 

Another partner in sustainability is Debra Italiano who is so incognito that she doesn't even have a Linked in page, yet if you dusted a sustainable business deal for fingerprints you'd find hers all over it. Without women like these locating opportunities and turning owners into partners, many enterprises wouldn't see the light of an investment day. 

It all comes down to cold, hard, GREEN cash. Without the business of business buying into and enabling change, the green momentum we see now would never make it into mainstream culture. That's where Mindy Lubber, the President of Ceres comes in. (watch her below) Ceres is the leading coalition of investors, environmental organizations and other public interest groups. The group touches trillions of dollars and helps guide mega companies into being more environmentally and socially responsible or face the consequences in their stock value. 

And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Coral Rose who was at the inception of WalMart first sustainable product experience. Look at what Wal Mart's sustainable direction has done for their profit margin and influence since then. 

These women represent the millions of other women who are holding their ideals high and keeping the green torch burning in the most carbon-free way. At some point soon, perhaps this year, the B2C and B2B worlds will meet. At that moment we'll have the rebirth of a sustainable economy and one heck of a party. 

Happy 40th Earth Day!


August 07, 2009

LACCD Green Schools, Green Day Care, what's not to love?

It's back to school time and also the topic for the Green Mom's Carnival this month hosted by: Lynn on Organic Mania.

My closest connection to school is my consulting job with the Los Angeles Community College District where they are greening the entire nice campuses. Part of that action includes building several Child Development Centers  which will also include day care for the children of students. It will set the bar for other facilities and it couldn't happen too soon. 

This month one of the moms reported receiving this email from her day care center.

“In a construction project elsewhere in the building, a contractor applied a concrete floor sealant that produced and odor and fumes that were so strong we had to evacuate the children from the building.”
 

Rightly so, she was concerned. She kept her child home an extra day and wrote the group wanting to know how to "detox kids". She was only half kidding, but a high-level discussion followed; how to monitor the air, what levels of VOCs are ok, which paints are better...  this isn't a green lite crowd, we are serious about the conditions that kids live in.

Picture 35 All of the above discussions won't happen among the parents with kids at the LACCD facilities, however, because the buildings are being constructed or rehabbed with sustainable and safe products within the building guidelines. As such, the LACCD is setting a new standard for other schools to follow. If they can do it in LA, it can be done anywhere. 

In the LACCD's Guidelines and Standard (page 95)for new buildings, the LACCD states upfront what items get red-lined and not allowed in new construction.

  • Cadmium
  • Chlorinated Polyethylene and Chlorosulfonated Polyethylene
  • Cholorofourocarbons (CFCs)
  • Chloroprene (Neoprene) with the exception of MEP Equipment
  • Formaldehyde (added)
  • Halogenated Flame Retardents
  • Hydrocholorfluorocarbons (HCFCs)
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Petrochemical Fertilizers and Pesticides
  • Phthalates
  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) with the exception of roofing and piping
  • Wood treatments containing Creosote, Arsenic or Pentachlorophenol
  • Endangered Wood Species

If you've been following the Green Mom conversations, you'll know that Phthalates, PVCs, Flame Retardants, Formaldehyde - well - the whole list gets us going. How nice that someone is finally taking action.

The LACCD also requires that adhesives and sealants meet GreenSeal and government standards. That covers the VOC fume problem mentioned above. No VOC's no fumes. The best part of these buildings is that they become experiential learning labs for how to make a home or an office sustainable and toxic-free from the start. 

The Project Track program "provides free services to students enrolled in child development programs, employees working as child-care providers, and parents with children younger than five years of age."

The LACCD is developing a sustainable benchmark for all campuses to follow - build green, teach green, learn green, live green and bring the next generation along in your footsteps. 


 

November 28, 2008

Women-Friendly / Earth-Friendly Education

An ounce of preventative education is worth a pound of bail out cure when it comes to the creating a stable economy and green jobs.

While Obama's administration is searching for ways to turn the economy around and transform the market to more sustainable jobs, the LA Community College District is doing it. This is a district where 60% of the 226,000 students are female and the majority of them are minorities. (under bloggy disclosure, I work with Green Building Pageswhich LACCD uses to gain transparent, green building product information.)

LACCD Solar Parking LotHow is LACCD able to succeed in a slow market?

Over $6 billion in bond money was raised in 2001, 2003 and 2008 to fund the construction of 50 new energy efficient buildings and retrofitting hundreds of older facilities.

It's estimated that LACCD will employ over 48,000 to make it all happen. (Detroit's lost is LA's gain)

Many of these facilities are already completed including parking lots "shaded" with solar panels - cars stay cool, while the wasted space above them now generates power.

  • The nine campuses are on track to be "off the grid" in 2009, by using a combination of solar, geo-thermal, wind and hydrogen. (good-bye to fossil fuel, carbon emissions and the expense)

  • The hydrogen created can be used as alternative power in hydrogen powered cars which give off the by-products of water and oxygen. When you turn new technologies into mainstream operations, i.e. hydrogen for cars, you can also TEACH how to service hydrogen cars.

  • When you have a campus running on free energy, you can keep tuition rates down. Rates are currently at $20 a credit hour and some graduates with a two-year associate's degree are earning $80,000 in their new green collar job.

    Surrounded by green technology and products, you can't help but get swept up in the cool factor. What students learn/experience at LACCD, they will take with them on their first job. If a community college can do this with a little bond money and leadership, then anyone can do it.

    Green Collar job education doesn't start and stop with technology, however, it's LACCD's goal to infuse every class including English and art with green, sustainable thinking; from the way the rooms are naturally lit, to the zen quality of outdoor spaces, to every surface and experience in the dining halls or bathrooms. Students will learn how to function well by using less, but using better technology. What's not to love?

    Green fatigue tends to set in when you think that what you are doing doesn't matter. Watching LACCD succeed in co-creating a short term and long term market transformation while using their billions to push the construction tipping point across the nation, gives me tremendous hope. Now if we could just get the LA Times and the NY Times to cover all this positive information like they do sports and entertainment. Until that day, I'll depend on blogs for my continuing ed.  

    (this post is part of the Green Mom Carnival on "Prevention" hosted by Big Green Purse.)

  • June 04, 2008

    Yes, we can (and must) Save the World through Mindful Shopping

    FbofwOver on La M, the debate continues in the comment section on whether we can buy our way out of this global warming problem. The answer is not only "Yes," but "Yes, we have to."

    [My thanks to Lynn Johnston for capturing in one cartoon why many give up before trying. On some level we all know our good work can be undone in a manufacturing minute.]

    The "Smokestacks" are causing the problem and the ONLY thing that will keep the smokestacks happy is profit. Consumer action is half of the solution, the SMaRT Sustainable Standard is the other half. With both not only have we solved the emission problem, but transformed the market safely and kept our retirement portfolios intact. Yes, as Tom Friedman points out, we'll lose MANY products and companies along the way. Detroit's feeling that pain now, but we also will replace them with mindful companies and products we can all live with.

    If you want to see how serious business is about change, take a quick read down today's blog at Sustainable Life Media. The stacks want to do it, they just don't know how to do it and they don't know how to talk about it in terms that breadwinners and buyers can understand. Oh, and by the way, it's also required by the EPA.

    Green_brands_2Not only do we/consumers have to do it, we have to write about our intent before or after we do it. Every time we write about Sustainable products we like, those products stay in the marketing mix and the other ones die.

    GM has FINALLY decided that going small and green will bring bigger profits. Why? Because Toyota and Honda made the top ten brands and ate their lunch. You can't go 10 feet in California without running into either car.

    Those top ten brands were made inside of buildings which a consumer can also affect - by DEMANDING that the brands are made using Sustainable Standards that certify when a product is in compliance. INSIDE the SMaRT Sustainable Standard are requirements for conserving energy and lowering emissions, VOCs and PVCs (plus over 1200 other chemicals). Not only do the standards cover their buildings, but also the operations and processes for the entire supply chain as well - even if those smokestacks are in China.   

    Smart_certifiedThe SMaRT Standard (Sustainable Materials Rating Technology) covers six areas of product development:

    • Safe for public health & environment
    • Renewable energy & energy efficiency
    • Biobased or recycled materials
    • Facility or company requirements
    • Reclamation, sustainable reuse
      & end of life management
    • Product Innovation

    Under these areas, products are required to:

    • Provide Feedstock Inventory Documentation
    • Document No Input and Output Stockholm Chemicals
    • Maintain a Manufacturing Facility Energy Inventory
    • Inventory of all bio-based and Recycled Content Materials
    • Have EMS Environmental Policies and Targets.
    • Have Social Equity Indicator Reporting for Manufacturers
    • Compete an ISO Compliant Life Cycle Assessment
    • Have Operational Reclamation and/or Sustainable Reuse Program
    • Meet Product Performance Durability Standards (long lasting products)

    And encouraged to keep going until they have achieved:

    100% Reduction of Over 1300 Pollutants covering 12 Environmental Impacts
    100% Use of Green-e Renewable Power
    100% Post Consumer Recycled or Organic/BMP Biobased Materials
    100% Reuse/Product Reclamation
    Social Equity for Manufacturer & Suppliers (worker's rights)

    That's a pretty big stick, but sticks are also fun to chase - especially if you're one of the Big Dogs attending the Sustainable Brands conference.

    *****

    After the requirements are met, the Big Dogs can get competitive and earn higher and higher ratings of silver, gold and platinum. Its not impossible, Forbo/Marmoleum and Knoll Life Chair have already have done it. Milliken carpet is on its way.

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    But they can't do it alone.

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    They and all the other companies trying to go green need buyers for their Sustainable Certified products, people who appreciate the work that has been done on a very high level.  Which brings us back to the first side of the buyer/seller equation - consumers.

    *****

    Take a gander at that top ten list again. If you were hired to change the world, which "demographic" would you focus on to make it happen faster? On that list you have, groceries, cleaning supplies, lotion and potions, cars and home appliances. Without doing a massive research project, take a wild guess on which gender has the greater influence either directly or indirectly buying these products?

    *****

    In the end, after all the discussions and  the chatter it's going to come down to tightly linking these three tipping points together - women+companies+sustainable standards.

    *****

    That's the new balance of power in this global economy. What happens among them happens about the world and it all starts with the heart of a women making the right choices while her purse is open and being willing to talk about them.

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    Men can expedite the process by educating the women in their life on the SMaRT Sustainable Standard or other Standards that use a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) across the entire supply chain. While women are the buyers, you are the "sellers." Let's get to work, shall we?

    Your continuing ed starts here:

    SMaRT Standard Market Overview - for High C's (9 pages)- Download">http://www.sustainableproductsblog.com/mts/files/mts_smart_sustainable_standard_overview_2.1.08.pdf">Download mts_smart_sustainable_standard_overview_2.1.08.pdf

    SMaRT Standard Overview - Supplier Education - (slide show) Download">http://www.sustainableproductsblog.com/mts/files/act_smart_presentation.pdf">Download act_smart_presentation.pdf


    SMaRT Standard for Consumer Orientation - (slide show)Download">http://www.sustainableproductsblog.com/mts/files/smart_sustainable_standards_102_consumer_orientation_51008.pdf">Download smart_sustainable_standards_102_consumer_orientation_51008.pdf


    Forbo Sustainability Report - for High C's, Supply Chain, Distributors, Investors, Consumers (20 pages) Download">http://www.sustainableproductsblog.com/mts/files/forbo_sustainable_manufacturing_and_marketing.pdf">Download forbo_sustainable_manufacturing_and_marketing.pdf


    December 09, 2007

    Peggy Roberts, Bringing Green Insurance to Green Buildings

    Peggy_roberts_2What would happen if your office building was destroyed?  What would it cost to replace it as a LEED Certified, "green" building? Peggy Roberts can tell you. I chatted with her last week and one of the companies she represents is Fireman's Fund which now offers Green Building Policies.

    *****

    Peggy is an independent insurance agent with Huntleigh McGehee, with 22 years in the insurance biz.  That's impressive, Peggy's one of only three sales women in her office. On top of it, as an independent she doesn't have a massive marketing campaign to set expectations before she comes in the door. Most of her business is word-of-mouth.

    *****

    I asked her if she could describe her style that has made her so successful. She said, "My sales style is consultative.  Having begun my career on the company side prior to coming over to the broker side of the business, I have a strong technical background, thus can 'put my money where my mouth

    is.' In addition, I can hold the underwriters at the companies we broker to accountable and this puts me in a strong position to negotiate the best coverage and price for my clients." Then she added, "I also feel that my positive attitude about being a female/minority among Commercial Insurance Brokers has been an advantage.  My thought is that in sales, it is the differences that make you stand out…and standing out is a good thing"!
    *****
    So, jumping right in, why is there a need for green insurance policies?

    *****

    Peggy explained, "One of the reasons that green-specific coverage is important is that it provides green replacement cost.  In other words, it will pay to replace the loss with green products/building materials. If you have a standard policy it would most likely have limited replacement cost and the consumer could have a gap in the amount they receive to upgrade or replace the loss “green.”  So one of the critical questions and concerns should always be: how would my policy respond in the event of a partial loss and in the event of a total loss…am I insured properly and to full replacement cost – green or otherwise?  This question should apply to a commercial property or a home."

    *****

    Peggy is a very positive person, even with all the increasing payouts due to climate change, she still sees the future of the industry as strong. Although she has the pick of all insurance companies, she is now selling more Fireman's Fund Green-Gard policies than all the rest and expects to have 40% of her business underwritten by Fireman's in 2008. [Fireman's Fund is the first to come out with a Green Policy]

    *****

    Peggy credits matching philosophies, "The reason for my personal success with Fireman's Fund is our similar experience and belief in target or niche marketing. By writing a lot of business in a specific business segment, you can develop expertise that is meaningful to your clients."

    *****

    That makes sense, women-at-large tend to work better within their circle of influence vs. powering their way to a sale. By the Fireman's Fund supporting independents with niche marketing ideals, they are empowering them to build on what they do best - connect with people as people first, business second. That's a very different sales model from "call 40 people a day, get 10 appointments, make 4 presentations and close 2 sales." If you're working with today's savvy business women, that's a mistake. They can instantly tell the difference between a consultive sale and a pipeline close.

    *****

    While Peggy's experience is specific to the Commercial Lines segment, she says that there are a number of companies who are entering the Personal Lines marketplace as well. 
    *****
    What are the take aways from this? If you're new in sales, build and be accountable to your niche base. That includes offering with as many Sustainable Products/Services that you can. That may seem obvious to sales pros, but it isn't to newbies who are trying to fill quotas instead of filling needs.

    *****

    If you're a consumer or business owner, ask your insurance broker about Green Building Insurance. Fireman's Fund covers the Commercial sector and is just bringing out a personal policy in 2008. If you heard about them rebuilding the homes of California green, that's because they are being corporate good guys. It also makes business sense in a risk aversion way. The greener the home, the less chance that it will catch on fire again.

    *****

    It's no wonder Peggy has set her goal at 40%. What's not to like about her or her "policies"? Everyone wins on this one. Consumers and businesses have a higher valued home/office for mortgages and resale, Brokers sell policies that makes them heroes and corporations rebuild a base of trust.

    *****

    Thanks Peggy, and add us to your niche.

    Peggy Roberts is Vice President and Commerical Insurance Producer, she acts as in a consultant role performing Risk Managmenet Analysis of Insurance Programs bothon Commercial Lines and Benefits. Her most recent passion is her pursuit to provide "green" insurnace coverage to assist those clients making capital contribtuions by building green to better the environment.

    Contact her at: proberts@hmrisk.com.

    August 23, 2007

    Destiny USA - the Mega, MEGA Mall with a Sustainable Soul

    Part 1 of 2 (This is for all the green women who want to be climate change agents. Your continuing education starts here.)

    Destiny I just returned from a Sustainable Standard meeting/brainstorming session sponsored by The Market Transformation to Sustainability. (more on that in the next post) The meeting was hosted by Bob Congel in his fabulous (green) Savannah Dhu conference center. He's the developer behind Destiny USA, a mega complex in Syracuse, NY. Before you say "Mary, you've sold out like Adam Werbach did to Wal-Mart," think again.

    Those of you who know my past as the marketing agency for The Crossroads Mall in Kalamazoo, MI, know that I'm pretty burnt out on malls. I was in Minneapolis for a year before I set foot into Mall of America. So when I say I've had a change of heart, it's a big change. If Destiny can sway my  pragmatic, sustainable self, there is a very good reason. Check out the press page videos and see if you don't feel the same way. (sorry, I can't link directly to them)

    What's the big deal? 

    This mall/conference center/research park "complex" is being constructed and run ENTIRELY FREE OF FOSSIL FUELS.  That's right, from the first bio-diesel bulldozer to later running the AC/heat/lights/electricity with renewable energy via solar, wind or waste energy conversion.

    It also is being constructed to adhere to the LEED Green Building rating point system. That's where MTS and the SMART Sustainable Standard come in. Everything that is made, has to be certified as sustainable first to be part of the LEED point system. SMART Certified Products and endorsed and supported by LEED. SMART is the only standard out there that provides quantified proof that it meets the demands of the standard.

    That's a very big deal.

    Without proof, Sustainable Backed Securities don't happen. [they were called "green" backed, but that's changing] That means if you want a discount on your loan because you think you have a green/sustainable building, you must be able to prove it. With proof, the developer gets their loan, the bank gets their cash and the insurance on the place ends up lower. The best part? As the cost of energy rises, the cost to run it remains the same or goes down, making it more profitable to the developer.

    Everyone wins, all because they started with Sustainable Products build to work within the LEED Standards. Take that same scenario and move it into residential land. Homeowners can do the same thing.

    That sustainable building/product scenario is something I can back. Buildings contribute over 70% of the CO2 emissions, The whole biz world is watching carefully. When Congel pulls this off, all the excuses as to why we can't build green or sell green will go away. This one complex in Syracuse, NY can change the world in buildings and products. It's already changing the conversation as traditional business models in all sectors of industry are being questioned.

    That's just the beginning.

    Wal-Mart hired Adam Werbach to green up the store(s). If he does, he'll pull off the second thing that's harder than getting me to walk into a mall, he might get me to walk into Wal-Mart.

    Walls and malls are only a tiny part of the Sustainable story, however. What about all the things are sold inside the walls and malls?  Once products start getting certified like Forbo's Marmoleum, or Miliken's Carpet then consumers won't have to figure out if a product is green or all "sheen." If it carries a Sustainable Standard logo, like SMART of California Gold, consumers will have proof that what they are buying has been through a Life Cycle Assessment and can pass Sustainable Standards.*

    To put it into perspective, if Mattel was held to SMART Sustainable Standards, not only would the lead be out of their toys, but the CO2 as well. Standards with third party audits are the key.

    Start looking for and asking for Sustainable Products. The more you do, the faster they'll become certified and available to the public. Until then, be sure to blog about them. That too sends a message that gets picked up on trend watchers.

    NEXT… who was at the Sustainable Brainstorming Table