Super Heroes of Green Building

super-heroes-graphic-w-addressWith unprecedented legislation, forward-thinking design and standards, and many active supporters, one might say that California is a leader in the green building charge. Friday’s 3rd Annual Green Building Super Heroes Award Gala, hosted by the U.S. Green Building Council – Northern California Chapter (USGBC-NCC), honored the achievements of the green building community.  Eight hundred people gathered for the event, including an illustrious cast of politicians including Nancy Pelosi, and green building all-stars like Rick Fedrizzi, CEO of the USGBC.

This year’s awards gala was held in the LEED Platinum certified California Academy of Sciences (my most favoritest building ever, and a shining example of California leading the charge).  The Academy is the world’s largest public Platinum-rated building, and also the world’s greenest museum.  It boasts 1.7 million native plants planted on the 2.5 acre living roof.  Not too shockingly, it took 10 years and $500 million to develop.

Assembly member Nancy Skinner made my favorite observation of the evening: “Waste is a verb not a noun.”  Why are we throwing out so many of our resources?

The gala honored forward thinkers and “heroes” of green building:

  • The Community Service Award went to Green Building in Alameda County, a program of
  • The David Gottfried Special Achievement award went to Anthony Bernheim of AECOM Design.
  • The Green Team Award went to the David Brower center, another phenomenal building made possible by the collaboration of 10 groups of designers and contractors.
  • The Green Groundbreaker Award went to Integrated Design Associates (IDeAs)

Galas are all good and well for recognizing achievements and raising funds, but it’s clear we have plenty of work to do.  The evening ended with a keynote from Steve Westly, former State Controller and Chief Financial Officer of California and Managing Partner of The Westly Group, a clean tech investment firm.   He called for the need to pass climate change legislation and “usher in a whole new world.”  He postulated that we are capable of regenerating building and communities such that they can sustain the health and vitality of all life, withing one generation.  What do you think?

Amie runs Cobblestone Solutions, LLC, a consultancy focusing on business development, marketing, communications and strategy for mission driven companies. Previously, Amie served as Director of Business Development for Viv (a Bay Area environmental start-up), Program Manager for Social Venture Technology Group (a boutique consulting firm focused on measuring social and environmental impact), and Associate Consultant at Bain & Co (a global management consulting firm). She is particularly interested in innovations that reduce waste, altering consumer behavior for good, and leveraging the power of business to solve the climate crisis. You can read more from her on her blog, on, and on JustMeans.

3 responses

  1. I think it is entirely possible within one generation. Particularly in the west, and in areas which are already started on the green movement with some momentum.

    Even in underdeveloped countries, some areas have a chance to develop with the green movement. For example, many people in India have no access to power grids and thus no electricity. One solution being worked on is the installation of individual solar panels in people’s homes. That short-circuits the entire process of using conventional energy first and then switching to alternative.

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  3. I don’t really know how I feel about Steve Westly’s, postulation that we are capable of such rapid regeneration of our communities in that narrow a time-horizon, seems wishful thinking at best. But, I did like his overall emphasis on Calfornia being an innovative catalyst towards sustainable growth and renewal.

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