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GreenBuild: The Wonderful Week That Was


November 26, 2013
Oh, GreenBuild. What a great 3 days it was. There were riveting panels, networking events, interactive sessions, a keynote address by Hilary Clinton and a rousing rockfest led by Bon Jovi. 

It was such a pleasure to be able to present, along with our friends from BNIM and Henderson Engineers, on salvaging and reusing materials after natural disasters. It's a topic that has, unfortunately, seen an increase in recent years with the occurrences of powerful superstorms, typhoons, hurricanes and tornados and is important to plan for in the years to come. 

We were inspired by the Rebuilding Exchange, whose work with Whole Foods in Chicago resulted in reclaimed materials being beautifully incorporated into the design of the Engine Room.

A major highlight of the conference was the keynote address by Hilary Clinton. She detailed the partnership of the Clinton Foundation and USGBC, and we were particularly impressed by Clinton's philosophy of "greening democracy." We also applaud her ambitious goal of providing a green building in every community in a generation's time. 

The Conference was also a platform to launch LEED v4, a major stepping stone for our industry. This new version, according to the USGBC, is "one that offers flexibility for all green building projects, with new market sectors and global best practices built-in."  Check out the video below for more details. 

The conference was a great opportunity to fortify us for the year ahead. Immersing ourselves in the sea of inspiring mentors, innovative colleagues and brilliant change makers pushes us to continually strive for excellence. It's not always easy trying to change the route of design, construction, demolition and deconstruction into a more sustainable pathway. But after this week, we know we're headed in the right direction.

Bon Jovi just rocking it. 

Keep Austin Weird - And Green!


October 03, 2012

The South by Southwest Eco conference begins today in Austin, TX.  The city's motto is "Keep Austin Weird" and this quirky, creative town has transformed itself into a haven for eco-mided enthusiasts, advocates and industry leaders.  The three day event is chock full of panels, discussions and events aimed at creating fresh answers to today's sustainability questions. Want in on the action?  You can watch keynote speakers live, on the SXSWEco site.

One of the highlights of the conference is the Startup Showcase, a chance for innovators and entrepreneurs to present their ideas for creating a more eco-friendly world.  We are so proud to be presenting at this year's Showcase, and are really looking forward to hearing the amazing things our fellow presenters have been up to.  Among the semifinalists are:

Actual Sun
iLumi Solutions
Kiverdi, Inc.
KleenSpeed Technologies
Nexus eWater  
NuMat Technologies
Omni Water Solutions
Radiator Labs
Staxxon, LLC

Since we're in Texas, we thought it would be a great chance to stop by and see our friends at the Habitat for Humanity ReStores in Dallas and Austin.  It's so interesting and inspiring to see how different cities around the country have embraced the Habitat mission.  Both cities do a fantastic job of getting the word out about their services and the positive impact their organization has on their local communities.  

We think these signs in the Austin ReStore are visually stunning and really drive home the importance of their continued efforts to create decent housing for those in need.  And the fact that Dallas is the largest builder of single family homes in the city?  Impressive, to say the least. Needless to say, these cities are definitely living up to the saying of "everything is bigger in Texas" - in this case, their commitment to the cause.  

It's events like South by Southwest Eco, and the chance to visit ReStores, that lights a fire under us for the future of sustainability.  We have a lot of work to do, and a long way to go, but with people like this leading the charge, we're surely heading in the right direction.  

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