The giddiness over the election of Barack Obama was still fresh in the building-industry-related events this week in Boston. Thursday morning, a session exploring New England's clean-energy future started off with a recitation of the president-elect's statement the day before on cap-and-trade and other energy priorities, which prompted the first of two bursts of applause.
One subtext this week was overload. First of course, there were the two shows, BuildBoston and GreenBuild. Two three-day shows — one an annual Boston event, the other a one-in-a-generation visit by as big a force as there is in building these days. Somehow, they overlapped on two of their days — the last two days of BuildBoston were the first two days of GreenBuild. From what I could gather — I spoke to some people who might know, but in casual conversation, not in interviews — you could view this as yet another little skirmish between architects and the USGBC.
Another in a series of miniprofiles of sustainability-minded people who are working to reduce humankind’s footprint on the planet. They're "mini" not only because they're short, but because all the questions are 10 words or less, and the answers are requested to match. (Please, no counting.)
JANINE BENYUS, 50, Stevensville, Mont. Cofounder, Biomimicry Guild; Author, "Biomimicry, Innovation Inspired By Nature"
What do you do? "I’m a biologist at the design table, helping innovators consult life's genius to create sustainable designs."
Green epiphany: "Asking the question, 'is anyone consiously trying to emulate the elegant, well-adapted, fit technologies of nature?' It was about 1990."
Stefan Behnisch, who certainly could claim leadership in the clan of the world’s most sustainability-attuned architects, just by offering only his Boston work for evidence, followed Van Jones in the east auditorium at the convention center. He was affable, gentle, and self-assured. While Jones spoke about what can be accomplished, Behnisch described some of what he has accomplished, recapping several of his projects while pointing out the elements of sustainability exemplified by each.
The effervescent, humorous, inspirational Van Jones is taking questions right now at GreenBuild in front of several hundred people, after having completed a 45-minute address on the green econony. He had a lot to say that's worth repeating. One thought I particularly liked was, "It's not that, for the first time, we have a black president.
It's been a hectic morning, made the more so by an unwelcoming welcome by the hosts, the US Green Building Council. Those who like it when the press is unhappy with its treatment will like to hear about it most.
Prior to the show, I was sent an e-mail with a UPC, and asked to print it out. When I arrived, I was told, I would just have to scan it and I'd be in.
It's Tuesday afternoon and I'm sitting in a seminar on smart building technology (yes, I came willingly) at BuildBoston, the Boston Society of Architects' annual conference.
There are a lot of people in here who clearly know what they're talking about — far more than me, certainly — but I just heard one of them refer to "the LEEDS." This is not uncommon, either. I hear it not seldomly, and among people, like these, who work in the building industries.
I once said in print that Jean-Luc Ponty was the greatest jazz violinist alive, and a friend who was a more seasoned music critic blanched at my boldness — who was I to opine so broadly? He was certainly right — I'm nowhere near the authority on such a matter. But I also felt that not only was it a defensible opinion, but who was anyone to say otherwise, definitively? No objective standard exists to settle the point.
For GreenSource magazine, I surveyed the state of green building in Greater Boston. The short answer: Pretty good.
Friend and former colleague Beth Daley of the Globe writes this morning about Canadian wind power, whose prospects may be considerably better than our own.
Some fear that a flood of clean power from Canada will undercut New England's efforts to become a national leader in green energy and technology.