Everyone at GBS is passionate about what we do, and on this day we want to share our love and let you know how much we care about and believe in you. You are doing great work and we are inspired by your commitment. Let’s join hands in the coming year and change the world! As 2013 unfolds, we think the following concepts (with a sprinkling of Valentine infusion) will play a significant role in the future we seek together.
In 2000, GBS formed with a guiding set of principles, and we grew by building on principles and expanding our horizons. While those principles are still essential to give our work direction, our driving force comes from our belief in the potential of our clients, our buildings and our world. This belief in your potential and our unshakable optimism about the future are the truths we hold to be self-evident.
Finally, the Real Estate Cycle is climbing out of the depths we have experienced for the past five years. It’s about time! As the real estate market emerges from the doldrums, sustainability is clearly front and center and with it, and we’re excited for the industry to make quantum leaps beyond what we accomplished in the past decade.
Ardent Resilience: We need a Living Future
2013 may well become known as the Year of Resilience. Several significant natural disasters in the past decade challenged humanity and left us questioning how we inhabit the earth. Last year, Hurricane Sandy punctuated our frailty in the face of climate change. We enter this year with great optimism and resolve that we can develop regenerative and resilient systems.
People: you’ve got to love them. When it comes to the built environment, we know that the choices individuals and groups make have a significant impact on resource use. At the Oregon BEST Occupant Behavior Forum we explored strategies and technologies to bring about effective and lasting changes in occupant behavior. Stay tuned… we promise more on this.
We embrace reuse. In 2012, we hosted a session on materials reuse at Greenbuild that asked over 200 charrette participants to provide creative reuse strategies for the five most challenging salvaged materials on the market. In March, we will present at a four-day deconstruction workshop to train deconstruction practitioners and help create markets for reused materials.
In January of last year, we released the study The Greenest Building. The study gained a lot of attention and we are seeing increased interest in the environmental value of reuse. Over the past decade, we’ve helped hundreds of buildings continue to be “the Greenest Buildings” through rehabilitation, or just great sustainable O&M practices.
New fondness for Portfolio/Volume
If the last decade was characterized by a focus on one building at a time, we believe that this decade will all about scaling up. At least that is what we are seeing through our partnerships and collaborations with our clients and in our projects. Whether it is a large scale sustainable urban redevelopment, portfolios of existing buildings, or green retail rollouts, the sustainability movement is expanding exponentially by tackling our most vexing issues in the built environment by embracing the whole, rather than one small bit at a time.
For centuries, we’ve retrofitted buildings to keep them up-to-date and functional, but these retrofits have been pretty superficial, like a cosmetic one-night stand. But in recent years, we’re seeing deeper dedication to more meaningful energy retrofits. Deep retrofit describes renovations that seek greater than 50% reduction in energy use and flip the typical pro forma on its head. At the New Buildings Institute Advancing Deep Energy Retrofits for Commercial Buildings summit in New Orleans, we delved deeply into the strategies and policies necessary to help make deep retrofits to become common practice.
In a bold move, Google embraced the USGBC’s call for product transparency and gave the organization a boost with a $3 million grant for healthy building materials research, transparency tools and materials policies.
Committed to our future
Everyone is captivated by visions of the future: witness our fascination with science fiction and predictions of trends that pledge to shape our world in years to come. Numerous programs work to harness that energy and establish the “… (your project type here) of the future.” We enjoyed David Zach’s piece on the future, which helped us put the future in context. The future may not be that into you, but we are. We’ll take 2013’s changes and predict the trends we anticipate for the new year ahead.