Sunday, November 21, 2010

Greenbuild continued

Deidre has captured the big themes at Greenbuild with her usual keen eyes for trends, so I'll rely on my ears. Thanks for the quote from the Admiral, D. With that as my leaping off point, here are a few others that struck a chord.

1) Emma Stewart, PhD, Senior Program Lead, Sustainability Initiative at Autodesk: "The cloud is redesigning knowledge." A former geneticist, Stewart opened with the sobering assessment that the rapid consumption of natural resources, i.e. selfishness, is innately human. When all we know is our own desire, we act to satisfy it. But if cloud computing redesigns our knowledge to reach beyond ourselves into our communities, countries, continents --when what we know about others is as real as what we know about ourselves--perhaps selfishness will go the way of prehensile toes. I love when really smart humans think the species can redeem itself.

2) Mayor Daley, as the recipient of the first Greenbuild Daly Award for Sustainable Cities: "I want to be the first city to build a vertical farm!" Given that the session called "From Solar Panels to Lettuce: Evaluating the Most Productive Options for Building Envelopes" was my one SRO event this year, I think he'll have plenty of help.

3) A spokesperson for the American Chemistry Council trying to do damage control after Dr. Arlene Blum, founder of the Green Science Policy Institute, had detailed the human toxicity of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants: (paraphased) "I think we heard some very important statements about R values (measurement of thermal insulation) that we shouldn't lose sight of." When flame retarded insulation materials are serving up CMR (carcinogenic, mutagenic, and reproductively toxic) effects, I'm pretty sure most of us would be happy to look for our R values elsewhere, and even put up with reduced R in the meantime.

4) Martha Johnson, Administrator of the GSA (U.S. General Services Administration) describing how the agency will take on the risk of becoming a green proving ground for new green technology: "We need to fail fast, fail forward, and fail fruitfully" to bring renewables on line. Expediting failure to get at success - now there's an honest approach.

5) Ted Caplow, Bright Farm Systems: (paraphrased) "When a hydroponic supermarket is growing all the produce it sells on its roof, and consumers are picking or buying at zero food miles, that can only be called a super-duper market." Eat your heart out Super Stop & Shop.

Not a bad take for two and a half days in Chicago. Thanks Greenbuild 2010.


  1. Thanks Carol. Yes I loved Martha Johnson's directive to "Fail fast, fail forward, and fail fruitfully." I think I will take that as my motto for the next year!

  2. Arlene Blum's presentation is here: