Unico’s Edmée Knight and Adam Knoff outside the USGBC reception for Gold members.

We’re back from Greenbuild 2015, and feeling galvanized with our goals and contemporaries. Greenbiz has a nice recap of the conference, and our Senior Sustainability Manager Adam Knoff fired off a few quick takeaways below:

  • Environmental sustainability is the new business. Profit and environmental responsibility are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they share common enemies, like inefficiency and waste, and more importantly, share a common goal: sustainability.
  • LEED continues to grow. Colorado, where Unico Sustainability recently completed consultation on a LEED-Platinum new development project, currently has 3.14 aquare feet of LEED certified space per person (2014), which is the second most in the country.
  • LEED Dynamic Plaque is hitting its stride. The program had a quiet start, but is rapidly gaining steam with 84 million sf and over 340 projects in the works. Moreover, USGBC has made it clear that LDP is not here to replace LEED, it’s here to complement LEED. Said another way: LEED is the process, and LDP is how we communicate the results of that process to the people.
  • Wellness is the next energy efficiency. A common refrain  was “1-10-100,” which refers to $1/SF in energy expense, $10/SF in rent, $100/SF in salaries; if you take care of your people, you’re being financially responsible because you’re managing your biggest expense. There are interesting implications from this idea for the commercial real estate community, including does the 1-10-100 rule translate for non-owner-occupied properties? For instance, how does a developer place value on the wellness of their tenants’ employees? Great food for thought as we gear up for Thanksgiving dinner discussions!

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