That amazing Net Zero Glass tower full of well ventilated computer viewing stations is truly beautiful, but does it have an identity issue? Does it have a sense of function in larger world where people need some help just getting by, let along worrying about their thermal comfort or the quality of their coffee?

Working with the USGBC Social Equity Working Group has given me a new insight into the disconnect between the invisible people who are either servicing our award winning projects, building them, or maybe just being impacted by the new neighbors at the Whole Foods that just opened and what they are willing to pay for rent and groceries.

Full disclosure, these issues impact my life as well, and I had a kind of satori when I worked on this article. Thinking about those mobile library trucks that reach out to underserved households to ensure books and educational resources are available outside the downtown. Do buildings ask themselves at night when the BAS has shut off the lights, “What am I truly about?”  Is this all there is, receiving and exporting data to servers around the globe?

Today new LEED Pilot credits have been released into the wild, and many in the building community will ask themselves “what does Social Equity have to do with buildings?” those big inanimate canyon makers shimmering with glass reflections down every booming metropolis. But what if, in addition to NOT using 40 percent of the energy generated in the United States, green buildings also developed community, shared resources, and supported the people who support them?

Read about the newest version of these pilot credits here.  To be continued.

 

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Are you reading this from an office cubicle or other interior space with a limited view of the world outside? How would it be if you could watch vegetables being planted, weeded and grown instead of that asphalt covered rooftop, and actually get some food at the end of the week to go along with the digitally recorded bank deposit which then digitally gets distributed to your service providers for your digital entertainment? (I mean, have you ever thought of your reverse supply chain, the products that you pay for with the hours you put in?)  Introducing FarmBot, the open-source CNC farming robot   which is being developed in California as a completely open source project to build large scale solar powered food generation and farming devices. This concept builds on the Raspberry Pi foundation idea of teaching new technology, but also combines farming and land use and, potentially, healthy food. Let’s think of this as the first step toward integrating AI, Internet of Things and Sustainable Organic Agriculture. Think it puts humans out of the loop? I envision this as a way to connect by placing food production everywhere, link it to solar and water efficiency and potentially raise awareness of the joy of growing food.

Read the full story at Fast Company. For a delivery truck making rounds, minor tweaks in a route can save huge amounts of time and gas. That’s why UPS spent a decade and hundreds of millions of dollars building an algorithm to help calculate where trucks should turn. A startup called Routific designed an algorithm […]

via This Bee-Inspired Algorithm Helps Delivery Companies Plan The Most Efficient Route — Environmental News Bits

Read the full story in Waste360. A Quincy, Mass.-based grocery store is using anaerobic digestion to convert food waste into energy. Stop & Shop has partnered with a local technology company to open an anaerobic digestion facility in the state.

via How One Massachusetts Grocer is Converting Food Waste to Energy — Environmental News Bits

The U.S. Department of Energy today announced a major expansion of its distinctive online crowdsourcing community for building technologies. Seeking to draw on the creativity and technical expertise of the American public, citizens can now submit their ideas to six open calls for innovation, with the chance to partner with a DOE national laboratory and […]

via DOE Announces Major Expansion of Crowdsourcing Initiative for Building Technologies — Environmental News Bits

We are just beginning to understand the full Life Cycle consequences of some of the amazing materials we have developed.

Environmental News Bits

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Humanity has spent the last century creating life-changing luxuries. Here’s why our next move should be learning how to wean ourselves off these wonders.

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Great quotefrom Mr. Revkin…”One misperception people have is that because scientists are arguing, that means we don’t know anything. That’s actually not true at all. So the more you know about how science works, the less likely you are to fall into that trap.

Environmental News Bits

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

Revkin was the keynote speaker at the Michigan State University Environmental Science and Policy Program’s “Fate of the Earth” symposium April 1. The conference schedule was filled with leading researchers on sustainability issues who all addressed the same theme that Revkin explores in his blog: How will the human race sustain itself on a planet with dwindling resources?

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