About: Laura Bailey

Recent Posts by Laura Bailey

Why is LEED so darn hard?

I was in a progress meeting for a LEED project the other day, and the owner’s rep was looking through our updated LEED checklist.  He read aloud a couple of the credits, like SSc2 (Development Density and Community Connectivity) and MRc1.1 (Building Reuse) and made a scoffing comment about the fact that our project cannot pursue those credits.  It just isn’t possible due to the nature of our project. The truth is, we don’t have enough points to feel comfortable that we can achieve the level of certification that we are aiming for.  We were searching for credits we could tack-on to add more points to the project. The disappointing fact is that we originally identified enough credits to have a comfy 5 to 8 point cushion.  That was BEFORE design even began.  And somehow during the design process, 3 of the design credits did not get incorporated into the project’s design, costing us 5 points. On top of that, a couple other credits were determined to be “unnecessary”. So here we are, nearing the end of the project, and the owner doesn’t understand why we are struggling to come up with enough credits. I looked him in the eye  Continue Reading »

What you should know before calling your project “LEED Certifiable”

There seems to be an increasing number of green building projects that are adopting the design and construction principles of the U.S. Green Building Council’s® LEED® green building program while opting to forgo pursuing actual certification.  From a purely environmental perspective, this is great news.  More buildings are being designed and built to have a reduced negative impact on the natural environment.  From a marketing standpoint, these project teams could be shooting themselves in the foot, or worse, violating trademark and branding policies set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). USGBC has clear and explicit guidelines for using the LEED acronym and the accompanying logos.  USGBC’s Trademark Policy and Branding Guidelines outline just how to word references to LEED registered and certified projects, sizing and color specifications for logo use, and proper acknowledgment of trademark ownership and permissions.  The violation that appears to be most common, however, is not related to projects that have achieved or hope to achieve LEED certification.  Many projects are being referred to as LEED Certifiable, LEED Compliant, LEED Qualified, LEED Equivalent, or some variation that attempts to indicate that the building was designed and constructed in accordance to the LEED green building program  Continue Reading »

Defining Sustainability: Triple Bottom Line

This article was adapted from this original article by New Leaf founder, Laura Bailey. A common sentiment among business execs is that being green is too expensive.  Well of course it is too expensive when you take the stance that in order for a corporation to be “sustainable”, it must focus solely on conserving natural resources regardless of costs.  Let’s take a look at a different approach for defining sustainability:  The Triple Bottom Line. Sometimes referred to as TBL, 3BL, The Three Pillars, or The Three Ps (People, Profit, Planet), it all boils down to the same basic concept:  success should be measured using economic, ecological, and societal criteria rather than profit alone.  Therefore, a sustainable business is one that operates at the intersection of Economic Growth, Social Equity, and Environmental Stewardship.  Rather than having a separate “Sustainability Strategy”, this balanced approach guides the organization to align its sustainability goals with its business strategy, or better yet, to integrate sustainability into its business strategy. The Triple Bottom Line is a powerful business philosophy.  A corporation that is sustainable by this definition enjoys profits while improving the lives of the people it is connected to and protecting the environment.   While a  Continue Reading »

IBM Using Technology to Improve Water Sustainability

Written by Owain Jones, MBA in Sustainability student at University of Saint Francis Some things that people may take for granted on a day-to-day basis is the availability of freshwater. Our world is made up of massive amounts of water, however, the majority of this is salt water, about 97.5%. The remaining 2.5% is freshwater but only 30% of these freshwater sources are groundwater, the main source of water for human consumption. For a world population that is continually growing and consuming more and more resources, this staggeringly small amount of available freshwater cannot sustain it. This is highlighted by the fact that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in areas with an extremely scarce water supply (UN Water Statistics). Thus, a need is created to be able to better utilize our current freshwater resources and improve the sustainability of these resources. The root of water resource sustainability is water conservation, preached and advocated for all over the world. International Business Machines, most commonly referred to as IBM, has been developing computers and technologies for businesses for many years and has grown into one of the largest companies in the US. Currently, IBM has pushed a business solutions focus that involves analytics,  Continue Reading »

CSR: Going Beyond Compliance, Risk Management, and Philanthropy

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) focuses on the “people” and “planet” aspects of the Triple Bottom Line.  This is a corporation’s initiatives to take a proactive approach to managing its impacts on the environment and society.  Proactive being the keyword, meaning that the business implements programs to lessen harmful impacts and amplify positive impacts before it is forced to by regulation, industry, or its constituents. Beyond Compliance CSR programs are voluntary and are not enforceable by regulating agencies.  In fact, a strong CSR program goes above and beyond what regulation requires.  A simple example of this would be an organization that uses the Clean Water Act as a benchmark and sets goals to reduce contaminating releases to a set standard below what the act allows.  A more robust program would also implement a program that educates employees on the effects of pollution and partners with organizations that work to protect local bodies of water. Beyond Risk Management While Corporate Social Responsibility could be looked at as a form of risk management in that it keeps an organization ahead of the curve in terms of changing regulation and customer demands, CSR goes beyond risk management in the traditional sense.  Generally speaking, risk  Continue Reading »

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