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Taking the High Road in Promoting Sustainability

Nov. 22, 2016
Previously, I praised the Green Building Initiative for pledging to promote green-building practices regardless of the "product" used. Now, USGBC South Florida has taken that same high road.

In April, I posted about a new-construction project on which I had served as sustainability consultant (Green Globes Professional) and commissioning authority. That project was the first Green Globes-certified 7-Eleven convenience store in the world. And perhaps even more significant to me as a U.S. Army veteran, it was a store awarded to a U.S. military veteran—with the entire franchise fee waived—under 7-Eleven’s Operation: Take Command program.

On Oct. 29, during the USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council) South Florida Chapter’s annual GalaVerde awards ceremony, the store received the 2016 Most Outstanding Non-LEED Commercial Project award. The awards program traditionally has honored outstanding individuals and businesses in various sectors, including community, green business, green government, and green elected official. It also has recognized outstanding LEED-certified projects in such categories as new-construction (NC) public, NC private, NC education, NC high-rise residential, commercial interiors, LEED for Schools, existing buildings, core and shell, healthcare, and various LEED for Homes types. This year, for the first time, it also recognized non-LEED projects—that is, projects certified to comparable green-building standards—in four categories: Commercial, Single-Family, Low-Rise Multi-Family, and High-Rise Multi-Family.

In my May 23 post, I gave a shout-out to the Green Building Initiative, the non-profit organization responsible for administering Green Globes in the United States, for committing to not using "green shame" or "green blame" to promote its brand. Instead, it pledged to promote green-building practices—regardless of the "product" used—to advance the implementation of sustainability in the built environment. Now USGBC South Florida has taken that same high road by recognizing the value of other non-LEED green rating systems.

A final note: As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope we all remember the real purpose of this day. This past election cycle arguably was one of the most contentious ever (certainly in my lifetime), and there is no doubt many Americans are unhappy with the outcome. Nevertheless, most of us continue to enjoy a quality of life unknown to much of the rest of the world. We should be mindful of our blessings every day, but especially on Thanksgiving. When the award for the 7-Eleven project was presented at the GalaVerde event, I was absent. It was only the second time I missed the event, but I had the best excuse: My wife and I were in Pennsylvania for our son’s wedding, so I have more than usual to be thankful for this year. Have a happy Thanksgiving, don’t worry about the diet until after the New Year, and for those of you who enjoy Rivalry Weekend college football, GO HOKIES!