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In Memoriam: Remembering a Friend and Sustainable Force

Feb. 4, 2021
CLARK'S REMARKS: Last month, the green building movement lost a “senior statesman” when Dr. Charles Kibert died in an automobile accident in Florida.

On Monday, Jan. 25, our industry lost, as the Green Building Initiative (GBI) so aptly put it, a “senior statesman” in the green building movement. Dr. Charles Kibert, GBI's new chairman, was killed in an automobile accident in Gainesville, FL. He was 73.

For me, it was both a professional and personal loss. I first met Charles shortly after earning my Green Globes Professional certification in 2012. In the ensuing years, he served as the Green Globes Assessor on a few of my projects, but perhaps more importantly, he also advised and guided me on several projects in which he had no formal role… a couple of which won awards. Charles inspired me and members of my staff to do a better job on every subsequent project. He was a valued colleague, a trusted advisor, a gifted mentor, and a friend.

Dr. Kibert was the University of Florida College of Design, Construction and Planning’s Holland Professor in the M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management and also served as Director of the Powell Center for Construction and Environment. He was co-founder and president of the Cross Creek Initiative, a non-profit industry/university joint venture promoting sustainability in the built environment.

A true pioneer in the green building movement, Dr. Kibert served on GBI’s Board of Directors from 2006 until his passing and had just been elected its Chair. Previously, he had served as Vice Chair of GBI’s ANSI Consensus Body and a number of committees and task forces within GBI and other sustainability organizations. In his role as an educator for more than 30 years, he also helped inspire literally hundreds of students, and conducted valuable research and writing in his quest to implement more sustainable building principles in construction.

“His passion for the environment and improving buildings infused every sentence and every effort to which he lent his time and expertise. He will be sorely missed, and our hearts go out to his family, fellow faculty, and students," said Vicki Worden, president and CEO of Portland OR-based GBI.

Dr. Kibert was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and after graduation, served in Vietnam as an Army Ranger officer. Eventually, he retired from the Army Reserve as a Colonel. He also earned an MS in Nuclear Engineering at Carnegie-Mellon University and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of South Florida.

Charles leaves behind his wife, four children, two granddaughters, and three siblings.

RIP, my friend.

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A regular contributor to HPAC Engineering and a member of its editorial advisory board since 2012, Clark, LEED AP, O+M, is a principal at Sustainable Performance Solutions LLC, a south Florida-based engineering firm focusing on energy and sustainability. Email him at [email protected].