“The overall mission for our projects is to reduce scarce resource use and be better environmental stewards.”
When we initiated this discussion of key elements, we thought of the basics of Light, Air, Energy, Design and Sustainability. Leap/Step was a natural – our experience with them building the Sustainability Roadmap as well as their holisitic perspective is a rare combination of data and vision. SwiftEnvirons sat with Breeze Glazer and Arash Guity of Leap/Step regarding their unique perspective regarding sustainability.
SwiftEnvirons: How would you describe Innovation?
Leap/Step: Making an impact – using our knowledge to make a difference.
SwiftEnvirons: And Leadership in Sustainability?
Breeze: The importance of stakeholder leader for buy-in is critical. That is composed of Curiosity – A leader who sees sustainability as something challenging, exciting.
Arash: and a leader must Inspire not direct
Breeze: Right, Entice others on the team to join the cause and contribute. t
Arash: We need buy-in across the leadership chain.
SwiftEnvirons: In addition to your development of a set of owner tools to assess and plan performance (above), what Innovations do you see?
Arash: Innovation in technology is actually leapfrogging past the Western status quo. Case in point – sub-Saharan Africa– everybody had cell phones 10 years ago. That was easier for them to adopt because it wasn’t replacing an existing technology. No investment in land-based communication was needed in the way it is expected in much of the West.
Another is natural ventilation.
SwiftEnvirons: Right, in hospitals this goes back to Florence Nightingale. But now?
Arash: Exactly. In the Third World, Clinics or other settings where there never was a mechanical system before, they are effectively using natural ventilation. Now we find ourselves using those as case studies to try to bring back that natural ventilation to the US.
SwiftEnvirons: And how does that work in areas? Much work to be done. Your work transcends the US. How do you see International Work?
Arash: The goal of sustainability and resiliency is much more dire in emerging nations than in the USA.
SwiftEnvirons: and Sourcing of materials?
Breeze: In a place like the Maldives – they import all elements of concrete, even sand. Everything. And have to export waste. They have real challenges with rising seas.
Arash: We’re working with them to see if they can use waste products like aggregate as is done in the US. All waste glass can be crushed to offset either sand or Portland cement.
SwiftEnvirons: and People?
Breeze: A lot of the construction workers in the Maldives are from other countries and can’t read. So how do you deliver the same information to them? How do you successfully communicate sustainability to people with different literacy and language challenges?