A reflection on the first Los Angeles Greenbuild Conference
As a sustainability consultant and passionate advocate for green design, I was thrilled that Greenbuild’s 2016 Conference was held in Los Angeles, the city I live and work in.
U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) international conference, includes several days of speakers, workshops and tours of green buildings in the area. This year’s conference theme of “Iconic Green,” created a focus and excitement around a topic I’m particularly close to as a recently accredited WELL AP – health and wellness.
I taught a session called “Healthy and Happy: The Importance and Value of Human Capital” with three other speakers including Joon-Ho Choi of the University of Southern California, Leigh Christy of Perkins+Will, and Amanda Kaminsky of Building Product Ecosystems LLC. The session focused on illustrating how our work environments have an enormous influence on health and productivity outcomes, as well as our individual and collective happiness and general well-being. It also focused on how reconnecting the work environment with the natural environment via the use of daylight, fresh air, green spaces and other aspects of biophillic design has a demonstrable effect on a company’s bottom line, not least because it promotes health and retention of key staff.
As Greenbuild wrapped up, we had another event to look forward to by USGBC-LA – the 12th Annual Green Gala hosted by the LA chapter. BuroHappold’s Los Angeles office at 800 Wilshire Boulevard was selected to receive two 2016 Sustainable Innovation Awards under the categories of “Health & Wellness” and “Energy & Atmosphere.”
We were thrilled to have received these Sustainable Innovation Awards and the recognition for our innovative workplace at BuroHappold Los Angeles. We treat our space as a living lab with constant monitoring and tweaks, and partner with university students to utilize our space, data and occupants for their research. Beyond sustainability, we have a strong focus on health and wellness and social equity issues for our firm, demonstrated by our JUST label. We strive to create a superior indoor environment that is connected to the outdoors, as happy and healthy staff is of utmost importance. It was great to see our office mission of health and happiness and our firm’s commitment to our JUST label being tied into overarching themes at the Greenbuild Conference and the USGBC-LA Annual Green Gala.
“It was an honor to work with Heidi, Joon-Ho, Leigh and Amanda as they prepared to present on the important topic of health and happiness in the workplace. It is refreshing to see companies like BuroHappold and its clients embrace the WELL Building Standard and other guidelines that put people at the center of the design. It’s time for all companies to move towards healthier spaces for their employees and companies like BuroHappold are leading the way.”
Barbara Fanning, WELL AP, GreenBuild Special Sets Coach and Consultant at Mindswing
“This was my first year in attendance at Greenbuild. It was a great opportunity to become acquainted with the newest technologies in sustainable design, and to be introduced to the people pushing the charge. The highlight for me was the Creativity in Thermal Comfort presentation put on by Atelier Ten and the Center for the Build Environment at UC Berkeley. The presenters walked through multiple case studies in which they outlined innovative ways to improve occupant thermal comfort – relaxing set points, introducing local conditioning, informing space planning based on façade exposure, and taking advantage of natural forces like buoyancy. I found it inspiring to see these strategies play a focused role in the architectural design and energy use reduction of beautiful buildings.”
Emily Lamon, BuroHappold, MEP
“My impression is that the green movement is now concerned with human wellbeing over building performance. Perhaps this is because we now have a fairly sophisticated understanding of how buildings function in terms of materials and energy and it’s time to focus on something else, or maybe it’s in response to a larger social movement.”
Patti Harburg-Petrich, BuroHappold, Structures