This Issue

2016 July-August

Q&A with Dagmar Epsten

[vc_row row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="left" padding_top="50"][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="22475" border_color="grey" img_link_target="_self" img_size="full"][vc_column_text] Illustration by Melissa McGill [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="20"][vc_single_image image="22476" border_color="grey" img_link_target="_self" img_size="full"][vc_column_text css=".vc_custom_1469042041186{margin-top: 20px !important;}"]Dagmar B. Epsten is the founder and owner of Epsten Group. In its 25-year history, Epsten Group has grown to a 55-person multidisciplinary architecture and building consulting firm with an international reach and a broad range of services including sustainable design, energy optimization, building commissioning, and LEED consultant services. Epsten is a founding member of the USGBC Atlanta chapter and served on the Board of Directors for Green Chamber of the South.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="20"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]Q.How have you seen innovation evolve since the company’s beginnings in 1991? I have seen sustainability and LEED evolve into a key driver of innovation. In the early 1990s, manufacturers were working on carpet recycling, and now sustainability has created defining criteria for how to organize business models, supply chains, and the design, construction, and operation of buildings. The attention given to life-cycle analysis and data from measuring and projecting a building’s impact on the environment has heightened the urgency of innovation. The innovation that comes from the desire to create sustainable environments is a tangible objective, connected with everyone’s personal experience as well...

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Better Living Through Transparency

[vc_row row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="center" padding_bottom="15"][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] Better Living Through Transparency [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] The CoStar Group offers easy access to information on energy efficiency for its investors, owners, and tenants.   By Alexandra DeLuca[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="left"][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text] As state and local governments continue to adopt building energy transparency laws, a new partnership between the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Initiative and real estate data provider CoStar Group Inc. aims to put more energy efficiency information at the fingertips of investors, owners, and tenants. The plan to add more energy-related information to the CoStar Group’s online property database began in 2013 when Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency at the U.S. Department of Energy, and CoStar CEO Andrew Florance started discussions exploring an alliance. “People have always been interested in as much information on the efficiency of buildings as possible and CoStar has led this effort on a number of fronts,” says Hogan. “As a number of cities were moving forward on building transparency policies and making the information more available, it was an interesting conversation to have with CoStar—given that that data would be public—to pull into their database to make it readily available.” This partnership builds on CoStar’s previous initiatives...

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Legendary Leader

[vc_row row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="left" padding_bottom="15"][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text] Legendary Leader [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] Allison Cunningham is recognized as a Legendary Leader Volunteer at USGBC’s Convergence.   By Alexandra Pecci[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text]When Allison Cunningham worked as a volunteer for CHaRM, Atlanta’s Center for Hard to Recycle Materials, her task was not a glamorous one. “My job was to sort through batteries,” she says. That was in addition to helping to galvanize and organize other U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) volunteers for a monthlong commitment to help the newly opened facility sort through the old tires, mattresses, herbicides, pesticides, paints, and other hard-to-recycle materials that had been dropped off there. When it comes to her volunteer work, Cunningham is a get-your-hands-dirty, lace-up-your-boots kind of person. She does not want to simply organize and talk about an event: “I want to be at the event,” she says. “It’s rewarding to actually be doing it, boots on the ground, and getting out there and talking to people.” That hands-on work ethic is why Cunningham, LEED project reviewer and senior project manager, for Ecoworks Studio in Atlanta, is the Legendary Leader award winner for this year’s Convergence Volunteer Awards. Cunningham has worked with USGBC Georgia for six years as both a member and...

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Innovative Energy

[vc_row css=".vc_custom_1469033175715{margin-bottom: 20px !important;}" row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="left"][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_single_image image="17498" border_color="grey" img_link_target="_self" img_size="full"][vc_single_image image="22448" border_color="grey" img_link_target="_self" img_size="full"][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] By Alexandra Deluca [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] ARPA-E: The energy industry’s accelerator. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="20"][vc_column_text] Some people have heard of the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Since its inception in 1958 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the aftermath of Russia’s Sputnik launch, the advanced research arm of the Department of Defense has been responsible for cutting-edge military technologies such as stealth aircraft and artificial intelligence. It has also ushered in technologies that dramatically impact daily life, including the Internet and GPS. Not as many people are aware of a younger federal agency, conceived in DARPA’s image, that focuses on supporting potentially disruptive technologies for the entire energy technology sector: Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="20"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_single_image image="22449" border_color="grey" img_link_target="_self" img_size="full"][vc_column_text]Jennifer Gerbi and Eric Rolfing. Photos by: Ana L. Ka'ahanui.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="left" padding_bottom="25"][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]Just as the Space Race spurred DARPA, a 2007 National Academies report, “Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future,” identified the need to stimulate innovation via a research and development (R&D) arm of the Department...

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Sea Change

[vc_row css=".vc_custom_1469033175715{margin-bottom: 20px !important;}" row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="left"][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_single_image image="16705" border_color="grey" img_link_target="_self" img_size="full"][vc_single_image image="22429" border_color="grey" img_link_target="_self" img_size="full"][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] By Kiley Jacques [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] The Surfrider Foundation broadens its efforts to protect ocean waters by including residential landscape management. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="20"][vc_column_text] "Some of the best times to go surfing are when it’s raining, and we are told by the government to stay out of the water for 72 hours after a rain event—so you have to strike a balance between getting sick and taking advantage of great waves,” says Paul Herzog, an avid surfer and Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) program coordinator for the Surfrider Foundation. The foundation’s Clean Water Initiative is devoted to protecting 100 percent of U.S. coastlines over the next five years. Through these programs, of which OFG is one, they keep hundreds of millions of gallons of polluted water from entering oceans and waterways daily. The Surfrider Foundation introduced OFG seven years ago with the idea of giving its members a way to make a difference while waiting for government policies to change. “We had seen water quality problems persist, and while we worked at multiple levels—advocacy, programming, projects—we wanted to give our members a kind...

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Nurturing The Future

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_single_image image="18094" border_color="grey" img_link_target="_self" img_size="full"][vc_single_image image="22407" border_color="grey" img_link_target="_self" img_size="full"][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] By Kiley Jacques [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] USGBC’s Learning Lab equips educators with the resources needed to shape environmentally literate students. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="20"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_single_image image="22408" border_color="grey" img_link_target="_self" img_size="full"][vc_column_text]Mundo Verde Public Charter School sustainability coordinator Tara McNerney and Jenny Wiedower, K-12 manager at The Center for Green Schools. Photo by: Ana L. Ka'ahanui. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="left" padding_bottom="25"][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text] Ensuring an educational experience that supports a sustainable future is the bedrock of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). In August 2015, they decided to add digital material to prepare students for 21st century jobs, many of which are in the green industry sector. To start, Jenny Wiedower, K-12 manager at the Center for Green Schools, and her colleagues took cues from the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools Program, which recognizes schools making green strides. According to Wiedower, those strides include measures taken to reduce negative impacts on the environment, increase health and wellness, and produce environmentally literate graduates. “Our role in that third pillar was very nominal,” says Wiedower. “We wanted to do what we could.” So,...

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The Future Is Now

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_single_image image="22404" border_color="grey" img_link_target="_self" img_size="full"][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/4"][vc_single_image image="22402" border_color="grey" img_link_target="_self" img_size="full"][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] Shervin Pishevar Co-founder and executive chairman Hyperloop One [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4"][vc_column_text] [dropcaps type='normal' color='' background_color='' border_color='']Y[/dropcaps]ou couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful moment for the future to arrive. The late-day sun dipped behind a range of hills, a breeze was picking up, and out in the Nevada desert—30 miles from the Vegas Strip—I was standing behind a chain-link fence looking at the future of transportation. On the other side of the fence was a 1,500-pound metal sled, a giant aluminum centipede, resting at the start of a 300-meter track. Under the sled and extending down its center for another 57 meters was a thin linear electric motor that, when juiced with power, would shoot the sled down the track. At Hyperloop One, we call this rig the POAT, or propulsion open-air test. Zero to 60 mph in 1.1 seconds, before stopping in a big plume of dust. I was with a couple of site engineers and we whooped, high-fiving all around, and hugged. This was my preview of what the world saw this past May: the first working component of the Hyperloop, Elon Musk’s bold idea for...

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