Ray of Hope

Ray of Hope

Some of you may have been floored by the news that Ray Anderson has been diagnosed with cancer. For those of you who want to know more, you can see Ray talking about his condition here.

I don't know if Ray's cancer is environmental in origin, but I do know that cancer rates are significantly higher than prior to the 1950s when use of untested industrial chemicals became prevalent. The good news is that diagnosis is coming earlier and treatment outcomes are better.

I also know that Ray would cringe at the idea of being eulogized while he is still alive, and this is not at all the point of this piece. Ray has been a leader and a visionary in the green building movement for the last nearly 20 years. He has not only led by word but also by deed and I would like to recognize this man who has given so much.

Under Ray's leadership, Interface has eliminated a total of 400 million pounds of manufacturing waste and diverted 175 million pounds of post-use carpet waste from the landfill; reduced the embodied energy in its carpets by 40 percent and reduced its water inputs by 60 percent. Ray's example has inspired many others to follow in his footsteps. What greater tribute than to have Ray's example duplicated and amplified all over the world.

I think this is a reminder to really live while we are alive and every day to embody the ideals that we embrace, just as Ray does every day.

Back to our regular programming . . . see our coverage of the formation of the State Energy Efficiency (SEE) Action Network, a joint effort of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy to help states achieve the maximum cost-effective energy efficiency improvements possible in offices, buildings, industries and homes by 2020. Recognizing the urgency of timing with regard to mitigating global warming, SEE Action Network wants to achieve the goals of the 2006 "National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency, Vision for 2025" five years ahead of time.

GE has just dedicated its new Renewable Energy Global Headquarters in Schenectady, N.Y., which will be 20 percent more energy efficient than required by state building standards and be partially powered by a 48-kilowatt solar system.

In his article, "Energy Efficiency: Solutions That Go Beyond Weatherization," Nathan Rothman discusses an exciting financing option, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), which is a type of bond program enacted in more than a dozen states in the past year. Programs such as PACE cost taxpayers little or no money, but they provide the financial backing a building owner may need to take the first critical step.

Jones Lang LaSalle CEO Colin Dyer provides an insightful wrap-up, "How Davos Delivered on Its 'Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild' Theme," on the World Economic Forum at Davos this year. It is both fascinating and instructive to see what other experts' opinions are regarding our financial and economic challenges.

Congratulations to this year's National Building Museum Honor Award recipients: Perkins+Will for socially-relevant design, Harry Connick Jr. Branford Marsalis, Ann Marie Wilkins and Jim Pate for creating the New Orleans Habitat Musicians Village, and the U.S. DOE Solar Decathlon. I'm hoping someone comes up with a Ray Anderson award.

The latest Look-Grandpa-I-picked-up-the-$20-bill-you-said-was-fake-but-it's-real! award goes to Dulux for cutting the water and CO2 footprints of its Ecosense paint by 50 percent. We are looking forward to the successful rollout of the lessons learned there to the rest of the product line.  

Rob Watson is the executive editor of GreenerBuildings.com. You can reach Rob at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @KilrWat.

Top image CC licensed by Flickr user chris bartnik photography.
Inset image courtesy of Interface.