Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Careful words

I have a book in me ... I just know it. :)

Tuesday brought my son home at 2:30 am. The good news, he came home in his own car - I didn't have to pick him up at juvenile detention. The other good news ... I don't sleep when he is out late and so the night was a short one. The tertiary good news ... I was moderating a panel discussion at 7am that morning. So on 3 hours sleep, and under the influence of significant amounts of B12 and caffeine, I began my day.
The panel discussion was addressing the gap between building a great building - energy efficient, healthy, lots of sunlight - and finding a banker who recognizes something other than the financial performance of the building. Daily Journal of Commerce was there taking notes. The conversation went really well ... conclusions all pointing towards taking the extra time and effort to consider how the "healthy" aspects of a project translate into better financial returns for a variety of reasons ... then it happened. The B12 and caffeine wore off. Out of my mouth comes the following, "As a banker, I don't care about how clean the air is or how many people show up to work each day ... what matters to me is how your cool LEED Silver, Gold, Platinum, Living Building performs differently than a traditional building built to code. Show me how your building performs better - lower expenses, lower maintenance costs - and how that generates higher Net Operating Income." :-)
The fact of the matter is that I do care, but I was being intellectually lazy in making my point - The human aspects of the sustainability movement are the drivers of change - In order to support the benefits intrinsic in LEED projects, we need to carefully define and defend how the characteristics of a LEED building contribute to behavioral change in the occupants and therefore add value. I know this ... Creating a healthy environment benefits all parties in various ways. Triple bottom line - People, Place, Profit. I didn't make that point in my statement - but it was a great sound bite ... and so was quoted in the DJC and attributed to me. Dan Weldon, Vice President, Eco-banking Manager, LEED AP, Traditional Asshole Banker. Oh man :)... (laughing at self and at life generally). This is what keeps life fun. Maybe I will have the opportunity to clarify ... maybe not. It is out there in the ether now. And I move on. This message needs to be clear - it takes a community of dedicated, intelligent people to solve complex problems. Linguistics - the translation of one language to another - gets a bit convoluted at times. We need to find alternative paths that are not presently there - life is like that.
I enjoy the opportunity to learn this in so many different and vital ways. It all adds to the richness of the journey. I am building new and unique pathways of reasoning in my brain. Making connections that were not there previously. Through those connections, I will see things which were previously hidden from me. That is the beauty of life and learning. I so enjoy being a student.

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