Welcome to Sustainability Enthusiast, intended to keep you informed on all things sustainable in our world, in design, construction & development and in your daily life.
Many of us in Jacksonville and Northeast Florida have been involved in efforts to make our city, and our region, more sustainable and resilient. Examples of success are available to us, even if not widely acknowledged or recognized. But we long for bold leadership that will make us a truly sustainable city. A vision that provides for aggressive targets to lower emissions, protect our natural resources, improve air and water quality, to grow our economy through support of green business and to enact policies that positively affect the health and well-being of all of those in our community.
As we move closer to our local elections, and during a time of joy and hope, I put forth the wish of a true sustainability vision and policy originating from City Hall. What a gift that would be for the citizens of Jacksonville! While we continue our work, here is an excellent example of a river city making great strides in this effort. Take a look at this video series, compliments of CDP, which includes the actions of Memphis, Tennessee, a member of the Global Covenant of Mayors.
To say I was proud when Jacksonville was named one of the world’s most resilient cities is an understatement. This was a huge accomplishment for Mayor Alvin Brown’s administration. Few residents knew about it but I was certain that would change. I was excited to think how I, and others in Jacksonville who are passionate on this issue, could be assets and resources to the incoming Resilience Officer. I knew that we had a lot of work to do to truly earn and maintain this distinction, but what an amazing opportunity not only to make Jacksonville a safe and resilient city but an opportunity to draw talent to our area through the process. Would the new administration see it the same way?
I became concerned when a separate position was not created and a job search wasn’t conducted. After all, this is a very big task that by definition prepares cities to be resilient through physical, social and economic challenges. That encompass preparation for and recovery from the effects of sea level rise, groundwater infiltration, salinity, ecology, severe weather events, air quality issues, health and well-being and economic downturns, just to name a few. This role would address the infrastructure and emergency management needed to do so. As a contractor, I can clearly see the public safety and public works aspects to the term ‘resilience’. Despite my skepticism of how slowly we were moving on the establishment of a resiliency offer and the process to appoint rather than hire one, I could never imagine the City would walk away from being a part of The 100 Resilient Cities. I personally sat at a recent US Green Building Council meeting where the new resiliency officer spoke to us about his new role and how important it is to our city.
On the bright side, there are many in our area who understand and contribute on these important issues. They will continue to work behind the scenes to make positive strides but not having our leadership behind this initiative is a huge setback.
An example is the Northeast Florida Regional Council who engaged on this issue early with the Committee on Sea Level Rise, on which I was proud to serve. This committee created a Regional Action Plan. Since that time and in response to this plan, the NEFRC has created the P2R2 Public/Private Regional Resiliency effort.
For more on this topic visit Florida Politics and Melissa Ross who will undoubtedly stay on top of this important issue. I am comforted to know many of us are.
Home Builders and Retailers have embraced sustainability because their customers demand it and the numbers prove its value.
The National Association of Homebuilders says it is “Engaging Consumers of all Ages in Sustainable Living”. This information is backed up with data in Dodge Analytics Smart Market Report titled Green and Healthier Homes.
The report states that “…some aspects of green, especially energy conservation, have become an expected practice in the industry, and how commitment to green homes is expected to continue to grow.” In addition, those builders who execute green building practices see a positive effect. “Consistent with the findings of the previous Green Homes Smart Market Reports from 2011 and 2014, builders with a high level of green involvement (those who do more than 60% of their projects green) report lower additional cost to building green than those who do less green building.” Read the full report featured on the NAHB website.
The retail market is no exception. According to an article by Goulston and Storrs PC, retailers have shifted from sustainability as a regulatory response to now pursuing sustainability to increase customer satisfaction and capture brand loyalty.
What is your industry’s view on sustainability, resilience and green? Consumers and Corporations alike are asking for green products and services from the supply chain to the end product. Commercial Contractors and Home Builders need to be knowledgeable on this topic and implement strategies to reduce initial costs to their customers or those customers will go elsewhere. Are you in the best position to meet your client’s expectations and deliver results?
Climate Change has grabbed major headlines, including calls to action by Pope Francis and announcements by China to cap some emissions and put a price on carbon. Continue reading