Green building is more than the transformation of our built environments. It’s also about the kinds of sustainable behaviors we want to inspire to create lasting change. Building lasting change was the theme of this year’s Canada Green Building Council’s national conference; and, in beautiful alignment with the conference theme, 2013 marked the Conference’s inaugural legacy project. Interface was thrilled to extend its tradition of engaging employees in volunteer work and co-lead this exciting initiative to engage conference delegates in meaningful volunteer activities that will enhance the lives of many in need. On the agenda – refreshing the indoor and outdoor common areas in one of the Vancouver Native Housing Society’s residences, inhabited primarily by elders inVancouver’s Downtown Eastside community. On June 4, 25-30 volunteers were busy creating a more vibrant space by painting, installing new furniture, power washing, weeding and gardening – all in effort to build lasting change and a positive legacy.
I had the chance to ask CaGBC President,Thomas Mueller for his thoughts on the new initiative. Here is what he had to share…
1. What is the CaGBC Legacy Event all about?
Helping the VHNS renovate their recreation room and rooftop patio is a wonderful opportunity for our delegates to give back and for the CaGBC to thank Vancouver for hosting our 2013 Conference. It’s an initiative that contributes actual green building value to our host community and also demonstrates a sense of social responsibility.
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2. What do you hope conference delegates will get out of it?
In doing this event, we’re responding to feedback from our delegates to provide opportunities to get them out of the convention center, integrate with the local community and connect with fellow delegates on another level.
3. Why is leaving a legacy important?
Our theme this year is Building Lasting Change. Green building professionals understand it is essential that green building projects need to be built to create long-term environmental, economic and social value. Undertaking this legacy event which will improve an existing building is adding real value at the community level that will provide lasting benefits long after our delegates have left.
4. How will the legacy event advance green building in Canada?
Using VOC-free paint and carpet, installing energy efficient appliances and creating a pleasant outdoor space to grow food are elements of green building that every Canadian would value. We hope more people will understand sustainable improvements like these are affordable and easy to undertake with highly beneficial outcomes.
5. What is the value of partnering with companies like Interface on this type of initiative?
We’re happy to be partnering with Interface, who has a great reputation as a green manufacturer and a history of doing similar events. Globally, Interface has made a tradition of prefacing all of its corporate conferences with these types of roll-up-your sleeves and give-back-to-the-community initiatives. We know we’re in good hands to ensure our first Legacy project is a success.
About Thomas Mueller – President and CEO, CaGBC
Thomas Mueller is a Founding Director of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) and became President & CEO of the Council in 2005. In this role, he leads the Council’s national strategy, advocacy, governance and programs on green development.