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    Interview with Myron J. Rivers

    The USGBC Cincinnati Chapter was begun in 2002 by a group of about 25 area architects and engineers and build professionals to bring greater advocacy, influence, education and resources to the green building movement in Cincinnati.

    In speaking with Myron J. Rivers, Executive Director of the USGBC Cincinnati shared that the USGBC Cincinnati primarily functions as a resource to companies and individuals who are interested and committed to a prosperous and sustainable future in our community through cost-efficient and energy-saving buildings.

    While the majority of our members (individual and companies) are those who design and or construct buildings; we like to think that we serve the entire region by advocating for healthier sustainable communities.

    The USGBC’s greatest area of focus is the design, construction and rehab of buildings. With the majority of the US population spending 90% of their time indoors our organization has the ability to advocate on a wide variety of “green” subjects from energy consumption, indoor air quality to job creation.

    The unique value proposition to the community is our education and advocacy of the green build environment. Each year throughout our region hundreds of individuals attain their LEED AP accreditation and go on to create some of the most sustainable office buildings, manufacturing plants, homes and schools.

    Many argue that Green is a costly addition to any project or process. This is a constant concern within our industry and in many cases there can be an additional cost in the creation of a building….initially. What building owners must realize is the cost over time. Over the cost of owning and operating that same building they will be able to see cost savings depending on the improvements made in as little as 2 years and in some improvements the cost savings can and have been fully realized immediately.

    Every year owners are seeing a considerable cost savings to their operations in ways that were not initially thought of. In LEED certified building in California, government agencies have seen an increase in productivity directly tied to day lighting and that with the increased improvements to inner air quality employees have logged fewer sick days and Doctor Appointments which has led to a decrease in many companies’ health care premiums.

    The arguments are still being made on the other side but every year that we see an increase in the amount of LEED certified buildings we have more and more data to support our claims.

    The USGC’s typical use case is not the same as an ordinary for profit-company, we advocate for policy and legal changes for government buildings and educate our members and the community at large on the benefits to creating sustainable communities.

    The next step in service delivery to meet the changes in the industry is to continue to justify LEED certification of buildings in our area. For some projects the additional cost to obtaining LEED may be cost prohibitive. But, we don’t want that to be a detractor from those seeking to increase efficiencies and sustainable measures in design and construction. With even more corporations and private owners adopting the principles of USGBC our cause and influence becomes greater and more mainstream. Even with that realization we still have a long way to go in educating the everyday consumer on the benefits of building and implementing green practices into their daily lives.

    Rivers’ shared the USGBC Cincinnati’s current biggest challenge to green implementation, delivery and practice is not many people know who we are and even fewer can clearly recognize what we do. Our constituency is a fairly homogenous group and we still have some ground to cover in our ability to reach a wide audience. We recognize this as something that could inhibit our message and reach but we stay committed to our cause and continue planning to bring that cause even more mainstream each day.

    Our greatest strength is that within the build industry we have great allies to our causes and it is significant to mention that within every major architecture firm, construction company, and engineering firm in Cincinnati employs LEED accredited professionals.

    Rivers see the three most significant developments effecting USGBC Cincinnati is the economy, the economy and the economy. As national and local economy continue to grow stronger the development and build industry will continue to grow. We must be positioned to take advantage of that growth and help others to understand the importance that they consider green buildings.

    As a newly installed Executive Director we rate our organization on a scale from one-to-ten, ten being the highest green aptitude as a seven (7) because we have adopted and maintained a lot of great sustainable practices; but there is still work to be done. While we are not there yet we continue to reach for the 10!





    "Electric Vehicles: Who, What, When and Where?" at the Goldman Sachs Fifth Annual Clean Energy Conference 

    ECOtality CEO Jonathan Read will discuss how ECOtality's smart Blink charging stations are ideal for residential and commercial use, and will provide fast, efficient charging on the go and aid the consumer adoption of electric vehicles for promoting the EV movement funded by $114.8 million grant from Department of Energy through ARAA Stimulus Initiatives. This prospective is challenging when the economy is unstable, increasing loss of jobs and a growing number of unsold vehicles.  America has a long way in adopting this great technology. The challenge is the lack of expendable dollars to purchase electric vehicles and the adoption of the technology.  EVs are still considered boutique, consumed by eco-friendly’s.  It will take many years to remove the current fuel models and shift to EVs.  Remember it took America many years to adopt the front loading washer and dryer. 

    Click here for the story


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