Green Innovation

Many forecast 2020 to be the year of twenty-twenty vision. Little did they know how wobbly poor 2020 would turn out in the end. What with global pandemics, lockdowns, political and economic challenges, a few natural disasters (etc, etc, etc), 2020 unravelled rather quickly and rolled on into 2021. Many breathed a sigh of relief. “What next?” they speculated.

GBCSA CEO, Lisa Reynolds, says that 2021 will be the year of ‘one’. It’s a move from the collective to the individual, but also a call to action. Will we step up and take responsibility for our role in protecting the planet? Will we recognise that we have one chance to make things right?

These deeper questions will be explored at the GBCSA annual Green Building Convention this October where, for the first time ever, a hybrid convention will bring together people from across the globe physically and/or virtually. You can read more about the convention themed, One – One Planet. One Chance, on the website:

Some other big questions are brewing: How do we push the envelope and build greener buildings? How do we innovate more?

In many sectors, the overuse of the term ‘innovation’ has diluted its modern-day meaning. It’s often tacked on as an adjective to make something sound edgy or hip. But what does it really mean to innovate?

Innovation is newness but it’s also an evolution of the old – a ‘making better’ of something. Often innovation requires us to break down old perceptions and see things from a different point of view. Often it requires us to think and imagine outside the boundaries. But sometimes it’s a matter of incremental steps. Doing better, one thing at a time, and eventually finding yourself in a better place than you started.

In this issue we explore some of the different facets of innovation. GBCSA’s strategic use of innovation points and innovation challenges, rewards projects for implementing initiatives – design, construction or performance-related – which are considered to go above and beyond the standard rating tool framework. We explore this more in our 5-Star innovation feature which gives some real-life examples of projects that have pushed the boundary from 4-Star to 5-Star, or even 6-Star.

Inside, GBCSA updates us with changes to the Existing Building Performance rating tool, demonstrating the importance of innovating among existing building stock, and we move on to technology and explore some of the latest innovative water saving and harvesting technologies. Plus, there’s more, but you’ll have to read on to find out what.

As always, we hope these pages will inspire you to find your own “what next?” Take the first step. Turn the page…

Mary Anne Constable