At the recent launch of Edge Sustainability Consulting we celebrated our very own Brenda Marten’s designation as a LEED Fellow. If you aren’t familiar with the green building designation there is nothing higher when it comes to showing someone’s green building knowledge in North America. Currently the systems starts with Green Associate, follows with Accredited Professional (with one of many specialities) and then only if you have 10 years of experience and are nominated can you become a LEED Fellow.
I was on the consultation committees when the USGBC was coming up with this three tiered system, and protested (along with many others) about the term “fellow” as the highest honour. “Have you ever noticed there seems to be more women in the green building movement than men”, many would say during the calls. It seems that these comments along with common sense fell on deaf ears at the USGBC. While we applaud the USGBC for many progressive steps they still have a long way to go on social issues.
How can such a progressive movement be so far behind when it comes to gender issues? Unfortunately, addressing social issues has generally been a weak point of the green building movement. A few years ago there were more LEED certified prisons in the U.S. than schools. For a long time (before the creation of Minimum Program Requirements) you could certify gas stations, and parking garages as green buildings. When it comes to LEED internationally there is little that address’ working conditions. This is something we take for granted in North America as a government responsibility but not something common in the fastest growing areas for LEED. In India where they have developed a green building rating called GRIHA http://www.grihaindia.org/ there is an entire section devoted to health and well being during construction.
Now with two women becoming the second batch of LEED Fellows in British Columbia (Teresa Coady from B+H and our very own Brenda Martens), it’s time to start advancing more than just environmental sustainability, and remember the reason that we are building this green building movement…people