Company News

Looking Forward - Engaging Together as a Green Building Community

placeholder+imagePosted on: 01/28/2024

Rate It Green Members and Friends -  

Thank you for being a part of our green building community, and welcome to our first newsletter of 2024!  With this email, we bring you so much positive energy and a reaffirmation of the spirit of what we do.  As Green Builder and Rate It Green Content Partner Matt Hoots said the other day,  "The only way we are going to keep progressing toward solutions is to continue the conversation and share.”  I wholeheartedly agree!

I am excited to report that I am installing VRF heat pumps at home, starting this week. We predict up to a 30% reduction in our energy bills, and though we’re not going fossil-fuel free, we will be turning our natural gas boilers into backups when it’s above 30 or 40 degrees out.  I’ll report more on this project as we progress - as the compressor installation will wait until it’s warmer out and snow-free.  The news image this week is actually a lovely image from where we were hiding this week during some of the more disruptive work.  While skiing at Heavenly, I was happy to see EPIC mountain’s NetZero by 2030 commitment.  

I appreciated the awesome replies we received in response to our December email, but I note that some of the inspiration of my thoughts for this news actually come from a bit of a cranky email I received about climate change not belonging in green building discussions.  That email inspired a lot of thinking because it bugged me, and some in a good way.  It’s of course ok to question a topic and to disagree! Click if you'd like to see more thoughts about moving forward through green building industry disagreements. And not everyone wants to be on a mailing list.  But this person felt the need to vent frustration about a “made up climate crisis.” Perhaps this is because we also talk at times about wider environmental concerns and legislation, and climate change challenges.  But so many of these topics also clearly relate, even directly, to green building - and all building.  Other than the fact that I don’t see climate change as a question, and I definitely see climate change and climate change mitigation as topics we must address in the building world, what troubled me was the idea that if we disagree, we need to break our connection entirely.  

I of course took this person off our news list, as requested.  But if he were here, there are a few things I’d like to say about what we might disagree about, and what I’d ask we do about it to keep advancing healthier and more sustainable buildings, together, as best and as fast as we can. 

  1. Debate IS welcome. Feedback is also welcome.  We want input into how to make Rate It Green a supportive resource for everyone interested and involved in green building, personal or professionally.  If you disagree with something, let’s discuss.  That’s why the Rate It Green platform exists, because we can learn and accomplish so much more together.  Put another way: We don’t have to agree! 
  2. I simply do not view environmental concern as partisan, or to some extent political at all.  Why should one side of the aisle own an issue that affects all of us, where there are so many possible win-win solutions, where we are also about to make such great progress?!!  And, where the consequences of inaction are so significant, even if we don’t fully agree on the causes.  I’d also add that Rate It Green is a market-based mechanism to promote more healthy and sustainable buildings, and to me at least, it’s all connected.  Put another way, the built environment is part of the environment. Disagree? Again, let’s discuss!  Also, see above.  We can solve problems and create solutions, even if we don’t agree 100% on the causes, or even all of the problems. 
  3. I’d ask that people do not remove themselves entirely from the conversation. The table is open. If you don’t have a seat at this table, even as an observer, it’s really because you have removed yourself, or at least haven’t accepted the invitation.  And then we can’t continue to have the debate and learn from each other, and that’s my real disappointment in this situation, what inspired me to write.  

It’s completely ok if we don’t agree on everything, including “the problem," as long as we can keep talking and find some common ground, and coming up with positive advances and solutions.  And for that I really believe we need to keep innovating, and communicating, and educating as a group.  

You may have noted that we’ve reported a good deal on decarbonization, electrification and indoor air quality, and more recently we’ve increasingly been covering air sealing and insulation and the building envelope.   We will continue to host and create content on these topics, and we will also continue to report on the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and other policies and incentives we feel are related to building (and even some general climate news, like our discussion about what COP28 achieved, or didn’t.) 

We’re also looking into how we can support more end user and consumer education, to support increased awareness and understanding, and to grow demand for better buildings and building materials.  Workforce development is also a top priority, so that we have the human resources to build better into the next decades. I am also personally interested in what we can do to support making residential retrofitting more appealing, since all buildings can’t be new buildings or commercial buildings, of course.  The thing is, as much we want to know what you’d like us to report on going forward, we’d really love to host and share your expertise and questions!  Remember that if you have a question, someone else out there likely has the same question as well. I also believe that we get some of or even more back than we give back when we’re communicating. What article or discussion can you share or start? 

In our last news, I mentioned that we’re working on rebuilding the Rate It Green platform and experience in 2024. I’d love to hear from you with ideas on what you’d like to see.  As they say in real estate, there is still time to customize!  This resource is really here to help YOU share information and to promote all green building products, services, and people.  Send one idea, or get more involved to shape the green building conversations of the future.  We’re open to any level of involvement you can envision, and I don’t say that lightly.  Can you post and engage in one discussion? Ask one burning question? Can you share an original opinion or article? Do you want to become a moderator on your industry segment? Do you wish you could be part of a team rebuilding a specific part of the site, or is there a feature you think you would design a specific way?  Reply, as this is the best time to create the resource just as you wish to use it moving forward.  Meanwhile, rest assured that all of your profiles and content will be included when we introduce our new “renovated” resource.  

How you view green building and the environment and climate change overall is of course up to you.  What actions (or your company) take are also determined by you.  We don’t all have to have the same perspective. That’s what makes this a collaborative community, and industry.  Our ask, my ask, is for you to engage with others, sharing what you can, and asking questions as well.  Let’s all learn and move forward together.

Thank you, and here's to an amazing year!
Allison Friedman
Founder, Rate It Green

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