As you know from Part I of this blog series (or, if you haven’t read it yet, check it out here!), Xavier Gaucher is galvanizing the Los Angeles Green Building community through the use of his own single-family residence, The Perlita Passive House, as a case study to promote Passive House design and inspire others.
On May 8th, 2017, the Verdical Group team convened for the first of two half-day charrettes for Xavier Gaucher’s Perlita Passive House. Previously introduced in this blog, Gaucher is pursuing Passive House Certification and Living Building Challenge (LBC), Energy Petal Certification; one stipulation of the LBC Petal Certification is that the team holds one full day charrette (or two half-day charrettes) to specifically integrate biophilia in the design of the Project, inside and out.
Sometimes all it takes is a newcomer with an open mind to recognize a game-changing opportunity. For the green building community in Los Angeles, that newcomer is Xavier Gaucher.
Born, raised and educated in France, Xavier Gaucher holds two master’s degrees – one in Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, and the other in Sales & Marketing. Xavier has over ten years of experience in the HVAC industry in France, Switzerland and the United States. In 1999, Xavier co-founded Reservit, an Internet hotel reservation system, which became one of the leading solutions in Europe for independent hotels. In July of 2014, he sold his shares of the business, and then moved to the U.S. a year later. Xavier’s background as a successful entrepreneur and an expert in HVAC mechanical engineering intersect perfectly in his newest endeavor in Los Angeles.
Photo Credit: Building Design + Construction
The number of verified zero net energy (ZNE) buildings has increased dramatically in recent years. Back in 2012, the New Buildings Institute (NBI) published their first ever list of verified zero net energy buildings, with only 21 making the list. NBI has continued to publish this list annually and in 2016 the number of verified zero net energy buildings had nearly tripled. Even more promising is the increase in the number of emerging projects with a net zero goal in mind – what was once 39 total projects in 2012 is now approaching 300 in 2017. This is no small feat, as achieving net zero status requires a steep learning curve for design teams, higher investment costs up front, and picking apart many of the current energy systems we have used for decades. Despite their complexity, zero net energy buildings are the real deal with regards to the massive increase in energy cost savings and decrease in environmental impact. To be considered “zero net energy,” these high performance buildings must produce enough renewable energy to power themselves over the course of a year.
Since Verdical Group’s inception in 2012, our company has been a leading provider of LEED certification services. LEED is a green building rating system that certifies the highest performing buildings in the built environment. At Verdical Group, it’s our job to enhance the environmental performance of every project we touch. Our team is passionate about the great outdoors, so we love making a positive environmental impact on our projects. VG buildings use less energy, less water, and create less waste than conventional buildings, and we get to feel good about our contributions to the world every day.
Photo Credit: Biomimicry Institute
In today’s world, technological innovations are rapidly taking place with no intention of slowing down. The innovation process typically consists of companies either reformulating their existing products for improvement or emulating a competitor’s product. While this has proved effective to date, an increasingly prominent method, termed bioinspired innovation, offers a new opportunity for these companies to create products and processes inspired by the proven designs of nature. While there are different forms of bioinspired innovation (biomimicry, bioutilization, etc.), they all look to nature’s processes as inspiration. The organisms of the natural world have consistently faced challenges throughout Earth’s 3.8 billion year lifespan. In order to stick around and adapt to these challenges, organisms are required to innovate—this makes them the experts, not us. Companies employing bioinspired innovation study these natural processes attentively with the intent of replicating them into a new and innovative product or process.
Photo Credit: Coalition for Clean Air
Recognizing the importance of achieving city-wide sustainability goals, the city of Los Angeles has created various programs designed to both enhance current environmental efforts and assist organizations in taking the next step towards sustainable development. These programs provide increased business opportunities as well as resources for organizations to analyze how improvement can be made to their environmental practices and policy.
The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is increasingly changing the way that companies work and handle business. Greater value is placed on companies that commit themselves to doing business within the Triple-Bottom-Line framework, successfully balancing economic, social, and environmental expectations of stakeholders. Increased development of CSR programs has allowed for businesses to select one that matches their structure and values. Discussed below are three examples of these programs that have very different models but all strive to grow today’s most well-known companies into impactful leaders of change.