Sunday, July 25, 2010

Interview with Chris Hood, Hewlett Packard

Chris Hood has overall design responsibility for Hewlett Packard's global office portfolio. He's got his fingers in all kinds of major projects and initatives, and is particularly insightful and passionate when it comes to sustainability.

Q: What would you say are current “trends” when it comes to organizations adopting green strategies or principles?
A: Increasing interest and participation but still a great deal of standing on the sidelines due to unfavorable timelines for ROI in making changes to improve performance. Most initiatives still seem to be project lead with emphasis on LEED certification (in the United States) and less on systemic project focus on a whole range of actionable environmentally sound design and implementation practices. Building operations seem to support a limited number of green initiatives but there is lots of room for improvement (recycling, energy reductions etc.)

Q: How have recent legislation or corporate/federal mandates changed the way your organization addresses environmental issues?
A: Not yet. We believe we are trying to take a leadership position and get ahead of any government mandated programs

Q: What green / sustainability-related project are you working on now that you are most proud of?
A: There are two: one is the very aggressive reduction in space that we are currently making. Getting rid of space is the most effective thing we can do to improve our overall carbon footprint. The second is to introduce a sustainable design checklist for use in each and every project across the company. This gives us a scorecard for every project and a natural focus for improving performance over time. The checklist is ultimately practical and does not carry the burden of proof which formal certification systems (such as LEED) require, but nonetheless does cause us to “do the right thing.”

Q: What has inhibited you or your organization from making more progress on the sustainability front?
A: Simply the burden on precious resources (incremental capital and the extra demands on the time of very busy people). Despite that we are making strong progress.
Q: What advice would you give others in your position trying to make a difference for the environment?
Don’t be hamstrung by the arduous process of formal certification of green building programs: just do the right thing, regardless. Much of the certification process does not actually add any environmental value, it simply proves what has been already been done. Surely this is the most important thing. The bragging rights for high level certification are something we can largely do without. Especially when some of the measurement criteria are flawed and incite the wrong behavior.


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