Sunday, August 8, 2010

Interview with Gerry Faubert, HOK's Director of Integrated Design

Q: What would you say are current “trends” when it comes to organizations adopting green strategies or principles?
A: Not a trend but a common denominator is the basic tenet that clients will adopt green strategies when there is a compelling story. Chapters in that story include impact to their bottom line, affordability, cost savings, IRR, improved workplace environments. Organizations are realizing the importance of sustainability and many firms are have created a Sustainability Officer role within their firm to provide leadership, expertise, guidance and intelligence on sustainability issues across the broad spectrum of operating a business. At the outset of the internet revolution we saw the role of a CIO be introduced. We now have the Chief Sustainability Officer. This is definitely a growing trend.

Q: How have recent legislation or corporate/federal mandates changed the way your organization addresses environmental issues?
A: Recent funding opportunities such as the ARRA are spurring interest with clients and in turn rejuvenating interest in new solutions. Innovation thrives in times of turmoil.

Q: What green / sustainability-related project are you working on now that you are most proud of?
A: HOK’s Zero Emissions Building Prototype. The firm embarked on a challenge to test the ability to design an affordable 200,000 SF building which achieves net zero emissions on an annual basis.
Lessons learned were invaluable. The question “can form follow performance, be relevant and inform design?” A resounding YES is the answer. The experience is now being applied to other challenges such as existing buildings which is a very exciting opportunity.

Q: What has inhibited you or your organization from making more progress on the sustainability front?
A: All large firms are challenged by the complexities of organization, effective knowledge sharing and implementation. All these challenges need to be addressed with a simple pragmatic approach that stands the test of time. In terms of advancing sustainability a reference point could be a question to help validate a decision e.g. is what we are doing sustainable? Keep it simple and look for solutions with multiple benefits.

Q: What advice would you give others in your position trying to make a difference for the environment?
A: Progress can be made with deliberate steps to effect change based on solid principles. Independent will has a role to play when attempting change. Three things you need to do:
1. Never, ever, ever give up. Keep the ball in motion.
2. Know what you want.
3. Fear not what you don’t know.

Q: What is your favorite source for sustainability/environmental trends or information?
A: Nature, just look outside!


Lukman Nulhakiem said...

Green workplace has to become every company commitment. It does not only talk about cost reduction but the most important aspect of every business is how they do businesses with positive impact to the environment.

I think green workplace is green environment. I agreed with what Mr. Gerry Faubert said.

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