09 Jun [Q&A] USBGC’s Brendan Owens
To prepare for the ETS@chicago event July 22-23, Zpryme caught up with Brendan Owens, Chief of Engineering, U.S. Green Building Council, for his perspectives on the continuing importance of the LEED building certification, and the movers and shakers in the Midwest around LEED and microgrids.
[ZP] What’s a perfect USGBC day for you look like?
[Owens] On a typical day, almost 2 million SF of building are awarded LEED certification – which is a pretty good start in my opinion. Beyond that, a big part of my job is finding ways to integrate new ideas into the rating systems we support. So I get excited about technologies and ideas that make LEED and PEER more effective transformation tools.
[ZP] What is one big way that the USGBC is improving the well-being of Chicago?
[Owens] The USGBC chapter in Chicago is amazing – if you’re not an active member, you’re really missing out. On a daily basis they’re working with building owners, designers, builders, operators, product manufacturers (this list goes on and on) to transform.
[ZP] Can you share with us an USGBC member that is doing big things in the Midwest and why?
[Owens] I’m a big fan of Transwestern. Al Skodowski is a real leader (he is a past chair of USGBC’s board of directors) in the Midwest. The commitment Transwestern has made to LEED and ongoing building performance is a model for others to aspire to.
[ZP] Where does the Midwest fit among the other U.S. regions when talking about green building?
[Owens] Great things are happening in the Midwest. On a per capita basis, Illinois is the #1 state for LEED certified buildings – 3.3 square feet of LEED certified building per person. Minnesota ranked 9th. Two states in the top 10 is fantastic.
[ZP] What individuals (i.e. thought leaders) get you excited about energy?
[Owens] Bob Galvin, even though I didn’t meet him before he passed, started the ball that became the PEER rating system rolling. He casts a long shadow and I hope he’d be happy with how we’ve continued the work he started with the Galvin Electricity Initiative.
Brendan Owens will be appearing at Zpryme’s ETS@chicago event, July 22-23 in Chicago. See his profile here.