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With the globe’s rate of energy consumption and wastefulness at an all-time high, the need for sustainable practices and green building technology has never been more urgent. This dire need is not lost on many, though, who are trying to make sustainable practices a permanent part of our lives.
This article dives into 24 inspiring individuals who are leading the way in Green Building Technology. From architects to engineers, entrepreneurs to government officials, these experts are at the forefront of the movement for a more sustainable future.
Architect Mazria founded the organization Architecture 2030, a think tank that explores innovative solutions in architecture with the aim of reducing carbon emissions from buildings to zero by 2030. His organization hosts the Architecture 2030 challenge, which is an initiative to make all new buildings and renovations carbon-neutral by the year 2030 to avoid the catastrophic effects of climate change caused by the building sector. Edward is an extremely trusted voice in the sphere, with his work being published widely in publications such as Architect Magazine and the like. He is an advocate for sustainable practices in architecture and is recognized globally as a leader in the field.
He is an environmentalist and the founder of Project Drawdown. Paul’s project focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by drawing down carbon from the atmosphere. Hawken began his success in the 1960s by founding the still-popular market Erewhon, a natural food company that relied solely on sustainable agriculture. The entrepreneur is a best-selling author of 8 books and is also an advocate for promoting sustainable living through food, transportation, and social innovation. Currently, Hawken is a renowned lecturer and keynote speaker and even worked for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a press coordinator in Selma.
Janine is a renowned biologist and the co-founder of the Biomimicry Institute, which focuses on using biodiversity to create sustainable solutions for human problems. She is an advocate for the sharing of knowledge and has written several popular science books, most notably Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, in which she first coined the term.
William is an architect and the founder of McDonough Innovation, where he advises business and government leaders globally on sustainable architecture. Additionally, he is a pioneer in the Cradle-to-Cradle movement. Cradle-to-Cradle sustainability envisions a world where materials and nutrients circulate endlessly in safe and potentially unlimited cycles. Every component is non-toxic and capable of being recycled. The concept rejects the notion of waste as we currently understand it under the traditional take-make-waste model, instead emphasizing the existence of valuable nutrients only. McDonough’s belief is that through thoughtful design, a waste-free world can be achieved.
Adrian is an architect and the founder of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture. Adrian’s firm specializes in sustainable design with a focus on reducing carbon emissions. He is recognized globally as a leader in sustainable skyscraper design, and is well known as the designer for the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, as well as the building that will one day surpass it, the Jeddah Tower.
Majora is an urban revitalization consultant, entrepreneur, and the founder of Sustainable South Bronx. This non-profit corporation strives to implement innovative environmental justice solutions in the local area. Majora has been instrumental in green development projects in low-income areas and is a leading voice for environmental justice, even winning a Peabody Award for her work as a radio host highlighting individuals leading initiatives in green community development.
Bill is an environmentalist and the founder of the grassroots climate campaign 350.org. Bill is an advocate for reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainable practices. The award-winning author has been an influential voice in the climate movement and writes extensively regarding the impact of global warming.
John is an environmentalist and the founder of Planetwalk. Known as “The Planetwalker,” Dr. Francis walked across the United States over 22 years, during which he did not use any motorized transportation and took a 17-year vow of silence. The National Geographic Education Fellow and acclaimed public speaker is an advocate for sustainable living and inspires others through his knowledge and experience.
Lisa was the first African American to be the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and she is currently a leading advocate for environmental justice. She is an advocate for clean air and water and has helped implement important policies. During Jackson’s tenure, she made significant strides in various environmental areas. She played a pivotal role in advancing more rigorous fuel efficiency requirements and guiding the EPA’s actions in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Additionally, she took a groundbreaking step by acknowledging carbon dioxide as a risk to public health, granting the EPA the power to establish fresh regulations pertaining to CO2 emissions. Moreover, Jackson proposed amendments to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards with the aim of imposing more stringent limits on smog pollution.
Neri is an architect, designer, and academic at MIT. Neri is the founder of the Mediated Matter Group, which focuses on using additive manufacturing and biomimicry to create sustainable design solutions. While this group is no longer active, her work in the field continues as she is widely accredited as a pioneer in the field of 3D printing and sustainable design.
Mensah is a chemical engineer and a member of the prestigious U.S. National Academy of Inventors for his contributions toward the invention of fiber optic manufacturing, as well as nanotechnology. He is also the Founder and CEO of Georgia Aerospace Systems, which supplies Nano materials for aerial vehicles to the U.S. Department of Defense. Mensah has been recognized for his work in renewable energy and is a firm believer that green energy can be used to drive economic growth.
The director of the Loan Programs Office in the U.S. Department of Energy, Jigari is the founder of the Clean Energy Alliance and is an advocate for clean energy solutions. Jigar is also the founder of SunEdison, a company that specializes in solar energy. He believes that we can create a more sustainable future through the use of renewable energy. Recently, Shah co-founded Generate Capital, a finance company that invests in developers in the renewable energy and decarbonization movement.
Hertz is an architect and the founder of Studio of Environmental Architecture. David’s firm specializes in sustainable design practices, including recycling materials and using solar energy. He is also the co-founder of Resilience Fund, an investment group that focuses on innovative solutions combatting climate change. Hertz is an advocate for sustainable seafood and is the president of Skysource.org, a sustainable solution for water self-reliance.
Jason is an architect and the founder of the Living Building Challenge. Jason’s challenge is one of the strictest certification programs for sustainable building practices, which focuses on leaving no impact on the environment. He is an advocate for sustainable practices in the building industry.
Eric is an architect, the founder of Organic Architect, and the Principal Director of Sustainability at CannonDesign, a leading Architecture firm in North America known for innovative healthcare, educational, hospitality, and commercial projects. His firm specializes in sustainable and green building materials. Eric also promotes sustainable practices through his speaking and writing. He is a widely accredited thought leader in Deep Green Buildings.
Alexandra is an environmentalist and the founder of Blue Legacy. Alexandra is the granddaughter of the famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, and continues his legacy as a filmmaker and keynote speaker. Her organization focuses on raising awareness surrounding water conservation issues.
Pamela is a landscape architect and the founder of Climate Positive Design. She is an advocate for sustainable landscape practices and believes that design can create performative urban ecosystems. She is also a contributor to the book Build Beyond Zero and developed the Pathfinder landscape carbon app, where landscape projects can estimate their carbon footprint.
Doug is an architect and the founder of Farr Associates. His firm focuses on sustainable design practices, including LEED building certifications. Their mission is to create some of the world’s most sustainable buildings and places possible. Doug is also an advocate for zoning reform to encourage sustainable development.
Amory is the co-founder and former chief scientist at the Rocky Mountain Institute, a nonprofit organization of experts advancing the global clean energy transition. The author and physicist is an advocate for energy efficiency and renewable energy. Amory served on the U.S. National Petroleum Council for 7 years and has advised several governments on energy policy.
Yolanda is an architect and the co-founder of Hickok Cole Architects. Yolanda’s firm specializes in sustainable design practices, including energy-efficient HVAC systems. She is also an advocate for gender equality in architecture.
Lassila is an architect and the founder of the Finnish eco-friendly architecture firm OOPEAA. Lassila’s firm specializes in sustainable and energy-efficient design. He believes that changing architecture practices to be more sustainable will play a key role in fighting climate change.
Eric is the Executive Director of Eco-Cycle International, which is one of the largest recycling organizations in the world. Eric has extensive experience in community resource conservation, advocating for green jobs and sustainable practices for economic growth.
Kimber is an entrepreneur and the founder of Local First Arizona. Kimber’s organization promotes sustainable and local economic development. She is an advocate for promoting sustainable economic growth through local businesses.
Esty is the co-founder of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy. The environmental lawyer is an advocate for energy efficiency and renewable energy. He has been an advisor to several governments on energy and environmental policy, and served as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection from 2011-2014.
With their diverse backgrounds as architects, entrepreneurs, and activists, these 24 visionary experts in green building technology are spearheading the charge towards a more environmentally-conscious future for our planet. We should all take inspiration from their work and strive to make a positive sustainable impact in our respective domains.
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