When I was asked by upcoming MSS speaker Cyane Dandridge, executive director and founder of Strategic Energy Innovations and executive director of the Marin School of Environmental Leadership, what the 5 “R”s are, I easily breezed through the first 3 – reduce, reuse, recycle - and managed to recall the fourth one – rot – but I could not think of the mysterious fifth “R”. Rethink is the fifth “R” and a very important one at that. As a community and as a society we must rethink how we use energy. For Cyane Dandridge and Strategic Energy Innovations, it begins with rethinking all aspects of buildings. People don’t normally think of buildings as the gateway to a more environmentally-friendly and energy-conscious society, but Dandridge maintains that they should be at the forefront. The various components of buildings – space for the building, resources for construction the building, electricity to power the building, even the stuff in the building – can be carefully considered, scrutinized, and altered to be more green.
|Statistics from the EPA|
Dandridge got an early start in the energy-efficient building movement. While attending a boarding school, Dandridge built a small house for two people using passive solar to capture heat. She then went to study physics at Reed College in Oregon. She served as a consultant to help people get solar installed. Dandridge then went on to MIT to study in the new building energy efficiency program. After her time at MIT, Dandridge worked for the EPA designing the energy star programs before founding Strategic Energy Innovations.
Dandridge founded Strategic Energy Innovations (SEI) in 1997 to answer the question of how can we help communities engage in sustainable practices. SEI is based on four pillars – jobs, government, housing, and education – and a collaboration of the four pillars to achieve sustainability within communities. See the video below to see more of what SEI does.
Visit the SEI website for more information
The project-based boarding school that Dandridge attended served as inspiration for the Marin School of Environmental Leadership. The goal of the program is to create strong leaders and use the environment to address critical issues. The students in the program learn imperative 21st century skills - how to be engaged, how to take initiative, how to communicate effectively, how to think critically, and how to be innovative through project-based learning. The goal is to expand the program and spread the model to other schools.
Visit http://www.thesel.org/ for more information about the Marin School of Environmental Leadership.
Below are a few of the world's green buildings
|From top left clockwise to bottom left: School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, Acros Building in Fukuoka, Japan, California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, and 30 St. Mary Axe in London, England|
Get the flyer here