Brad Kahn | Founder, Groundwork Strategies
Living Future unConference Sessions: Bullitt Center Tours
In conjunction with Living Future 2017, we are offering four tours of the Bullitt Center on Wednesday, May 17, 2017. Both conference and non-conference attendees may register to see this unique building. Learn more about registering for a Bullitt Center tour here.
Can you introduce yourself to the Living Future Community?
I serve as the Communications Director for the Bullitt Center, a certified Living Building in Seattle, and the Forest Stewardship Council US. My work focuses on climate change mitigation, whether through promotion of high-performance green building or responsible management of the world’s forests. I also serve on the Board of Directors of Seattle Parks Foundation, which is focused on livability in the city.
What drives you to do the work that you do?
I’m motivated by our changing climate and view every activity through that lens. With impacts of climate change already upon us, I feel a strong sense of urgency to shift the way society uses energy and natural resources, and to do everything possible to mitigate the worst impacts while there is still time to make a difference.
Tell us about your session at Living Future? Why should people attend and what can they expect to take away?
Since the Bullitt Center was just an idea, I’ve been sharing its story to audiences from around the world. This session will include a hands-on tour of the building, going behind the scenes to explore the rainwater system, energy efficiency strategies, heavy timber construction, and Red List compliant materials. The Bullitt Center uses 85 percent less energy and 95 percent less water than the average office in Seattle. For anyone interested in pushing toward high-performance green building, this tour will dig into practical lessons learned after four years of operation.
Can you provide any words of wisdom for someone looking to get more involved in sustainability and change management?
Don’t be easily dissuaded when you hear people say, “It can’t be done.” Everything that was ever done in this world was impossible right up to the point when someone did it. That was certainly true for the Bullitt Center, and we hear from people all the time about the challenges of sourcing FSC products. But the reality is, it can be done. The Bullitt Center used 100 percent FSC wood from the logging to the heavy timbers. So whatever you are trying to accomplish, stick to it. We need to persevere if we ever hope to change long-established systems built on ecosystem destruction, inefficiency, and climate pollution.
What role does your work play in ensuring a Living Future for all?
There is no climate action without healthy, responsibly managed forests. The Forest Stewardship Council offers consumers, businesses, builders and designers a simple way to make a profoundly positive impact. FSC requires landowners to protect more wildlife habitat, leave bigger buffers along streams, restrict the use of hazardous chemicals and prohibit deforestation. This means more trees left standing and more carbon sequestered in the forest. In fact, a recent study found FSC forests sequester 30 percent more carbon than those managed to Washington State practices. That’s tons of additional carbon sequestered per acre.