There’s no debating the fact that clean air and clean water are essential to human life. But these resources are becoming increasingly scarce, particularly in impoverished areas of the world. As America begins to feel the effects of climate change, people-focused solutions arise, like sustainable building design. “Build For Impact,” explores how the sector of sustainable construction has evolved in the last few decades with special guest John Harrison, LEED Fellow and founder of GreenSlate Sustainability. Harrison’s work with companies like REI and Starbucks has been influential in leading the momentum to adopt big change on mass.

Harrison recounts his start in sustainable design with the outdoor recreation company, REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.) Designing REI’s flagship store in Seattle presented Harrison with the opportunity to engineer for efficiency and build using sustainable and recycled materials. Since then, Harrison has seen the sustainability design space take off. He says, “The next generation isn’t going to buy or deal with companies that aren’t doing the right thing.”

A sense of healthy competition and a driving urgency to enact meaningful change continues to fuel sustainable design. Harrison, though worried about future climate changes is optimistic about developments, citing a communal sense of working toward the same goal, “…ultimately people in the sustainability space work together when given the opportunity.”

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