During last fall’s Sustainable Building Week, we ran a series of interviews with some of Portland’s sustainability community and shared their answers to questions we posed. Let’s keep the ball rolling throughout the year!
This month it’s our own Webly Bowles! When she’s not running Sustainable Building Week, she’s a Senior Project Manager at New Buildings Institute. As a licensed architect, her experience is in sustainable building and includes principles of design, construction, and operation. She has developed sustainable and energy efficiency building programs for global fortune 500 companies and state-wide programs alike, proving measurable results.
Webly will be presenting at this month’s Sustainable Building Week on how building codes can play a pivotal role in decarbonizing the building sector when they incorporate embodied carbon requirements. Sign up here. Until then, here’s Webly!
What does sustainable mean to you?
Our ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of multiple future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainability is never more apparent than when you’re on an island. When the trash is exported, you live beyond the island’s capabilities. When all people on your island are not having their current needs met, it’s not sustainable. We need a balance between environmental, social, and some form of an economic system.
Name a Portland (or Oregon) project or collaboration that has inspired you, and tell us why you are inspired by it.
Sustainable Building Week, of course! Portland has so many talented humans working on sustainable design and construction. Sustainable Building Week brings together amazing organizations to share new ideas. And the week allows us to reach beyond our typical networks. Every year I am surprised by the number of organizations that want to participate and the passionate attendees who show up!
I love hearing about the great work of organizations like Latino Built or Passive House. SBW has allowed me to connect and continue to engage with these organizations throughout the year
But what I find most inspiring about the week is when it expands past the week into daily collaborations, side lunches, mentors, or just knowing that we’re in this climate fight together.
Tell us a bit about your Sustainable Building Monthly presentation– what will people learn/ take away?
I’ll discuss the work I’ve been doing to include embodied carbon requirements in the building code to reduce global GHG emissions and improve community air quality. Energy nerds find the building code an odd place to put requirements for embodied carbon, but the building code already regulates building products. Additionally, building codes exist to protect the public’s health and safety. It’s time to make embodied carbon part of that conversation.
I have been defending embodied carbon code proposals at the national, state, and local levels across the US. I’ll talk about what’s possible, which jurisdictions are trying to make this work, and how designers should be involved with code development.