Policy + Education

Policy and education initiatives are inherent corollaries to our planning and design endeavors. Individual projects establish precedents; these become accessible to a larger public through policy advancements, publications, workshops and lectures that we undertake throughout the U.S. and abroad. Public policy initiatives such as the Austin Green Builder Program (the first municipally-adopted green building program in the world) and the Texas Architecture and Engineering Guidelines (one of the first instances of integrating sustainability considerations in a state’s A&E guidelines) have become national and international models, inspiring similar programs in cities and states throughout the world. We often engage in collaborative projects with governmental entities, community organizations and professional associations. In this way, our work catalyzes a transformative process, as prototypes become the bases for an invigorated standard practice by design and construction professionals.

AIA Environmental Resource Guide

In 1991, Bob Berkebile asked The Center  to join the AIA’s Committee on the Environment.  Over a two-year tenure on the Committee, The Center became deeply involved in developing the framework for the Environmental Resource Guide (ERG), a groundbreaking effort to create a methodology to assess the environmental impact of building materials.  As Co-Chair of the ERG Committee, Pliny Fisk III was instrumental in establishing life cycle as the underlying framework for materials assessment.

Seaholm EcoDistrict

In 2012, the Seaholm District was selected as one of ten projects in North America to participate in EcoDistricts’1 Pilot Program. To further advance this work, the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability contracted the Center to engage with diverse public, private, and non-profit sector stakeholders with an objective to identify quantitative and qualitative opportunities and benefits, articulate the project’s sustainability vision, goals, and process, develop an action agenda, and explore how emerging tools such as ecoBalance and Visible Green can add value to the EcoDistrict framework.

Green Guide for Health Care

The Center has been engaged in greening the healthcare sector since Gail Vittori wrote the influential paper Green and Healthy Buildings for the Health Care Industry.  The paper was presented at the 2001 Setting Healthcare’s Environmental Agenda conference in San Francisco—the health care industry’s first environmentally focused conference to specifically address green buildings, among other topics.  The paper also laid the groundwork from which the Green Guide for Health Care and other ecologically oriented health care specific initiatives have been derived.

Austin Green Builder Program

In the 1980’s, Austin had a nationally recognized market-based energy conservation program. A call to the Center from the City’s Environmental Conservation Services Department in 1989 opened the door for the Center to introduce the idea to expand the successful energy conservation program to other resource areas—water, materials, and waste—reflecting a life cycle, systems-based resource flow model developed by the Center.  The resulting public-private partnership between the Center and the City of Austin, funded by Public Technology Inc’s.

Green Urbanism at Mueller

The redevelopment of the 711-acre former Austin Mueller Municipal Airport began in earnest in the early 2000s, conceived as a master development with 10,000 residents and 10,000 jobs.  Sustainability was identified early on as one of Mueller’s six central tenets, along with fiscal responsibility, economic development, East Austin revitalization, compatibility with surrounding neighborhoods, and diversity.  CMPBS began our collaboration on the project in 2004 at the request of Mueller’s Master Developer Catellus Development Group.

Texas A&M Solar Decathlon

Unlike most solar decathlon efforts, our work with Texas A&M Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Planning proved to have a degree of relevancy on almost all fronts — from material life cycles to our most recent work using life cycle phases as events that lead the user through everyday rituals of completing resource flows into regenerative environments.

UT-Austin Solar Decathlon

The Center teamed with the University of Texas School of Architecture to participate in the first U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored Solar Decathlon. The event features 10 contests that measure the energy, water, transportation, environmental quality, market appeal, and livability performance of each team's entry. Designed by the student-faculty team to function entirely off-grid for energy and water, the competition spans 10-days following a 6 day period to construct the buildings on the Washington, DC mall.

Crystal City

A small town in South Texas had its gas cut-off in the winter of 1977 due to a contract dispute with the town’s monopoly gas supplier, leaving the 8,100 residents without heat and hot water. Posing an immediate health risk, the Zavala County Community Development Corporation contacted the Center to assist in an emergency response capacity.

Sustainable Healthcare Architecture [first edition]

"At its core, green building is about making the world a better place for people to live. As Robin Guenther and Gail Vittori show us in this important new book, nowhere is that fact more apparent than in the healthcare industry, where the sterile, imposing facilities of the past are being replaced by buildings that are filled with daylight, connected to nature, and, above all, are designed to promote health and well-being."
—From the Foreword by Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO, and founding chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council


Subscribe to RSS - Policy + Education