USGBC Founder Rick Fedrizzi
by Holley Henderson
Rick, what does sustainability mean to you personally?
To me, the definition of "sustainable" is simple: It means living my life today in a way that ensures my children, their children, and their children will be able to live as well as I did.
It means laying the groundwork for a future that is more prosperous, more healthful, and more equitable than our present. It means that our habits — at a personal level as well as at a global level — don't lead to an inevitable depletion of resources that would disrupt our quality of life.
Living sustainably means exactly what it says: that our lifestyles can be sustained, and that we don't prove to be our own worst enemies.
Why did you enter the field of green building, and how did you make the transition?
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I was fortunate enough to have worked for 25 years at United Technologies Corporation (UTC), an early pioneer in what was then a fairly esoteric idea: that the unprecedented technological progress of our era could actually be harnessed for good.
In other words, UTC recognized that true progress isn't about a decision between technological expansion or environmental quality; it is about embracing them both, and especially the places where they intersect and complement each other.
It was the beginning of our understanding of the triple bottom line, and I knew I wanted to be part of it.
We hear so much about the negative impacts of human activity on the environment; tell us how, in your view, green building acts as an "antidote" to alleviate these negative impacts and/or creates positive impacts on the environment.
Green building isn't about a laundry list of negative human behaviors that we shouldn't do. It's about all the innovative, exciting, and life-affirming things we can and should do that lead to an economy, an environment, and a social landscape in harmony with each other. It's about solutions, and the businessman in me knew that this was the key to making real change.
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