Session 6: Industry Trends

Date: March 4, 2016
Location: USGBC
Time: 12:00 pm – 5:00pm
Led by: Leah Ijjas, AIA, LEED AP BD+C | Gensler & Vivek Sarma, LEED AP BD+C | WDG

Session 6 PDF


Session 6 was presented at the USGBC headquarters, a fitting location given that two of the discussion topics for the day were Urban Ecology and Sustainable Design.

Janet Pogue of Gensler started the afternoon with a presentation highlighting thought leadership, which has emerged as a replacement for public relations and word of mouth, becoming the beacon bringing clients to our doors. She emphasized Gensler’s approach of writing about insights learned on in-house research projects as a critical source of generating topics for thought leadership.


Jennifer Dowdell, ASLA, a landscape architect at BioHabitats, spoke on Urban Ecology and Whole Systems Planning.  In addition to plantings, green roofs and meeting storm water management best practices, projects can broaden their impact by enhancing the natural water cycle, improving biodiversity, and embracing regenerative design as the next paradigm beyond sustainability.  Ms. Dowdell’s talk dovetailed with Julia Craighill, LEED AP BD+C, President of Ensight Consulting, who helps businesses become environmentally sustainable operationally and managerially, and Mike Binder, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, who champions regenerative design as a professor at University of Maryland.


Next up was Adam Simmons, BIM Manager for Gensler, who showcased upcoming visualization technologies including virtual reality.  The group was able to play with VR goggles, which can now be linked to a BIM model so you can walk in, around and through a project.  Daniel Davis, PhD, Lead Researcher at WeWork, spoke about how WeWork is changing the business model of architecture by harvesting occupant data and using it to continually refine the design per the occupants needs, thereby reducing the time typically needed for post-occupancy evaluations by providing short-term solutions to current occupant needs. In addition, WeWork is both a designer and an operator of built space, a new combination for an industry where these roles are traditionally compartmentalized.