It has been 49 years since our first Earth Day in 1970.
Forty-nine years is quite a run. The passion and awareness ignited during those inaugural events in 1970 have driven significant positive change in our relationship with the natural environment. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and many will undoubtedly hoist up that number proudly.
This year, however, let’s focus on a different number: 11.
According to a report released in 2018 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we must halve our emissions by 2030 to avoid a future defined by catastrophic climate change. That deadline is just 11 years away.
CannonDesign knows we must bring critical focus in this short span of time. Nearly ten years ago we signed onto the AIA 2030 commitment. In it, we pledged that all new buildings, developments, and major renovations we design will be carbon neutral – requiring no fossil fuel or GHG-emitting energy for operations. Instead, we’d rely on clean energy to power our built environment.
We knew then this would be a massive challenge, but one worth striving toward. Like many decades-long plans, when our commitment was signed we had the benefit of time. Today, we do not – but we do now have a few resources almost as valuable.
Our firm and industry have made great strides in advocating for low carbon building solutions. In doing so, we’ve educated ourselves, learning how to best monitor our progress and promote our most important and innovative ideas.
Ten years ago, building energy use was quantifiable by a small percentage of engineers and an even smaller percentage of architects. Technology was available but was not widely used or known.
Today, thanks to our industry’s continued leadership through the American Institute of Architects, Architecture 2030, and with help from incredible partners in the software community, we have sophisticated tools that are both accessible and integrated into our workflows.
We are fast approaching the year 2030. While we have had many successes, the transition to carbon neutrality needs to accelerate significantly. Time is not on our side, but we can use that reality to motivate us.
Of course, Earth Day, environmental awareness, and sustainability are about more than just building energy consumption. We must also think about how we’ll take action related to embodied carbon, material health, and resilience among other issues key to the building industry. While more generally, plastic pollution, air/water quality, and forest protection loom larger than ever. There are many ways we can individually recognize Earth Day 2019.
Our planet faces rapid, perilous and unprecedented threats from climate change. It has become the greatest challenge of our time. We have what it takes to meet this challenge, but we will need courage, commitment and sincere urgency to help us achieve our 2030 goals.
Time may not be on our side. But, Earth Day is a chance to look around and recognize the millions of people who do stand with us. Around the world, companies, institutions, cities, states, and nations are stepping up their commitments and demanding better. We are lucky to work with some of these organizations as they clear paths for others to follow.
We all have an impact on this planet and therefore a chance to ensure that is a positive one. This is our hope, inspiration, and potential – that together we can honor the vision of those who launched Earth Day 49 years ago, and preserve this planet as we know it for the generations to follow.
There are numerous exciting aspects of our team’s current work with Seneca Valley School District, outside Pittsburgh, but one that stands out to me is our chance to engage students in the design process.
In K-12 schools and on higher education campuses each year, there are innumerous design projects totaling millions in construction volume. Our team advocates for engaging students interested in architecture, engineering and construction in these projects to enhance their learning experience. To not involve them in these real-world learning experiences would be a missed opportunity for both the students and the future of our profession.
Fortunately, Seneca Valley is seizing the opportunity. They have selected 18 students with clear interest in the world of AEC to play a role in our current effort to create the district’s new elementary and middle school. These students attend our steering committee meetings, hear the same dialogue our designers and project leaders are sharing to move the project forward, and are encouraged to ask questions and engage. The students will also have the opportunity to visit our office for charettes and other key moments in the design process. (Above, a photo from a recent meeting with the students.)
By engaging current Seneca Valley students this way, we’re helping them determine if their interest in AEC is real, developing their skills and involving them in a design project in real time. It’s a kind of real-world learning that just can’t be simulated in a traditional classroom setting. That said, their classroom experience is also growing stronger as a result of this opportunity. Just recently, Seneca Valley’s Middle School Principal asked for a topographic map of the site that science and social studies teachers could use in their lesson plans. We will continue to see out similar synergies that help the students.
Furthermore, these students will play a role in helping shape Seneca Valley’s future. We’ve partnered with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh to create entirely new, research-based, leading-edge learning environments. This partnership creates synergy between K-12 design expertise with the museum’s deep understanding for creating successful hands-on children’s learning environments and experiences to advances learning. It will allow Seneca Valley to develop spaces that explore and understand what happens when schools are as fun, inspiring and engaging to be in as children’s museums.
We believe the project will make a remarkably positive impact for Seneca Valley and potentially serve as a model for how K-12 schools can better inspire and engage students and teachers regionally and nationally. That’s an exciting goal for the project, and we’re proud to have current Seneca Valley students helping push it forward.
While the major shift from inpatient to ambulatory care is allowing healthcare systems to remain at the forefront of medicine, it also creates significant challenges with respect to reimbursement, revenue, and patient volume. Exacerbating those challenges, there isn’t a “one size fits all” ambulatory strategy. Just as there is no single type of consumer, there is no single right or highest use of an ambulatory facility. Every patient is unique in how they want to interact with a health institution. And technology, digital solutions, experience, and patient expectations all play a role in their interactions.
In order to build a successful ambulatory strategy, health systems need to approach ambulatory care similar to how a chef approaches a recipe. While you may start with the same ingredients, the different amounts and ways in which they are mixed together will create very different results. It is essential for health systems to identify those ingredients, and then combine them strategically to create the successful recipe that matches their patients’ expectations.
Our ambulatory care team understands the many questions this “recipe” may pose for an organization, which is why our approach recognizes the uniqueness of each health system – targeting our efforts to identify ambulatory marketing opportunities and tailor solutions that correlate with each client’s definition of value.
We recently created a report that outlines the four major categories of ambulatory influencers and defines the building blocks for an ambulatory care site, to guide healthcare systems in tailoring an ambulatory strategy to their own unique brand of healthcare delivery.
READ OUR REPORT – PERSPECTIVES AND FUTURES IN AMBULATORY CARE >