GFDA leaders share their discoveries and new technologies that enable a greener future.

ON DISCOVERY

What’s one thing you discovered this year that excites you about the advancements in technologies for the built environment?

Eric Edelson, CEO, Fireclay Tile:

I’ve been absolutely loving ChatGPT (so much so that we launched an entire CEU on it!) and the impact it can have on making me, and my team, smarter. I believe GenAI will allow for huge advances to sustainable design and building technology.

Lori Dennis, ASID, LEED AP, Lori Dennis, LLC:

The technology that I’m very excited about is Spatial Computing AR/VR, with ray tracing. 

Essentially it will greatly reduce and potentially eliminate samples. The technology enables a realistic 3D image to appear as an extension on top of a smart phone. It’s like you’re looking at the real sample.  This will save designers time, and reduce the wasted energy and resources from the point of extraction, manufacturing to shipping. Eventually this technology will allow designer to easily show an entire space with realistic finish materials and furnishings.  

Dan Brunn, FAIA, Principal, Dan Brunn Architecture:

Though not glitzy, I am seeing that our structural engineers know more about sustainability design than in the past.  We are able to create better building envelopes with the aid of our consultants.  It’s beautiful to see how seamless it is, and how responsive our consultants are.  So, now we have better envelope technology, and better windows and doors as well.  My number one goal is efficiency, so that our designs can function in a passive capacity, without the inhabitant’s need to switch levers and buttons. 

Erica & Paul Arnold, PG Arnold Construction:

The University of Colorado is starting a sustainability degree program. They will pull resources from the schools of engineering and business. Our company has been working with CU to contribute to this endeavor.

[Editor’s note: The GFDA is also working with the University of Colorado on the development of a low-waste module to supplement this curriculum.]

Temi Adamolekun, Principal, Pembroke PR:

I learned so much as moderator at the GFDA Spring Conference. We discussed the future of the GFDA and San Francisco’s journey towards zero waste. We had experts like James Slattery (Senior Coordinator of the Construction and Demolition (C&D) Zero Waste team at San Francisco Environment Department (SFE) and Theo Hooker (co-founder and COO of Cambium Carbon) sharing key data and metrics and engaging the audience in more progressive thinking and understanding every single sustainable choice and action we take from right now, has long term benefits. It’s never too late!

Two bits of information that have stayed with me:

The demolition of a single family home creates the same amount of waste as the inhabitants in that same home would generate over the course of 75 years.”  

James Slattery, Construction and Demolition Debris Recovery Specialist at San Francisco Department of the Environment

And… 36 million trees fall in and around cities each year – equaling 46 million tons of material and that could produce 3-4 billion board feet of material. Unfortunately, most of it is currently treated as waste. 😫

Greg Roth, Sr. Designer CarbonShack and Home Front Build:

This is easy! When I see companies like ByFusion – which takes ocean waste and converts them into construction-grade building blocks – and ReMarkGlass, which upcycles glass bottles from the hospitality industry into gorgeous new consumer home products – and AngelCityLumber, which mills fallen and felled trees from the Los Angeles urban environment into stunning lumber and furniture pieces – I know that there is hope! I know that there are people and organizations out there doing the hard work of environmental stewardship, of making a commitment to a brighter, cleaner, greener future for our world. 👍🏼


The GFDA is an alliance of design and build professionals committed to lowering construction waste for future generations. To find out how you can get more involved, Join the Movement.