icon Blueprint for April

On “Purpose”

3 min read

Welcome to our annual Green issue, one of our favorite issues each year.  Why?

In a story titled The Secret Garden, staff writer Mark Olshaker relates an anecdote about executives of Avesta Housing talking with the architect of an awesome building in Portland, Maine with a greenhouse and garden on the roof, in which they conclude that all their projects should be “purposeful” housing.

“Purposeful.” Reading that stopped me in my tracks.  In this column in our last issue, I wrote about housing as a “social engine.” “Purposeful” is probably a better and simpler way of expressing what I meant. I am continually impressed that the members of the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association don’t just build walls to live within. Their purpose is beyond just residency. Their purpose is to contribute more than “walls” to society.  In fact, ironically, they often put up walls to break down walls.

The “purpose” of this issue is energy efficiency. It’s a thought that may not have been a part of our consciousness a decade ago. But now it is inspiring tireless innovation. In addition to the Avesta story, you will find two other case studies this month: One on Solterra’s use of energy solutions to build with beauty (Design Fuels Energy Savings) and another on Omni Housing’s determination to implement solar despite some practical obstacles (Solar on the Side).

Each year in this issue, we like to dig up the latest innovations in energy efficiency, as well as evolving thoughts about energy. And in the pages ahead you will find many:

Mark Olshaker discusses the newest and most efficient toilets and boilers that save both energy and money. (Energy Products and Approaches)

Matt Holden of Sparhawk shares the thoughts behind a new approach to managing energy efficiency and making sure you take advantage of potential cost savings. (Introducing Supertech)

And Joel L. Swerdlow presents New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s $5 billion, ten-year Clean Energy Fund that offers unusually rich support to developers interested in building—and building green—in that state. (New York Goes for Big—and Deep—Green).

When it comes to “purposeful” development, one inspiration is Jonathan Rose, who comes from a family of builders with a deep concern for societal improvement.  Rose describes his company as “a green real estate, policy, urban planning, development, project management and investment firm.” At NH&RA’s Annual Meeting in Palm Beach, President and CEO Peter Bell sat down with

Rose for an eye-opening conversation about his and his family’s mission-driven approach to development. We are honored to present excerpts from that conversation. (Talking Heads).

I think and hope this issue is packed with useful information that can inspire you to stretch your own business out into areas you may not have yet ventured into. And that is on purpose.

Marty Bell, Editor