Ash Awad, P.E., is McKinstry’s Chief Market Officer.
Every year on Earth Day, your newsfeed is probably dominated by stories about the grand sweeping changes underway (or not) to save our planet. We’ve seen global-scale environmental promises from Kyoto to Paris, paired with a deep-seated skepticism of man-made climate change.
So, where may we find common ground? The answer could be simple: Speak to everyone’s values without preaching to convert.
I’ve had the good fortune in my career to work on projects and programs that will save the planet—yes, I said save the planet—and that also make economic sense, revitalize old beautiful buildings, create jobs, improve physical learning environments, and, well, you get the gist. Sometimes it’s about saving the planet, and sometimes a school district just needs to get rid of an old and failing coal boiler.
At McKinstry, we’ve been leading the way to take the waste out of the construction and operations of buildings for almost 60 years. Our vision, “Together, Building a Thriving Planet,” is pretty lofty! Yet, at our vision’s core is the work we do to make buildings perform better for the people who use them every day. It just so happens that when buildings perform better, they’re better for the environment—and we create a thriving planet.
Taking the waste out and putting the efficiency in is our top priority. We focus on saving one kilowatt at a time, one gallon at a time, one pound of CO2 at a time, one tree at a time, one project at a time. That might sound boring, but just imagine the ripple effect; if every building—every person—started reducing their energy and water usage.
For instance, one LED light bulb can save 400 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere over the life of the bulb. If every American home switched their five most-used light fittings to energy-saving bulbs, it would reduce greenhouse gases by nearly half a million tons.
So, on Earth Day 2017, no matter what side of the political aisle you’re on, I think we can all agree that our work matters to this planet. Our clients are looking for infrastructure renewal that makes economic sense, conserves resources and demonstrates fiscal responsibility.
The kid who’s freezing in his classroom or the patient who needs clean air to heal doesn’t care about cost/benefit analysis or capital budget plans. They just need it fixed—and that’s what we do. In the process, we get to do our part to help our planet thrive.
We’ve never deviated from our belief that this is the right thing to do. We’ve seen many ups and downs and twists and turns. Whether it be the economy, a natural disaster or a change in policy, we’ve stayed the course and addressed the problem one building at a time.
Every day, we’re looking for new and better ways to save the next kilowatt. Whether it’s our energy models, advocacy for city and state code changes, or our collaboration with clients across industry sectors, we strive for innovation in the ordinary. For some great examples of where we’ve done that, check out this post covering a recent McKinstry campaign that celebrated our employees’ everyday innovations.
On this Earth Day, I celebrate the small actions we’re all taking to better our planet. We may be starting with something as small as changing a light bulb or replacing a coal-burning boiler, but little things can add up to a whole world of change.