Russia Comes to Pittsburgh: As you know, Guy Eames (Russian Green Building Council) and Svetlana Koshkina (Russian Green Development Forum) have been visiting Green Building Alliance for the past few weeks…
Several staff members have been hosting our visitors and traveling across the Eastern United States with them as they tour green buildings, meet with industry experts, and build future partnerships. Both Guy and Svetlana have been to the U.S. before, but the purpose of this trip is to explore various business models used by U.S. Green Building Council chapters and other related organizations that have the potential of being utilized in Russia. Here are some highlights from their visit so far…
On the Road with Guy and Svetlana: New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C.
Guy and Svetlana’s adventure began in New York City on November 15th, where GBA’s Michael Sobkowiak greeted them. While there, they met with Urban Green, the NYC chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, which has a strong policy and advocacy role in its region. Staff members shared ideas that Guy and Svetlana could bring back to Russia with them and the group also toured the site of the World Trade Center memorial and visited other New York attractions.
From there, Guy and Svetlana traveled with Michael and Mike Schiller to Philadelphia to join the rest of GBA’s team (and about 30,000 of their closest friends) at the annual Greenbuild conference. This was Guy’s second time to attend that USGBC event and he was pleased to find that this year there was a full-day International Forum. While there, Guy had a chance to sit down with Ed Mazria, founder of Architecture 2030 and the 2030 Challenge. The pair spoke with Mike and Sean Luther about how the 2030 District model might be adopted in Russia.
Just after Thanksgiving, our Russian guests joined Mike , Michael, and Janel Everly for a trip to Washington, D.C., where they met with USGBC staff members to discuss the potential of greater collaborations between the Russian Green Building Council and World Green Building Council.
They also visited William McDonough & Associates and got to sit down with Bill McDonough himself! Bill is a well-known pioneer in green buildings and products and wrote the iconic book, Cradle to Cradle, about sustainable manufacturing and practices. A fun fact about Bill is that he did a green renovation of the Heinz Family Foundation offices here in Pittsburgh in the 1990s that led Theresa Heinz Kerry to become interested in green building…which subsequently led to The Heinz Endowments helping to fund and launch Green Building Alliance! While at the firm, the group met with managers who are working on some really interesting projects.
Lastly while there, our travelers met with ISB, part of the World Bank. They discussed use of the innovative EDGE tool, which helps international projects calculate green building savings and paybacks.
Making their way back to Pittsburgh, our friends made a stop in Berkeley Springs, W.V., where they enjoyed a hearty breakfast and visited a few local businesses (where Svetlana was even offered a free t-shirt, pictured on the cover of this post!).
Once they arrived back at “home base,” there were many more meetings to be had! Among other activities, they went on behind-the-scenes tours of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and Energy Innovation Center, appeared on a KQV radio interview with the Pittsburgh Global Press Conference (hosted by Steve Sokol of Pittsburgh’s World Affairs Council), met with the Center for Small Business Development at Duquesne University, and made presentations at GBA (about green building in Russia) and via a program at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
Whew! As you can see, Guy and Svetlana have already built many new friendships and partnerships while here. What’s next? They’ll head to Chicago, Ann Arbor, and Detroit for a few days. Stay tuned for more on their trip and help us wish them safe travels!