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David Gottfried Transcript

  1. 1. LD_74_DavidGottfried_Interview.mp3 Harry: So now I’mspeakingwithDavidGottfriedwho wasthe original founder of the US Green Building Council and has a new book out called Explosion Green. First of all, welcome David and thank you for taking the time to talk to me. David: Thanks Harry, it’s great to be here with you. Harry: Yes. Now a lotof people wholistento the podcastsandread the blogs are probably not aware that my original career is as a green building or a green real estate developer. AndI got intogreen buildingthrough a historic renovation project that I started eleven yearsago and became somethingof a specialistingreenbuilding materials and my first book that ever was published was called “A Bleed Materials and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design,” the most widely recognized green buildings and it was createdby the US GreenBuildingCouncil whichmeansthat itwascreatedbyDavid.And the reason that this is relevant to my listeners and to me and to everything is that the builtenvironmenthas so much to do with our productivity and efficiency in our health that itsabsolutelyessential and itis something I really have uncovered and so forth, so withthat bitof a preamble Iwant to turn over to you David a little bit. How did you get into green building? David: I studied solar engineering in college and fell in love. I learned that we do have a sun and the suncan produce energyanddaylightandwe couldalsoopenwindowsandhave natural ventilationbutthatprofessorat Stanford really woke us up, he taught us about the world and that there are vital signs of earth and 30 years ago talked about climate change and the impact of population growth and that we could make our homes and buildings more efficient and we could also use the sun to create clean energy and he woke me up andeventodaywe are friendsandIam lecturingthere and he just thought that there isa world here and beyond what most people are talking about and there is also a health impact. Right,okay. So whata lotof people don'trealize Ithinkthatare not are not familiarwith how green buildings are done is that yes it's nice to have sustainable materials, it's of course nice to have no VOCs which is, for people who don't know - Volatile Organic Compoundswhichis the famousnew car smell butitendedwithpainsurgedhe says I'm and sustainable woodbambooandyouknow carpetand windowsthatare veryefficient and I geek out on all that and I think that's important but what I think a lot of people don't realize isthatthe healthandhappiness of the usershave the space iswhatis often neglected in the way buildings are designed. David: Yes, most of us take our homes for granted, we buy them, we move in, we have that new cart smell which is not healthy for us, the paints for example they put in biocide and fungicide for shelf life of that paint so that in a year or two after you painted your wallsitstill looksthe same colorbutthat stuff isthe toxicityandyoudon’twant it in the paintso youwant to go forthose no VOCsnotoxicity. It’salsointhe furnishingsthatwe are buying those cheep press boards that have non solid wood inside the particles of wood perhaps held together with binders and those make some people sick as well. Carpetinginofficesyoudon’tneedthe glue anymore. And we need to look at all those
  2. 2. items because it greatly impacts our health and whether we want to be in this space. We are of nature and mostof the homeswe builtdon’tallow nature inside, whether its plant material or just day lighting and then you can barely look out the window to see whatkindof dayit isand linkupwithour circadianrhythms. The more daylightwe have it has been proven kids mass cores are higher and even in Wal-Mart they sell more products in the sections that have sky light over it, Harry: That's funny. I hope they weren't selling VOC ceiling paint in that section. So there is twosides to it and this is what I really wanted to dig in with you just you just touched on them but on one side there's the avoiding the toxicity issue so creating a clean environment but on the other side those are things that actually do enhance your productivityandyourhealthandhappinesssuch as that access to light. So let's just talk more about that, that's what I think is going to so interesting to everybody who are listening. David: Well,the airqualityimpactsyourhealthandproductivityhugely. There is a whole field ingreenbuildingandasyouknow Harry, that looksat indoorenvironmental quality and the air isthe biggestcomponentsothe contributionof all those products and materials combined as well as the activity you are doing. So often a lack in ability and see somebody working with a strong adhesive or the brass cleaner or even walking on the street I can tell that they had a repair man who didn’t care about VOCs. If it smells strongly you need to pay attention. A good friend of ours Dr. Pedrom _______(5:41 – unclear) says that’s the cancer smell and you got to get it out but at the same time day lightingishugelyimportant you don’t want to have that casino impact where you can’t have any relationship with the sun, you want to have control over your daylight. You don’thave the hot westernsumjustbeatinguponyour window andoverheatingyou. If you have overhangs that would be great or good window blinds or even an efficient windows that keeps that out the shading coat efficient as long as letting that daylight penetrate intothe space if youare designinganew office building. It’s better to have a skinny longer building so that everyone inside has access to the light Harry: And beyond the access too is the idea of control so one of the elements of the lead rating system is that people want to have controllability over their temperature and their lighting. David: Yes andmost of the time we don’t. You have one little thermostatonawhole floor that mightbe ten thousandsquare feetinanolderbuilding.Itdrivesusnutsor whenyouare superhighyoucan’t openthe window sooperable windows are really important, small thermostat that have a sense of temperature and different zones and your ability to control the temperature where youare sitting.that’sreallyimportant,eveninthe home we are seeing smart thermostat and that’s probably the coolest one that google just boughtthree monthsago for$300M and itsgot artificial intelligenceinit,itlinksto your Wifi,ithas occupancysensors,yourpatternsandit lures,socollectingthe dataandthen controllingyourspace,yourenvironment to your patterns of life as well as your health and productivity.Itsreallyimportantwhensomebodyknowsaboutthe real time pricing of power so you can power, it’s the summer and it’s hot and everybody is running air
  3. 3. conditioning that’s the peak period. There is also the period when we can have the black out Harry: Right,of course. Actually,mylocal powercompanywhere Ilive has a thing where they will put in thermostat, not nests unfortunately. I have seven nests in my household. Theywill putinwhat theycall smart thermostats for you and that allows you to control themremotely but todo that theywill doitfor free butthe agreementthatyoumake is that inthe eventthattheyneedto they can raise your air temperature by five degrees or something like that in the event that they need to. And you can override it if you want but of course if you're not there you not necessarily going to care and those few degrees can make a huge difference. David: And then they will pay you for that so you are the power plan of the future for them. And the new power plants were built because of the peak capacity which is exactly at that time you are describing so if 20% of the people just raise their thermostat a few degreestheydon’tneedthe nextpowerplantsotheywill pay you for that demand size management. Harry: Right, exactly and I want to go back to thermostat difference for a second, I love the NestI thinkthey're amazingandthisweekactually I'm sure you saw this where Google introduced the works with Nest API so now you can have so many things interacting withyourNestthermostatincludingone of my favorite web sites which is IFTTT so you can get alerts if temperature goes above a certain temperature and in the same regard if you entera certainarea with your iPhone whether it's your office or near your home youcan have a thermostat adjustforthat as well. Butinthe studiesthatI've saw whenI was originallylookingalot of late stuff, theyevenshowed thatjustputtingathermostat withsomebodytocontrol it or beingable tocontrol evenif itdidn'tactually control the thermostat just that psychological element of feeling some control over their environment was effective as well. David: Well,I have seen beyond this with building control systems, there is a new one that is call building robotics, its more in the office arena but using phone people can vote on whether they are comfortable or not in different areas and if aggregates those votes and adjusts based on comfort. It gives everyone a voice through their phone. It also through the phone knows where you are in the building using the GPS and so sensor technology is starting to come into our lives in so many ways some of where these…..I have a up by jaw bones, others have Nike feel band and that measures your steps. It also measures your sleep and then the up measures your light sleep versus your deep sleepandhowmanytimesyouwoke upat nightsand thenitmeasuresyou against your own data to see how you are doing with yourself as a baseline as well as the general people who they are collecting information from. So it might say you are in the top percentof sleep oryouare significantly behind your average and you started to collect the data and so many interesting areas and then based on that you can boost your performance. It also got a little bit of a big brother element which is a whole other discussion Harry: Right. Let's talk a little bit. I've been curious to hear your thoughts.
  4. 4. David: Well andevenwithGoogle, why did Google buy Nest and pay $300Mand now they are coming out with other systems. Nest is in you home, its collecting data, the office is getting data on how you sleep, how you walk and all with the clock competing and we are nowable to collectsomany realms of data and then compare it and learn patterns. But that data can be soldfor a ton of moneyto people once theyknow more about you. We see it all over the internet with everything we do and the cookies, that’s the valuable partof thissocial media,it’sthe data. And we are not really aware of what are theydoingwithour data and then soon they are getting ads and ads that are reflecting thingsthat youhave done or websitesyousurfedeven with the app if you are sleeping poorly maybe you are getting ads for better beds and different pillows and certain potions that allow you to sleep better, maybe you are getting invited to the sleep disorder clinic and soon the local sleep therapy person is calling you. So how far does that go? It’s a big debate on the advisory board for when firms have privacy based software social mediaandtheirwhole thingis we’ve got all those tools of LinkedIn and Facebook but we don’t sell the data. And even if you want adds to be pushed to you, you have to opt in that you want them and the site is free if you want ads and if you don’t want the ads you would pay money but in time you would be able to request certain types of ads that are acceptable put in front of you so you can control you ads and that’sa whole newideathattheyhave invited.Soit’scertainly privacy issues that’s the big global debate because yougettingintoa spying and I don’t know that we are all aware of how much data they are gathering and then how rich it is in terms of profitabilityforthose firmsandwhere are those linesof privacy and this privacy debate ishappeningonCapital Hill. I am a big fan of data because I believe without collecting the data whether it’s your weight, your blood pressure, how much gluten you put in your body, whether servings should weigh, certainly measuring your sugar, your cortisone, all those hormones that my wife gets into. It’s very important and then getting those alarms when you are hitting the red zone, that wakes you up. And we need that because we are focused on other things. But in terms of it being sold and then ads come in based on my behavior without my permission I think we headed into the 1984 big brother stuff. Harry: Yes andI agree to some extent. Oh and I agree actually I agree actually but for me, it's more of an issue that they're collecting the data and not allowing you to access your own data in a lot of cases. So that that to me is part of a bigger problem in some ways because at leastif youknow whatthey're collectingandyou can access it that would be somethinguseful that youcan thendowithit, buta lotof timestheysomehow make it so that the informationthatyou have providedtothemthenbecomestheir proprietary information. But also you mentioned your wife and I should feel like I would be very remiss if I didn't point out that David is married to the wonderful and very informative Dr. Sarah Gottfried whoI have interviewed before and she has a wealth of knowledge on hormones and endocrine disruptors which really does relate to green building and everythingthatwe doand so Sarah is awesome and Ithinkitis an interestingcombo for youguys that she is sort of the healthybody and you are the healthy environment and that melds together very well as far as I can see.
  5. 5. David: Well youare right. Togetherwe become triple bottomline. Ihave the academyand the environmentandshe hasthe social healthside andevenmy comments about what you are hearing here today comes from living with her and trying to integrate in people’s bodies, hormones with green building and they all merge in the field of health as you knownot justwith our bodiesorhealthforthe buildingorthe impactof the buildingon health but health of the planner. Harry: So let’shave alookat the booka little bit. So why explosion green, why now, you have been doing this for twenty years so what prompted the book? David: So the book was pre-released in November at the 20th anniversary of the US Green Building Council and I felt it important it was a memory to tell our story of how did we come together? Why?Andhow didwe buildperhaps the greatest environmental NGO ever in terms of climate change mitigation, resource, depletion issues. We now have about 260 staff just in DC for the USGBC and then we have 99 more countries and lead ended up in 140 countries about 11 billion square feet, 300 thousand projects and create a whole industry. The Gra Hill, rate screen building, the US for 2016 a 200 billion and that’sthe US nothittingthe othercountries. I wanted to tell the story. I wanted to step back and look over 20 years what were our ingredients and the tool kit for transformation. Howdowe take this seven trillion dollars world’s largest industry and get everyone at the table. How do we get hundreds of governmental agencies to use leadand crix carrots on sticks(Ilike the carrot of tax credits), andgetmillionsof people to create a new movement and one that’s built on capitalistic principles that you can make more moneythroughgreennotjustthe liabilitysideof environmental impact but more that this is the future of growth and the economy. And then there is a theme throughoutitmore about self reflection,self deprecation, of what is our journey, what is our purpose and mission here on earth and reflecting through the character in the book who tells the story of what happens to David who is me Harry: So and where doyou see the - another green movement per se but lead has evolved I think there is like six or seven version at this point and what direction do you see it going? David: Version 4 just came out and C but we have many other products beyond construction but withourlatestversionsUSGBC is startingto look at the product and health product declarationswe call themHPDs, its moving towards that zero and looking at that in the future,it’slooking more at the real time data and not just when you designed it or the designintentbut did you collect the data and how is doing, focusing more on what we call ______(20:00) that which you designed is actually what you got and that you are tweakingitall the time to have continuous improvement to achieve the goals that you have and itsmovingmore intohealthandproductivityandthatoccupies more than just someone who needs daylight of getting the VOCs out but they need to have comfort and that individual control thatwe talkedabout. So those are some highlights. We are also going to move from the L in Leader stands for Leadership and initially we pegged that the only homes that could qualify were at the top 25 percent but what about the other75 percentof the homesandbuildingsthatnotcertifiedanditis not that we have
  6. 6. 25% of the market but those are the ones that could qualify and then there are the big fat buildings, I call them the clunker homes and buildings. They are the 500 pounds buildings. Howdowe get themintothe game?Andthe USGBC is takinga lookat that as well. Harry: Great Harry. I'm really interesting to sort of see where it goes. So the last question I really love to ask people on the podcast is from anything that you do or done and you had the knowledge you gained from Sarah and from your life and for everything that you do, what are your sort of top three personal tips for being more effective in what you do? David: And you are hitting a lot of this in your last doing which I like. I think a big part of your message is intention ____(21:48 - unclear), you got a look of what you put into your mouth,yougot a lookat how youmove yourbody andyou needtolookat what youare thinkingandstartcontrolling and taking charge of those things you can do first and the same is true in our homes and our buildings. So we need to look at the water and the waste and the purchase decisionsaswell andthencombining this personal health with the building. I always way say who is in the green building. So I am looking at that Harry. I have inventedsomethinganditissomethingcalledthe lifebalance sheetwhich ispersonal life green rating tool and it takes your personal assets minus your personal liabilities and calculate your self-worth. Using a balance sheet we calculate net worth lookingatself worth which gets into how are you doing in this journey of your life and whatimpact are you leavinghere onearthandwhat stewardshipseedsyouare planting so there isa good legacythat’sactuallyhealingearthhere when you are gone. But one thingthat obsessesme isthatwe have all these beautiful technologies now in terms of knowledge and thousands of practitioners who can make our bodies healthy, our buildingshealthy. Yet we are not all living with intentionality we are not all waking up and why is that. And so I have been hanging out with some of Sarah’s friends and neuronscience andtry tolearnmore aboutthe brain and I call it regent brain because I believeour survival wiring of the past caveman years kept us alive and warns us about the tiger and if you are freezing you die or if you don’t have food came over. But you don’tneedthatwhenyou have old foods in a safe way. You know you don’t have to go downthe aisle withyourspearand yourdagger. No one istryingto kill in old foods and youcan take thisstuff off the shelf. Andyetprobablyif you are dying and someone cut youoff and took the lastorganic glutenfood bag off the shelf you probably want to kill him and so you are grabbing for the organics but you don’t have an organic mind, I would say a clean brain and so I am curious with the advent of placidity. Can we lay a new neuron network that creates the survival wiring of the 21st and 22nd century? And how can we invent apps that reprogram our brain so we care about nature, other people here, that we are more humane and our homes and so far we just had one big home. So that’s my new obsession. Harry: And I think that’s a pretty good thing to be obsessed about. So David, thank you so much. We are goingto have everything,all yourstuff inthe show, but where's the best place that we can find out more about you, the book, everything. David: I have a website at www.explosiongreen.com and you can go there and learn about the book, there is a opt in for a free conference that I am doing in September. I call it
  7. 7. ExplosionGreenLife. Iinterviewed40 of the people whoare the most influential in the work in sustainability and green-ability and the week of September 15 it is free so you can signup at www.explosiongreen.comandgetintothe scheme. The one thing I want to mention is that I made some show notes on your last show when you were talking about regenerating your immune system and this is about really regenerating the immune system for earth as well as ourselves so it all ties in together. So it’s fun to be here with you and look at putting an overlay of last doings on our homes and our buildings and you can boost health and productivity by leaning in the weights and the inputs and getting a higher yield. Harry: Absolutely. Well David, thank you so much that was a very different kind of conversation from the past one that I actually didn’t want to have, so thank you for your time. David: Thanks for having me and the great work you are doing, the important message and tools you putting out into the world. Harry: Thank you.