Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sustainability Field Trip #2

We went on a field trip in my class today. We first visited AIA Chicago which is the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architecture. When we first got into the office, we were approached by a friend of my professor's Zurich. He gave us an overview of what the AIA was and our speaker for the day, Bill came in. Bill spoke to us about the Committee on the Environment (COTE)which serves the community on behalf of the AIA regarding sustainable buildings. He shared some of his past with us and he then went into how the sustainable buildings are built. The process is very extraneous and involves many different factors that needed to be considered like how much sunlight can they get in the building and if they can go underground to cool down a building. I wasn't aware that a lot of the sustainable building practices that he mentioned and the one that interested me the most is the living wall. It is basically a wall of plants and it's put in buildings to purify the air and it also looks decorative. 

After our visit at AIA, we went to the Environmental Law and Policy Center. The ELPC is the Midwest’s leading public interest environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization. They develop and lead successful strategic advocacy campaigns to improve environmental quality and protect our natural resources.  Seth Johnson works for the ELPC as a policy advocate and organizer, an example of this that he gave us was the work he did then the Englewood neighborhood here in Chicago. A railroad company made a deal with the city to start building around the neighborhood. Englewood has a high number of people who suffer from asthma and a railroad company moving close to them wouldn't help fix that problem. The deal was already sealed and it looked like it would be a grim future for Englewood. The community members decided to team up with the ELPC to advocate for a better deal. After a lot of work, it was agreed that both sides would sit down and come up with a solution that would benefit everyone. The ELPC's public advocacy links environmental progress and economic development together while improving the quality of life for those who they help.

We had the afternoon portion of class at the University of Chicago Business School in the city. It isn't near the main campus and it was really close to the two companies that we visited today so my professor figured that we would have class there. We got to choose from a list of conventions and treaties and we had to give a presentation on them today. I had the World Conservation Strategy and it was a lot of fun researching it because I really had no idea what it was and I was surprised at how much it related to the triple bottom line that we learned earlier in class. When it was my turn, I was kind of nervous but mostly because I was afraid that I would forget all of the facts that I was going to use to make my presentation good. I feel like I wasn't as nervous as I was the first time that I presented and I can feel myself getting better at public speaking.

We ran really late in class today so we had to cut our schedule for today short and tomorrow, we are going on another field trip to visit Interface. We have to take the train to get there and my plan is to follow someone who knows where they are going so I don't get lost. Tomorrow we are visiting Interface which is a company that produces carpet tiles. This invention is really ingenious to me and I'm really excited to learn everything that goes on in the making of it.

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