Last week, our team gathered in Boston with the Building Ventures Innovators Network, the BVIN, for our Fall Summit. With more than a hundred professionals committed to built environment innovation in the room, our speakers and panelists discussed innovative solutions to some of our industry’s biggest challenges, including the scarcity of skilled labor, reducing embodied carbon, delivering sustainable indoor air quality, the electrification imperative, and so much more.
McCarthy Vice President of Preconstruction Derek Fitzgerald and Join.build Head of Product Christina Brown presented on the importance of transparent decision making in preconstruction.
At the BVIN Fall Summit, we also made a special announcement. We’re thrilled to share that we presented Building Transparency Executive Director Stacy Smedley with the Building Ventures Innovator Award in recognition not only of her role in driving awareness of construction’s embedded carbon impact on climate change, but also in leading the development of a free, open access platform to enable our industry to transition towards net zero carbon construction. With the support of over 50 prominent industry partners drawn from AEC, real estate, Fortune 500, and government agencies, Stacy has spearheaded a culture of shared responsibility in the industry that is essential to creating a better built world.
The Building Ventures Innovators Network
Creating a better built world is our higher-order mission as a firm. We use this as a framework to evaluate all of our investments, and we also point to this as the ultimate goal of conversations and collaboration with the BVIN.
Building Ventures Partner Allen Preger runs the BVIN. Our mission with this network is to create a forum and foster connections to drive the conversation and sharing of innovations that offer the transformational improvements we need for a better built world. There is immense potential in this sharing and spirit of collaboration, and that’s why the network has been an integral part of our firm’s approach since the beginning. Currently, the BVIN is comprised of approximately 100 industry professionals who are committed to this mission. Our strategic LPs and portfolio company leaders are invited to participate in all network events, including BVIN Summits.
Allen Preger and Breakthrough Energy’s Cooper Rinzler at the BVIN Spring Summit 2022.
At bi-annual BVIN Summits, we aim to connect members, showcase the inspirational work these members are doing, and start conversations that we hope continue far beyond the end of the day. For these events, we gather members of the network, as well as other interested individuals in our wider Building Ventures community, for a day of sessions exploring important themes across the building lifecycle.
Our BVIN Spring Summit in 2019 at Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, for example, explored sustainability in the built environment. It was at this event that we presented our inaugural Innovator Award to David Pogue, the Global Director of Corporate Responsibility at CBRE, for his steadfast commitment to sustainability in real estate.
We were so pleased to have cause and conviction in presenting the award again this fall.
Honoring Stacy Smedley at the BVIN Fall Summit 2022
On Thursday, October, 27, we hosted the BVIN Fall Summit 2022 at WBUR CitySpace. Our own Allen Preger hosted the day as MC, and Mosaic CEO Salman Ahmad kicked us off with an opening presentation on approaching construction as code, exploring Mosaic’s practice as a tech-enabled general contractor. This deep dive set the tone for the day—interrogating an industry-wide problem, sharing how technology and process can provide a better outcome, and ending in a thoughtful dialogue during the Q&A.
Throughout the day, we had a dozen sessions. Canoa CEO Federico Negro was joined by Yale School of Architecture Associate Dean Phil Bernstein for a fireside discussion on technology in design. Ari Matusiak, CEO of Rewiring America, shared the organization’s mission for Americans to achieve energy efficiency and tackle nationwide emission goals. Hypar CEO Ian Keough presented with Obayashi AI Researcher Takuma Nakabayashi on generative building design in downtown Tokyo.
Finally, we concluded with Stacy Smedley’s keynote address, Embodied Carbon: The Real Cost of Construction to Our Planet & What You Can Do About It. During her presentation, Stacy outlined the urgent need to drastically reduce embodied carbon during the building process. The urgency and the scale of the problem are humbling—even worse, they’re overwhelming for individuals, companies, and the industry. However, in one slide, Stacy likened tacking embodied carbon to peeling an onion; it’s a giant problem if you’re trying to fix everything at once, but you can approach layer by layer to get real results. This positive, pragmatic approach is inspiring, and it’s just one of the many reasons our team was excited to honor Stacy.
Stacy Smedley during her keynote presentation at the BVIN Fall Summit 2022.
The Building Ventures Innovators Award honors individuals who have driven meaningful change to create a better built world. Stacy has almost two decades of experience in the architecture and construction professions. Her resume includes the first LEED for Homes Platinum certified project in Washington State and the first project in the world to be certified under Living Building Version 2.0 standards. In her previous role as Sustainability Director at Skanska, Stacy led sustainable initiatives and was considered a subject matter expert in carbon emissions associated with buildings and construction. While still at Skanska, Stacy helped launch Building Transparency, an initiative on a mission to enable broad and swift action across the building industry in addressing embodied carbon’s role in climate change.
Co-founder and General Partner Jesse Devitte introduced the Building Ventures Innovators Award after Stacy’s keynote address. In his remarks, Jesse pointed to the growing interest in embodied carbon over the last six years, and he commended Stacy’s perseverance in bringing embodied carbon to the forefront of our conversation—even when few people were interested in talking about it until just a few years ago.
While this growing interest alone is a good thing for our planet, Stacy hasn’t stopped at simply raising awareness. In her current role at Building Transparency, Stacy provides open access data and tools to address embodied carbon’s role in climate change. The EC3, in particular, is an open-source calculator for embodied carbon that architects, owners, and builders can use. Additionally, Stacy has consulted on the Inflation Reduction Act, and she sits on the Industry Advisory Group for the US Department of State Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations.
Stacy’s significant work in raising awareness and creating solutions to mitigate embodied carbon undoubtedly contributes to creating a better built world. For all of these reasons, our team was thrilled to honor Stacy with the Building Ventures Innovators Award.
Building Transparency Executive Director Stacy Smedley with her Building Ventures Innovators Award.
Our overview of Stacy and Building Transparency’s work barely scratched the surface, so we encourage you to learn more about the organization’s mission to reduce embodied carbon and its free data and tools by visiting buildingtransparency.org.
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