Green is her favorite color

by Megan Ritchie Saffitz '02

Where are you reading this right now— bent over the kitchen counter, reclined in your office chair, beneath the shade of a favorite tree?

If you were to scrutinize your reading spot, could you easily discern how its location, design, and construction have positively or negatively impacted our environment? More important, when you look for your next reading spot— or home, office, daycare, or whatever— would you prefer one that maximizes its positive impact and minimizes its negative effects on our planet? Sure you would—but how do you choose?

Third-party certifications provide a method for consumers to easily recognize products that align with their values. Many of us already use certifications such as “Certified Humane” or “Organic” to choose our groceries or other consumables. I work at the U.S. Green Building Council supporting their Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification program, a third-party verification for green real-estate products such as homes, offices, hospitals, and schools. As the director of LEED Support, I manage a team of sustainable development specialists who help project teams navigate the design, construction, and operation of buildings to the requirements of the LEED Rating System.

I’ve been interested in environmental design since my days at Scripps. What began with landscape projects—like the Scripps Student Garden—grew to the scale of whole sustainable neighborhoods, as I worked as a sustainable development consultant with architects, engineers, planners, and developers to design and construct green buildings and communities. Now that I’m in the non-profit realm, I don’t just help people build green these days, I support the certification program that measures and celebrates the achievement.


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