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June 1, 2021

CLF Regional Hubs: Changing the World!

CLF Regional Hubs Flourish in Philly, Phoenix, Minnesota, Seattle, Boston, Austin, Atlanta, Ottawa, Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Alberta, New York City, Omaha, Vancouver, Bengaluru, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, Capetown

…and the List Goes On!

Since the first CLF Regional Hub launched in Vancouver, Canada the fall of 2019, new Hubs have flowered around the world. Hubs are are convened by groups of CLF Community members to help interested professionals share best practices, discuss solutions, and spread the word about embodied carbon. Hubs initially arose without any particular guidance or strategic planning. However, this spontaneous growth was driven by a deep sense of urgency, and a profound desire to collaborate across our industry. By the spring of 2021, Regional Hubs had been initiated in 29 cities across the globe, from Boston to Bengaluru, from Omaha to Ottawa. In a sign of the potential for Hubs to accelerate change, Mayor of Pittsburgh recently signed an Executive Order for the City of Pittsburgh to develop a unified City-led deconstruction policy and establish a City-led pilot program utilizing deconstruction methods on City-owned condemned properties.

A policy arena friendly to and workforce development opportunities around material reuse, and an academic community conducting research on material bank modeling and a regional circular economy…we can see several compelling opportunities to nurture with this group: commercial and residential renovations, material reuse, and specifying lower embodied carbon products in renovations and new commercial projects, among others. — Alex Co, co-leader of the CLF Pittsburgh Regional Hub

Pittsburgh, PA

Alex Co

The Value of Hub Membership

Building industry professionals join CLF Regional Hubs to:

  • Connect with others in their communities who are interested in reducing carbon emissions associated with building materials, design, and construction, and learn how to reduce embodied carbon in projects, using tools, data, and other resources.
  • Engage in discussions to advance embodied carbon understanding and action, while acting with others to advance public and organizational policies to reduce embodied carbon.
  • Connect their firms, companies, and organizations to CLF’s embodied carbon mission as partners and sponsors, and address systemic inequality and structural racism, connecting environmental justice with the carbon challenge.

The City of Ottawa has done a great effort in assessing the impacts of the construction industry on the climate and is trying to putting a huge effort to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions through a variety of initiatives such as the Climate Change Master Plan, which is a framework to reduce (GHG) emissions and to respond to the current and future effects of climate change. The City Council has put a long, short, mid plan to overcome the climate effects. I believe that Carbon Leadership Forum Ottawa hub will help in the city endeavors to combat climate change. — Eslam Elshorbagy, co-leader of the CLF Ottawa Regional Hub

Ottawa, Canada

Eslam Mohammed

Five Easy Steps for Starting a Hub

  1. A minimum of three CLF Community members decide to take collective responsibility for launching a new Hub.
  2. Submit an online application to CLF, identifying the proposed leaders of the Hub and describing local interest in establishing a Hub.
  3. New Hub leaders are contacted by a member of the Regional Hub Steering Committee to answer their questions, invite them to meetings with other Hub leaders, and connect them to available resources.
  4. CLF Staff creates a new discussion group for the Hub on the CLF Community.
  5. New Hub leaders invite building industry professionals from their region to a public event designed to launch the Hub, recruit members, and activate sharing, collaboration, and leadership in the region.

During a recent Carbon Love & Learn hosted by Interface, Cecelia Freeman, Esther Adhiambo Obonyo, and I were watching Anthony Hickling and Anthony Pak’s CLF overview and we all decided that we wanted to bring a CLF Hub to Philly. There are three primary areas of focus that we’re thinking of: embodied carbon awareness, education, and policy. — Lisa Conway, Interface, co-leader of the CLF Philly Regional Hub

Philadelphia, PA

Lisa Conway

Opportunities for Leadership

  • Regional Hub co-leaders take on a range of responsibilities, including:
  • Identifying challenges and opportunities in reducing embodied carbon in their region with the help of a diverse Hub.
  • Hosting gatherings of Hub members, encouraging collaborative sharing, learning, and action to reduce embodied carbon.
  • Reporting to CLF on the contributions and successes of Hub members, and leveraging the examples and contributions of other Hubs.

Rising temperatures and less precipitation will become more severe over the next few years. More than half of humans around the globe are anticipated to live in desert environments by 2030. As humans we are becoming a desert species. Rising temperatures and drought are becoming a ‘climate reality’ not only here in the Sonoran Desert but globally. This increasingly hotter environment could lead to Phoenix becoming an uninhabitable place or create an opportunity to ‘rise out of the ashes’ and serve as an example for fighting global warming and becoming a sustainable desert city. To do so, we must address the drivers behind global warming and climate change, including embodied carbon. Our hub will include leadership from all realms of the building and planning industry including professionals in legislative policy, municipal leadership, education and research, construction, engineering and design. — Johanna Collins, co-leader of the CLF Phoenix Regional Hub

Phoenix, AZ

Johanna Collins

Tips on How to Grow a Hub

  • Create a schedule of regular meetings featuring popular topics for discussion, education, and action.
  • Use the CLF Community 1 platform to promote discussion, resource sharing, and engagement between meetings.
  • Share and rotate leadership and facilitation of the Hub to develop participation and resilience.
  • Look for opportunities to promote collective action by Hub members to engage with companies, organizations (especially other like minded organizations like AIA COTE, USGBC, and ILFI), local communities, and public agencies to reduce embodied carbon.

South Africa has a long history of sustainability thinking, and many people working in the sector. To date, there has been little emphasis on embodied carbon and there is no life cycle analysis being done in construction outside of academia. Our local construction industry in South Africa is well developed, and would be recognizable to those working in the industry in Europe or North America. We have access to products from around the world and have a manufacturing sector producing local products and exports. But there is no focus yet on embodied carbon and EPDs and similar information is not readily available. Unfortunately South Africa’s energy reliance on coal makes our industries particularly carbon intensive…We are hoping that a local hub of the CLF will be a forum for us to learn, connect with like minded people and advocate for change in the industry. — Lloyd Rubidge, co-leader of CLF South Africa Regional Hub (Capetown) 

Capetown, South Africa

Lloyd Rubidge

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