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See green opportunities ahead

John Killin
Dolan Media Newswires

Portland, OR – A contractor recently said his company “is refusing to participate in the recession.” His words are a good reminder that a positive outlook can make tough economic times a little brighter. Rather than obsess about the present, we also should look toward the future.

Please don’t misinterpret me. I am not recommending we don rose-colored glasses and pretend we are not experiencing one of the worst economic times in generations. Instead, I’m saying everyone can stop for a moment and ask what they can be doing to retool and look for new opportunities.

For contractor organizations like the Associated Builders & Contractors Inc., that means we need to identify new roles and innovative ways we can help members be more visionary. We can play an important role in helping contractors look beyond their economic struggles.

That’s why I was so excited to see growing interest in ABC’s still incubating Green Building Council. While the council will not officially launch for a few more months, members and industry partners are developing an exciting vision.

Initially, the Green Building Council likely will help the industry understand the sometimes overwhelming lexicon of sustainable development. Acronyms like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council) make a lot of people feel like they need some sort of a secret decoder ring. And that is what we can initially provide interested parties – an opportunity to understand and look toward the future.

The Green Building Council is putting an impressive vision in place. From educational resources and networking opportunities to understanding the theory and application of sustainable practices, the council will ensure the market is primed to participate in evolving and innovative practices.

We anticipate a variety of guest speakers and topical experts to help articulate best practices and basic principles in areas like solid waste recycling, energy tax credits, emission reductions and certifications for buildings and for the professionals who design and construct them.

Another critical component for the Green Building Council will be field trips to provide hands-on learning for members.

Times are tough, but the market eventually will turn for the better. We can choose to be consumed by the present, or we can turn an eye to the future. Rather than looking at today’s economic situation through rose-colored glasses, try a shade of green.

John Killin is president of the Associated Builders and Contractors Pacific Northwest Chapter and executive director of the Independent Electrical Contractors of Oregon.

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