In November of this year, NESEA will be hosting the Building Energy Bottom Lines Summit. As a member of the Bottom Lines program, as well as a participant on its steering committee, I have been mulling over the purpose of such a summit; while on a personal and professional level, I have been marveling over why it has never crossed my mind not to attend it, whatever its purported purpose.
The Summit, a one-day gathering, will involve a number of educational sessions aimed at improving the business practices of NESEA member companies.
It will be giving existing Bottom Lines participants another opportunity to advance their understanding of what it means and what it takes to be a successful company with a mission focused on a triple bottom line. To those outside the Bottom Lines program, it will provide the same, as well as an introduction to the Bottom Lines program itself. One of the core missions of Bottom Lines has been to build up capacity and competence in the arena of progressive building practices. It serves that mission by drawing like-minded companies to itself and sharing its vast resources with them. So the summit is to serve both an educational as well as an invitational purpose.
The Summit will be a full day of learning. But if it is anything like the learning I have experienced through the Bottom Lines program, it will not be the pull-out-your-notebooks-cus-this-is-going-to-be-on-the-test kind of learning.
This is not at all to say it will be light on content, but it will be the kind of content that requires a deeper engagement with the material and invites a greater commitment to the process of learning. Companies that make up the current Bottom Lines fold vary widely in size, maturity and area of specialization. We all share any number of common problems, and for every problem that is discussed there is invariably a member that has found an elegant solution that he or she swears by and is more than willing to share. But, lying underneath or perhaps hovering above that enthusiastic willingness to share solutions there is a deep, group held, knowing wisdom, a wisdom that says; “your answer will likely need to be somewhat different from our answer, and you will need to figure out the particular flavor of your answer; that won’t necessarily be a smooth or easy process, but we will be here to help you get through it. Just stay engaged in the process,” the group encourages, “and stay committed to the core values that brought you to us in the first place. The solutions will show themselves.”
That process has worked for me, time and again it has really worked for me; and that is why I haven’t hesitated in my determination to attend the Summit. I will be attending because I have experienced that challenge to engagement and that invitation to commitment at every other Bottom Lines event.
So valuable have those experiences been that I truly cannot imagine trying to operate and grow my business without the stimulation, challenge and support that the Bottom Lines network provides.
I can say without reservation that it has been the single most important step I have taken to make my work at my company, Decumanus Green, a design/build firm serving the Berkshire region of Massachusetts, more effective, focused, and enjoyable. So I will be there in November, and I hope to see you there as well.
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NESEA advances sustainability practices in the built environment by cultivating a cross-disciplinary community where practitioners are encouraged to share, collaborate and learn.