Editor’s Letter: How We Nurture Nature

Peruse the pages of any issue of American Builders Quarterly and you’ll encounter stories about green building. I think that’s a great thing. It means the construction and design industries are rife with environmentally conscious executives, which is particularly important as infrastructure so heavily affects the planet.

Melaina K. de la Cruz, Managing Editor of American Builders Quarterly Portrait by Caleb Fox

As wildfires ravage countries, more species become extinct, and smog infects communities, the conversations around climate change have increased. Many people do their part to counteract a dismal future by recycling, composting, and repurposing old items. Still, experts agree that real progress in combating climate change is dependent not just on these individual efforts—but the grander measures companies take to reduce their carbon footprints. In 2019, the US Energy Information Administration reported that nearly 40 percent of total US energy consumption came from buildings.

That’s why in this issue we examine the solutions several facilities executives identified to keep their businesses green. These leaders manage to balance this with challenges like cost, aesthetic, and accessibility. Cover star Jennifer Mitchell upholds LinkedIn’s mission to be carbon-zero within the next 10 years, while designing a space for a diversity of perspectives. Seth Roy implements the use of locally sourced cross-laminated timber for Walmart’s headquarters in lieu of energy-intensive steel and concrete. Vincent Melito saved International House hundreds of thousands of dollars while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and aligning with the company’s devotion to its community. Linda Dixon’s master plan for the University of Florida relies heavily on the local environment and LEED-certified buildings to infuse the campus with spirit and sustainability.

Working on this issue feels a bit serendipitous for me. Seven years ago, I was in Iceland producing two documentaries for my college’s radio station: one about the country’s sustainability and the other about its architecture. As I interviewed builders about geothermal heating and intentionally low ceilings, I knew where my passions laid but what I’d do with them was still unknown to me. I feel incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to now edit a magazine that unites them.

The spaces you discover in this edition were built with not only present occupants in mind but also the future generations who will inherit and learn from them.