Greenspace: DMC series imagines a sustainable future
A monthly speaker series organized by Destination Medical Center aims to get Rochester residents talking about sustainability.
The inaugural event of the DMC sustainability series was held last month, covering Rochester's current sustainability status and future session plans. Events will be held on the second Wednesday of each month through December.
The DMC sustainability series' second event was held last week and focused on net zero energy buildings. Next month's event, slated for Feb. 14, will highlight Mayo Clinic's recommissioning program, which ensures building systems and operations are operating properly through tune-ups.
On Friday, DMC Energy and Sustainability Director Kevin Bright spoke with the Post Bulletin about the goals for the series.
How did the idea for a DMC sustainability series first come about?
It's actually a concept that I've used in the past in higher education just to introduce new topics to people or new ways of doing things so that, as we start to develop new programs or new concepts in the city, it won't necessarily be the first time people hear about things. Just as a way to help educate people, introduce some new concepts and ideally kind of push the needle forward a little bit more quickly.
What's the main goal of the sustainability series?
One hope is to try to get different pockets of the community to interact with each other — so members of the design community with folks who are more environmentally inclined that volunteer time with nonprofits, with facility managers who are kind of tangentially involved with energy efficiency and sustainability on a day-to-day basis. To kind of have a forum that that they can all be together, learn about some new sustainability topics, but also understand that there are others in the community that they can tap or talk to as a way to build kind of this sustainability network of people within the city.
The second is information sharing, best-practice sharing. So trying to bring in interesting speakers that are doing new or innovative things that might not have been done in the city yet. So people can see if it might be applicable to their place of work.
Then third is also trying to identify folks within the community who are working on these things to help them get their story out, too.
So these events will be once a month through December, correct?
Yep. So the second Wednesday of each month. We may have one month that we need to change the date, but the hope is second Wednesday every month, noon to 1 p.m., meeting room B at the Rochester Public Library.
How does the sustainability series tie into the larger vision of the Destination Medical Center?
I think the way I break up the goals for the DMC project are to address new construction, to help existing buildings become more efficient and then also create a sustainability culture within the city. And I see this series kind of touching all three of those. Either on a content basis, we can talk about sustainable design or we can talk about energy efficiency things we can consider in existing buildings. But I think just bringing these different pockets of the community together, too, helps to build that sustainability culture.
Are there plans for similar series in the future?
Maybe not series, but definitely conversations that are focused on particular topics. In September, the DMC helped host the Danish energy ministry to come talk about district energy systems. And then later in the fall, we had International WELL Building Institute come talk about healthy buildings, or how buildings can contribute to human health. So while those aren't really a series and there's not a regular schedule to them, we're planning on continuing that moving forward, but a little bit more focused and maybe a little bit more timely.