Constructive Constructions for Environmental Justice

In light of the social justice and police brutality events over the last year, and throughout the course of our country’s history, I felt it was important on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day to once again read his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” — to take these moments to reflect on how I am upholding Dr. King’s dreams, or rather how my actions prolong the frustrations Dr. King wrote about in his letter.

As an engineer, I’ve pledged to “serve humanity by making the best use of Earth’s precious wealth.” And with every building I leave my fingerprints on, I aim to combat the injustices that Dr. King worked toward bringing an end to.

On California’s famous Pacific Coast Highway, the inequity is clear as you drive from one city to the next. Although I doubt any part of the United States is exempt from this truth, Los Angeles and its surrounding neighborhoods demonstrate that many buildings in working-class communities were not constructed with an equitable foundation. These buildings were constructed in a United States that had (and still has) exclusive classes developing systematic barriers to pin races against each other. This narrative might seem grim, but buildings stand for generations and any environmental injustice embedded in them will stand even longer. Our past constantly surrounds us, and it serves as a reminder that every building I help design and construct will stand long after I am gone.

The loss of Dr. King was tragic, but he had hope. Hope he left instilled in future generations to work toward justice and equity for a “more perfect union.”  I hope at the end of my career, I will feel that my work celebrated communities for their culture, and did not transform or displace them through the forces of gentrification. That my work created equitable opportunities in a clean, green, and healthy community.  And finally, that my work fulfilled my pledge to serve humanity through the lens of environmental justice. It is not enough to be an engineer for the world, I need — as engineers, we all need — to be “societal engineers,” working to design constructive constructions for environmental justice.

COVID-19’s Unintended Silver Lining

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Anna Yung is Verdical Group’s Marketing & Events Intern. She holds a BA in Economics and a Minor in Urban & Environmental Policy from Occidental College.

When news that the coronavirus had landed in the US broke, I never imagined things would get this serious. I had been following reports of what was going on in China and Italy, but I think that, like a lot of people during the onset of this crisis, I failed to understand the severity. The coronavirus has left the world at a loss of how to proceed with normal life as it impacts families, small businesses, and local economies.

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Earth Day’s Birthday

You’ve heard the phrase… over, and over, and over again:

“Every Day is Earth Day”

This popular household tagline and the holiday it refers to have been promoted in the education system, news media, and our communities for decades. But how many of us are aware of the holiday’s origins? Let’s take it back to the debut, to the very beginning of it all: April 22, 1970. Read more

VG x Charles Pankow Builders: Partnering to Scale Sustainability

CULTURE

Imagine an office with onsite EV charging stations, ample daylight, and top-of-the-line efficiency that is designed to LEED Silver standards. It’s also located only half a mile from the Del Mar stop on the Gold Line (and even closer to our favorite local coffee spot, Urth Caffé), and features the beautiful San Gabriel Mountains as a backdrop.

Sounds like a great place to work, right? Read more

Verdical Group’s Impact Metrics: One Year Later

Even if a goal may seem long-term or vague, motivation is more easily maintained when tangible, solid numbers can quantify your efforts.  Metrics help our team at Verdical Group see the bigger picture, and they demonstrate that the time and effort necessary to build structures to the highest sustainable design standards can guarantee environmental and financial benefits for decades to come.  Our Verdical Group Impact Metrics show just how big those benefits can be — particularly when you look holistically at our many completed and ongoing projects.  Metrics like these are integral to the broader sustainability movement. Read more

Verdical Group’s Biggest Net Zero Conference Yet!

The time has come for Verdical Group’s 5th annual Net Zero Conference! Join our team, along with USGBC National, ILFI (International Living Future Institute), and other major players in the net zero realm for three days of workshops, tours, and sessions with the world’s foremost thought leaders. Read more

Are you ready for the VG Wellness Challenge? Lessons in health!

Welcome to Week 2 of the VG Wellness Challenge: Eat only vegetarian food!

If you’re just joining us now, read up on our Week 1 experience to see how we stayed on track to complete the Drinking Water Challenge.

The Verdical Group team and a few of our friends at LACI decided to challenge ourselves by taking one different wellness activity each week for five full weeks. Our first challenge for the week of Aug 6-12 was to meet our drinking water quantity targets as recommended by the U.S Institute of Medicine. The Institute recommends that women consume approximately 2.7 L (90 oz) and men 3.7 L (125 oz) of water per day. While these targets may seem pretty high for some, keep in mind that this is the amount of water consumed from multiple sources including drinking water, other beverages, and food (no, alcohol doesn’t count ;D). Read more

Getting the Gold in Green

Harbor UCLA Medical Center is a 570 bed teaching facility that serves the 700,000 people of the South Bay. The medical center has begun the process of overhauling its master plan in an attempt to improve overall performance. And with the 2028 Olympic games on the horizon — the facility will act as the health center for the 2028 Olympics — the medical center has decided to expedite this process.

RBB architects will be teaming up with your friendly neighborhood Verdical Group to tackle this undertaking. As part of the update, UCLA’s medical center is seeking to obtain certification in LEED v4 and Envision v3. Principles from SITES and WELL will be incorporated into the design, but certification for these will not be pursued.  Each of these certifications and considerations will offer various benefits to the hospital’s performance, preparing it for the games and long after.

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Building Better Businesses: Certified B Corporations

Verdical Group became a certified B Corporation in 2017.

It may seem that every day there is a new designation for products and companies that go above and beyond what is required of them. At Verdical Group, we think that is a good thing. B Laboratory, the nonprofit organization responsible for certifying B Corporations (B Corps), claims “B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk.” B Corp stands for Benefit Corporation, and B Lab strives to prove that businesses can pursue social justice, benefit the environment, and create an equitable organization, all while improving their financial success.  Read more

The Perlita Passive House Journey Part III: Green Building Certification

Part III:  Perlita House Green Building Certification

While we’re out here trying to beat the heat, construction on the Perlita Passive House continues on schedule. By now you’re familiar with the Perlita Passive House design process (and if not, you can read Part 1 and Part 2 to catch up) and have read that Verdical Group is leading the charge on the Project’s Living Building Challenge (LBC) Energy Petal Certification. But what does that really mean? Read more