What does sex have to do with sustainability? This is a question posed by a new book coming out called Women in Green: Voices of Sustainable Design. It’s an issue that resonates heavily with the staff at Inhabitat – an organization that is 90% female. Despite the fact that architecture, building and construction have long been male-dominated fields, a lot of women are joining the sustainable design movement and we are wondering what this means… Are women more interested in environmentalism in general? Or is there something about the confluence of design and environmentalism that particularly appeals to women?

This past week at GreenBuild, between listening to case studies, industry announcements, and navigating the exhibit hall, we found this issue was brewing at one of the conference’s best sessions. Kira Gould and Lance Hosey, the authors of the aforementioned book, moderated a panel by the same name, which came on the heels of an all white male opening plenary. Those who gathered to listen and contribute, including about 20 percent men, were in a unique moment of many perspectives. Industry-leading greenbuilders told real stories—touching stories of battles and successes. And gender discussions turned to all things diversity, with calls to make green building more accessible to all.

Women in Green: Voices of Sustainable Design, Ecotone, Kira Gould, Lance Hosey, Gail Lindsey, Susan MaxmanModerator Kira Gould with panelists Gail Lindsey, Susan Maxman

Gould, a writer with Gould Evans in Boston, also sits on the AIA’s Committee on the Environment advisory board. Hosey is a designer with William McDonough + Partners in Charlottesville, VA. The book is due out this spring. Check it out at Ecotone Publishing.

Panelists included Gail Lindsey, a long-time green building all-star who operates her own consulting firm in Wake Forest, NC. Lindsey has been involved in the USGBC’s efforts from the beginning, and has helped to green the White House, Pentagon and National Parks. Kath Williams runs her sustainability practice from Bozeman, MT, speaks internationally, and has sat on the boards of both USGBC and the World Green Building Council. Susan Maxman, principal of her design firm in Philadelphia, PA, was the first female President of the American Institute of Architects, in 1993, and has also served as chair of the The Urban Land Institute’s Environmental Council. And Dianne Dillon Ridgely, director at Interface, Inc. in Atlanta, GA, was a member of the U.S. delegation to the 1992 UNCED Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.

Women in Green, Greenbuild Denver, Green female designers, Women Greenbuilders