Compass Coffee: A Sip of Sustainability

Owners Michael Haft (left) and Harrison Suarez (right) show off Compass’s refillable coffee canisters.
Owners Michael Haft (left) and Harrison Suarez (right) show off Compass’s refillable coffee canisters.

The Greenbuild Greening Committee is working with restaurants near the DC Convention Center to help them green their operations, with support from the DC Sustainable Energy Utility and the National Restaurant Association. This blog series highlights sustainable businesses that are participating in the program.

Compass Coffee offers DC coffee drinkers a sip of sustainability with their morning java. Owned and operated by a pair of former Marines, Compass Coffee has taken steps to make their operations efficient from beginning to end.

Compass Coffee proudly proclaims its “Made in DC” philosophy
Compass Coffee proudly proclaims its “Made in DC” philosophy

In the Beginning: Sourcing Sustainably

Compass Coffee follows a “Made in DC” philosophy that emphasizes locally produced – and delicious – food and drinks. Among the local offerings are salads from Glen’s Garden Market, sandwiches from Broodjes and Bier, and Thunderbeast root beer. For their coffee, which sadly doesn’t grow in DC, they work with small and medium-size farms in Central and South America and Africa.

From Bean to Brew: Efficient Operations

Compass Coffee prioritized water and energy efficiency in its operations. From its plentiful daylight to its LED-lit sign, Compass uses efficient lighting strategies. It also invested in an energy-efficient Loring coffee roaster that reduces emissions by 80%. A Nest thermostat cuts energy use by 15%, and water-saving fixtures in restrooms maximize water efficiency.

End of the Road: Taking Out the Trash

Compass Coffee’s LED-lit sign
Compass Coffee’s LED-lit sign

Compass Coffee employs several strategies to minimize the amount of waste its operations, and its customers, create. Many of its packaging

materials, including hot beverage cups with a minimum of 30% recycled fiber and cold cups that are compostable. Its signature coffee canisters, are recyclable. However, Compass hopes its canisters never reach the recycling bin, and offers customers a discount for refills with a reused canister. In-store, Compass composts its used coffee grounds.

Compass Coffee is located at 1535 7th St NW, approximately an 8-minute walk from the DC Convention Center. You can connect with Compass Coffee on social media at @compasscoffeedc.

 Learn more about green venues and services in D.C., as well as other restaurants taking part in the Greenbuild Greening Committee’s sustainability program.

Greenbuild Greening Sub-Committee Co-Chairs

Allison Porter, LEED AP, Vice President, Sustainability Services, Cushman & Wakefield

Takehiro Nakamura, LEED AP BD+C, Associate, Perkins Eastman

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The World’s Tallest Passive House: Lessons Learned

Lois Arena
Senior Mechanical Engineer at Steven Winter Associates, Inc

In 2011, Cornell University had ambitious plans for sustainability including a net-zero academic building and a campus microgrid. Developers came up with a plan to build a high rise residential tower designed to Passive House standards, which will house students and faculty members. With 26 stories and over 350 apartments it will be the largest and tallest Passive House building in the world. We asked Greenbuild session presenter, Lois Arena, to tell us about session C07: The World’s Tallest Passive House: Lessons Learned.

GB: What makes you an expert in this area?

LA: I possess over 5 years experience as a PH consultant, and have certified 7 projects to date.  I am currently working on more than 1/2 dozen large scale PH projects in the Northeast.

GB: Why is the topic of your session important?

LA: This project is the first of its kind.  It is a 26 story, high rise apartment building with over 352 apartments.  When completed and verified, it will be the tallest and largest PH building in the world.  Because of this, the project team has learned valuable information of implementing PH on a large scale.  Sharing this information will be beneficial to the entire building community.

GB: Why should Greenbuild attendees attend YOUR session specifically?

LA: This session will provide perspectives from the developers, architect and consultant, creating a very rounded view of what it takes to apply the PH standard on a large scale.

GB: What’s the most interesting experience you’ve had in the green building/sustainability world?

LA: Entering the PH realm has really been the most interesting experience.  Being so new to the US, the standard is actually ahead of available technology, creating the need for some very creative thinking.  In the five years I’ve been consulting on this standard, I have seen the influx of new, high efficiency products soar, as well as the number of building professionals who are embracing this level of efficiency.  It’s a very exciting time for the energy efficient building sector.

Chris Garvin Partner, Terrapin Bright Green
Chris Garvin
Partner, Terrapin Bright Green

Greenbuild Program Working Group member, Chris Garvin, Partner, Terrapin Bright Green says that this session is interesting because “As we work on strategies to achieve 80% GHG reduction by 2050, projects like this dormitory on Roosevelt Island are critical examples of where the industry needs to quickly move. I also love the integration of building science with construction, something we see too little in our industry.”


Luke Falk

Assistant Vice President at Related Companies

New York, New York

Arianna Sacks Rosenberg

Senior Project Manager at The Hudson Companies Inc.

New York, New York

Deborah Moelis

Senior Associate at Handel Architects

New York, New York


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‘The Wire’ to Watershed: Sparking Change in Baltimore

JoAnn Trach Tongson
Associate Principal at Mahan Rykiel Associates

When in an area that is known for crime, drugs and depopulation, how do you stress the importance of ecological efforts to improve that area?

In Baltimore’s highly impervious, economically depressed areas stormwater retrofit was used as a means of ecological enhancement and community building.  A collaborative effort focused on stormwater improvements shows results beyond the federal mandates for pollutant removal indicating increased community satisfaction, public education, and community engagement.

According to Tongson, session presenter for D08: ‘The Wire’ to Watershed: Sparking Change in Baltimore says “Working as a Landscape Architect for over 25 years in designing spaces for people and for environmental enhancements has been tremendous education to then design space for environmental enhancement that serves as spaces for people.  The urban environment is fertile ground for challenging one to do the highest good for the largest audience.”

She says that this session is of great importance to draw attention to the need for community engagement and the need to meet and exceed environmental regulations.  “In an urban area it is critical that the two coexist and support one another.  Providing the voice for communities that are recipients and caretakers of the improvements is critical for both to thrive.”

Tongson says you should attend this session because “It will leave you with the desire to B’More than you are told you can be, to B’Mo

Kim Ilardi Senior Industry Specialist, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company
Kim Ilardi
Senior Industry Specialist, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company

re focused on communities, to educate you about the great things happening in Baltimore (B’More). Plus, the attendees will get to laugh a little, cry a little.  It will be better than Cats.”

Kim Ilardi, Program Working Group member, says she’s looking forward to the program because “I think Baltimore often gets a bad wrap, I’m really looking forward to hearing some of the positive things going on in this amazing city.  Being part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the city has a huge responsibility to make sure they are protecting it.”

Session Presenters

Steven Preston

Green Infrastructure Project Manager at Parks & People Foundation

Baltimore, MD

Morgan Grove

Research Scientist / Team Leader at USDA Forest Service

Baltimore, MD

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An Insider’s Guide to Optimizing the Value of NZE Buildings

By Timothy P. Runde


Timothy P. Runde Real Estate Appraiser and Consultant/Partner at Carneghi and Partners, Inc.
Timothy P. Runde
Real Estate Appraiser and Consultant/ Partner at Carneghi and Partners, Inc.

NZE buildings present a compelling value premise but obtaining financing isn’t always easy.  In Greenbuild session D01: An Insider’s Guide to Optimizing the Value of NZE Buildings, we will help you learn what financing teams look at when evaluating NZE projects and gain insider tips about what you can do to maximize your project’s chances for success from a valuation expert.

Why am I an expert on this subject? I have 25+ years of hands-on valuation experience with an emphasis on incorporating green building and sustainability into the financing process.  I have valued numerous NZE buildings and can help designers and architects understand what they need to communicate to the financing team so that the value of the project is realized.

Very little gets built without financing or the buy-in of the financing team of a project.  Bridging the gap between those in design and those in finance is essential to making sure worthy projects get financed and built.

A lot of sessions teach us how to design and build better buildings, but few sessions like this one teach us how to navigate the so-called sustainability “Valley of Death”.  No matter how great your project is, if the financing falls through, it won’t be built.  Get insider tips to move your project from concept to completion to successful lease up.


Bill Worthen Founding Principal, Urban Fabrick, Inc.
Bill Worthen
Founding Principal, Urban Fabrick, Inc.

According to Program Working Group member, Bill Worthen, Founding Principal, Urban Fabrick, Inc., “This session is a sleeper. – Timothy Runde is one of the few commercial real estate appraisers have met that can explain, in a fun and interesting way, what the asset value of sustainable design really means. Not all green features and certainly not all LEED credit requirements add to the asset value of the buildings we design. This session connects the dots between design value and asset value.”

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The Wisdom to Survive

GB15_Wisdom2SurviveThe Ninth Annual Greenbuild International Film Festival will be held Wednesday, Nov. 18 – Thursday, Nov. 19 10:00am – 5:00pm. This festival features documentaries, films, and informational videos that promotes innovative green building practices and address social, environmental, and health topics related to the built environment. Below, we hear the backstory of one of this year’s featured films The Wisdom to Survive. Filmmaker Anne Macksoud describes why the subject of climate change is so compelling to her and her partner John Ankele as artists and their desire to engage and educate the world on this issue.

The mission of Old Dog Documentaries (as stated in a tag-line on our website) is: “Educating for Social Justice”.  Of course this could mean any number of things, but for me it has meant co-producing films (with my partner John Ankele) that show the negative impact of US policy on the people of the Global South.  We have made films about Industrial Farming and the Politics of Food, about the Arms Industry selling weapons all over the world, about impoverished coffee farmers in Costa Rica, and about Poverty and AIDS in Africa.  In 2010, after reading Bill McKibben’s book, Eaarth,  Making a Life on a Tough New Planet,     we realized that the issue of Climate Change (an issue we had not focused on) includes all of the social justice issues we had been making films about for almost 30 years. We also realized those issues can no longer be addressed without addressing Climate Change.  For the next 2 years, we turned our full attention to this subject.  We wanted to make a film that would call people to action, as McKibben’s book had called us.  We wanted a film that would tell the dire truth about climate science and at the same time inspire people with hope – not a hope that everything will be OK, but that they will be OK if they get involved in local action and become part of the growing citizen’s climate movement, which is reminiscent of the civil rights movement.

In Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, the main character and narrator, Celie, says this:
“…But one day when I was sitting quiet and feeling like a motherless child, which I was, it come to me: that feeling of being part of everything, not separate at all.  I knew that if I cut a tree, my arm would bleed. And I laughed and cried and I run all around the house…”

Alice Walker says it perfectly for me; what is happening to the natural world is actually happening to me – to all of us.  Our film, The Wisdom to Survive, attempts to help viewers be more aware of this connection, so that they set about finding solutions that will skillfully (and quickly) address what is happening to our world.

John and I have been to dozens of screenings of this film and it seems, in the Q&A sessions that follow the screening, different people are taking away different things.  For me, the takeaway is a heightened realization of how beautiful this world is and how much I love it.  Buddhist Eco-Feminist Joanna Macy says it best at the end of the film, “…you are born into this world, and you’re here to LOVE it and to see that it goes on.”

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MADE at TalentFX: Becoming a Community Change-maker

Author: Chi Chi TruongTalentFX

TalentFX is returning to Greenbuild 2015 taking place in Washington, DC. This cutting edge program features a direct line to master speakers in an intimate setting, offers amazing opportunities to connect with your peers and leaders in the green building industry, and access to invaluable career advice! We could brag about how awesome TalentFX 2015 is going to be all day long, but why take our word for it? Below, Chi Chi Truong, a past TalentFX presenter, shares his story on how his experience lead to deeper collaboration for community impact.

“You are the future leaders of [insert issue or cause]!” said every speaker that has stood before you.

“Change the world! Make a difference!” These were your calls to action when growing up. But how does one go about effecting change?

For as long as I can remember, I was always involved in the community or in after-school activities – sports, academic clubs, performance groups – you name it, I was probably in it! #overachiever

I looked to continue that trajectory post-college graduation by joining the U.S. Green Building Council in 2010. I wanted to apply my growing leadership skills to my new responsibilities as the local Emerging Professionals chair and a National Chair for the University Students program. We partnered with Paradise Key, FIU School of Architecture, Love the Everglades, Waste Management, and many others to organize eco-fashion shows that got people to re-purpose waste into something creative and interesting. We won grants with Net Impact, AIA Young Architects Forum, Catalyst Miami, ULI Young Leaders, and over 30 other organizations to host a public space festival to encourage local residents to activate and revitalize our downtown corridor.

I had a talent of bringing groups of people together and uniting them under a common cause.  I also had an amazing team around me without whom none of this would be possible. But in a community with so many issues, so many organizations, and so many events, it was a challenge to get people to care. As successful as we were, it was not without its share of tumultuous frustrations to get there and to get people engaged.

Jump forward to Greenbuild New Orleans 2014. I was invited to present at TalentFX to share my experiences on community collaboration and how to build support for a project through key and strategic partnerships. Afterwards, I stuck around to answer some questions and speak with people in the audience as well as my fellow presenters. We discovered that many of us have had similar experiences in the community projects where our biggest challenge was getting people to join the effort.

In the following months, I was elected as the president for the USGBC Miami branch where I now had to host and organize these community programs and projects on a monthly basis. Amazingly, a few people approached me with a few ideas and programs that they were working on that they wanted to partner with USGBC on. When I had asked them how they found out about me, they mentioned that a friend of theirs saw my presentation at TalentFX; what a small world. As we began to curate programs together and engage other community stakeholders, more and more organizations began approaching us to partner and collaborate.

It’s one thing to be successful at creating successful projects, but it’s another to make people aware of what you’ve done. Often times we’re afraid of coming off as arrogant if we talk about our accomplishments. But TalentFX is a platform to do just that – to share your achievements and experiences, to celebrate your successes, and to connect with other like-minded community changemakers.


Get on the list for TalentFX announcements and updates here.

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Greenbuild’s 2015 International Summit: Connecting for positive change

GRB15_Summit_logos2Nicolette Mueller

“Today, we are more connected than ever, better informed than ever, and have better tools than ever.  The recipes for positive change are on the table; the ingredients for success are in our hands.”

-Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, 70th Session of the UN General Assembly

At the Greenbuild International Summit, representatives from over 80 nations come together because we see our world as one world.  We see our challenges as common among our countries and communities.  And we see our ideas as valuable, applicable, replicable and worth sharing.  This year, the International Summit is the place where we connect the dots between climate change, finance, policy, industry, resource security, practice and innovation.

The International Summit brings five global issues to the table:


* Water

* Finance

* Energy

* Equity

These are the global, regional and local challenges that we face as a green building community.  This year Greenbuild brings visionaries, leaders and changemakers from around the world to speak to these issues and share ideas and best practice.  The attendees from the 80+ countries who are coming to the Summit represent policy makers, practitioners, manufactures, and financiers.  No matter what your background, the International Summit is the place to find the common thread that links our issues, our solutions and our work.

Here are some of the highlights and headlines from the International Summit:

China Development Bank – one of the most powerful banks in the world is backing sustainability and encouraging integrated design and design making.  The China Development Bank is the largest funder of real estate development in a country in the midst of the urbanization at an incredible pace and scale.  Learn how they are applying principles of sustainability to their investments and working to increase the capacity of builders and industry to delivery high performance, green buildings.

E.ON is a German-based utility currently taking major steps to generate and distribute renewable energy. In a world where buildings aim for net-zero energy, customers ask for energy that is both renewable and reliable, and the relationship between the customer and the utility is evolving, innovation and major change is on the horizon. Hear from private and public sector leaders about the challenges and new approaches to generating and managing energy in a rapidly changing environment.

Mexico’s mega city capital is becoming a mecca for alternative transportation.   Tanja Muller Garcia, Minister of the Environment for Mexico City will discuss how her megacity is working to promote sustainable public and alternative transportation, and transit-oriented growth.  From popular bike share programs, to buses, trains, to walkable communities, Mexico City is transforming. This is big news for developers of residential, commercial and retail space in this thriving city.

Claim your seat today for the International Summit.  We have the tools, the recipes and the resources.  What we need, is you.



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Greening DC’s Restaurants for Greenbuild

Sustainable DiningEach year, the Greenbuild Greening Subcommittee’s mission is to ensure that Greenbuild creates lasting change in its host cities. For this year’s Greenbuild in DC, the Greening Subcommittee chose to focus on restaurants. We’ve got a 3-part approach: offer solutions to restaurants’ sustainability challenges, recognize restaurants that implement green practices, and connect Greenbuild attendees with nearby eateries and watering holes that share their environmental commitment.

Our first step was to reach out to nearly 100 restaurants located near the DC Convention Center. At each stop, we educated the restaurant owners and managers about Greenbuild, asked about their sustainability practices and challenges, and invited them to opt-in to our resource-sharing program. It took some pretty dedicated volunteers to sign up to survey restaurants on hot June and July days!

Our fact-finding expedition revealed some interesting – and unexpected – feedback. One of the areas where we thought restaurants would need a lot of help was in phasing out Styrofoam take-out containers, in advance of a DC-wide ban going into effect in January 2016. Surprise! Most of the businesses we surveyed had already given Styrofoam the boot. Rather, we learned, one of the main challenges the restaurants faced was finding a reliable organization to haul away food waste for compost. Many of the restaurateurs were interested in learning how to advocate to the DC government to make compost pickup a municipal service!

Stay tuned to the blog for profiles of some of DC’s greenest restaurants, courtesy of the Greening Committee! Also coming soon is a list of restaurants that have agreed to be part of our program and have shown improvement through implementing sustainable practices.


Greenbuild Greening Sub-Committee Co-Chairs

Allison Porter, LEED AP, Vice President, Sustainability Services, Cushman & Wakefield

Takehiro Nakamura, LEED AP BD+C, Associate, Perkins Eastman

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MADE at TalentFX: How Greenbuild jump-started my career

by Tiffany Pupa

This is the entrance to Hall A at tne New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on January 30, 2013. Copyright Kathy Anderson Photography
This is the entrance to Hall A at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on January 30, 2013. Copyright Kathy Anderson Photography

TalentFX is returning to Greenbuild 2015 taking place in Washington, DC. This cutting edge program features a direct line to master speakers in an intimate setting, offers amazing opportunities to connect with your peers and leaders in the greenbuilding industry, and access to invaluable career advice! We could brag about how awesome TalentFX 2015 is going to be all day long, but why take our word for it? Below, Tiffany Pupa, a past TalentFX and Greenbuild attendee, shares her story on how her experience changed her life for the better.

TalentFX at Greenbuild in New Orleans, 2014 was so impactful it altered my career path. Initially attracted to the idea of getting out of the Michigan weather, heading south, & eating beignets on Bourbon Street, I found networking with the professionals & hearing panels discussions on sustainability exciting & magnetic.

Benefits of attending Greenbuild as a student are many and varied. You will be exposed to current industry information and green building trends. I was most impacted and inspired by the information about designing and building  biophilic cities. I had read about biophilia, our innate affinity for natural environments, in my textbooks, but I was unaware of the range of applications. Hearing the professional discussion on the topic got me hooked. I have since incorporated biophilic design into my academic research at the university level.

As valuable the presentations are, the most impactful experience at Greenbuild is being amongst the leaders of the green movement at TalentFX. There is a special energy created when people from across the globe who share the same passion assemble. Having the opportunity to meet and share ideas with these individuals in an open forum has not only broadened my network, but has given me confidence in my career decisions. It is evident how meaningful our work is. TalentFX at Greenbuild is the perfect platform for igniting a sense of curiosity that will take you to greater levels in your future career.

Get on the list for TalentFX announcements and updates here.

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Session Spotlight: Creating Living, Regenerative Environments

lenses-circleGreen building and sustainable development are doing more to shift away from a “less bad” approach toward a wholly positive, benefit creation approach, or regeneration.. B04: Creating Living, Regenerative Environments explains how LENSES (Living Environments in Natural, Social, and Economic Systems) is designed to support projects seeking positive change.

Brian Dunbar, session presenter, says “This topic is so important because leaders in the green building and sustainable development fields must discover ways to repair, restore, and regenerate our environment, our cultures, and our economies for the health of our living planet.” The session will highlight information gathered through the Institute for the Built Environment’s research and development efforts since 2007. Their LENSES Framework has been recognized and published widely since 2010.

But where does LENSES fit in? LENSES is a tool that brings together holistic, outside-the-box brainstorming facilitating regenerative solutions quickly. It dovetails perfectly with USGBC/Greenbuild/LEED toward embracing living environments that celebrate happier people, a healthier planet, and financial abundance.

Annette Stelmack, Greenbuild Program Working Group member, says “LENSES facilitates whole systems thinking, inspires creativity, and develops team capacity to go beyond doing less bad to creating abundance.” So what makes this session the one to attend? Stelmack says that this session will offer a unique, fresh approach and content with dynamic presenters. “It will be inspirational, informative and fun!”

Josie Plaut, session presenter and one of the founding developers of the LENSES Framework wants people to attend this to “break out of the checklist mindset and discover a process-based approach to cultivate the will and understanding for regenerative projects.” Plaut states “It’s time to move beyond being less bad to creating health and vitality within ourselves, our communities, and our world.”

When asked about the importance on this topic, Stacey McMahan, session presenter provided “While USGBC and LEED has led a paradigm shift toward healthier and more resource-efficient materials, systems and buildings, the process is still degenerative. Thinkers and designers need to find proficiency in creating environments that are ultimately well-rounded givers instead of takers.”

Max Zahniser, presenter, says the session will provide an opportunity “to explore another critical dimension to sustainability and green building that holds the key to our overall success in cultivating a sustainable future. As well as the nature of that new dimension and processes unlock real potential.”

Stelmack concludes by saying “It’s all about embracing living environments that celebrates happier people, a healthier planet, and financial abundance.”


B04 Presenters:

Brian Dunbar

Executive Director at Institute for the Built Environment

Fort Collins, Colorado

Max Zahniser

Founder & CEO / Founder & ED at Praxis / Sustainability Nexus

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Josie Plaut

Executive Director at CLEAR

Fort Collins, Colorado

Stacey McMahan

Sr Architect/Principal at Koch Hazard Architects

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Annette Stelmack

Principal Design Cosultant, Inspirit – LLC

Lousville, Colorado


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