June 2014


Innovations in Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety Solutions.

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Gina ElliottEMAIL INTERVIEWGina Elliott and Ken Sinclair

Gina Elliott, MBA, Smart Buildings, LLC

Director of Smart Buildings, LLC, Board of Directors Smart Buildings Institute, Past Chair of CABA Education Task Force and USGBC-NC Marketing Committee

What is the Smart Buildings Institute?

It is a nonprofit organization committed to advancing the expertise and knowledge in high performance building design and operation.

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SinclairWhat is the Smart Buildings Institute?

Elliott:  The short answer is it is a nonprofit organization committed to advancing the expertise and knowledge in high performance building design and operation.

Sinclair What does it offer?

Elliott:  The SBI offers onsite workshops and building certification.  Recently, we have added individual web-based classes.

SinclairHow did it start?

Elliott:  Working with Smart Buildings, LLC, we received almost daily emails from individuals and organizations requesting training or asking where they could find educational resources.  There had been several attempts in the past from large and small organizations but, as we know, a high performance building is more than HVAC, energy, facility management, audio/visual, etc...  It is almost impossible to have any existing organization focus on one specific building attribute and provide a comprehensive curriculum for a fast growing, innovative industry such as this. Under the SBI, organizations, associations and individuals can contribute to the advancement of the industry as there is an equal focus on all aspects.

SinclairHow is SBI Building Certification different from LEED certification?

Elliott:  Both certifications are concerned with the long-term impact of buildings on the environment.  However, LEED has focused primarily on sustainable construction and materials.  Smart Building certification is focused on tools and solutions that operate the building more efficiently and reduce environmental costs such as energy consumption. 

SinclairThe SBI has been around for a few years now.  How come I just recently heard about it? 

Elliott:  This is a large undertaking that requires a long-term commitment from everyone involved.  We wanted to get it right yet keep pace with the industry.  We have started small so that the SBI can be flexible and adaptable to change.  We started with just word of mouth for both building certification and education.   We have used social media to survey the audience as to their practical needs.  We started with private workshops to get feedback and fine-tune the education offering.

SinclairNow you are offering individual classes?

Elliott:  Yes.  Again, we are starting small with a few web-based classes to address immediate needs.  We hope to continue to grow with classes offered in every aspect of high performance building design and operation.

contemporary SinclairWhat is the long-term plan for SBI?

Elliott:  We would like to outpace industry trends with education and provide an advanced curriculum in both design and operation of high performance buildings.  We would like the organization to become a collaborative epicenter for sustainable invention and innovation across multiple industries and businesses.  SBI will continue to adhere to its roots as an unbiased, agnostic organization focused on meeting individual needs. And, of course, we hope to expand building certification around the globe.

SinclairHow can someone get involved with SBI?

Elliott:  Because the mission of SBI is to deliver non-specific vendor and manufacturer training, we do not accept sponsors or members.  The SBI is self-funded through its classes, workshops and building certification only.  As we grow, we will be adding to the Board as well as additional instructors.  We are always looking for volunteers to assist us with grant writing.  And, we are receptive to ideas to promote collaboration among organizations and industries.


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