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What’s Next for the Building Innovation Hub

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Theresa Backhus, Director of the Building Innovation Hub

As the new Director of the Building Innovation Hub, I am responsible for setting the direction, and for communicating it to everyone who is part of our work. I feel a special obligation to continue the excellent work of my predecessor, Lindsey Falasca, who launched the Hub two years ago, and who is now helping the White House advance building performance nationally.

My vision for the Hub is to build on the excellent progress we made under her leadership by expanding who we serve and what we can offer. Ultimately, buildings are meant to serve people. They are places where we can work, live, and play in safety and in connection with others. That’s why the Hub is focused on the intersection of building performance and community.

One project I’m very proud of is our work on Success with BEPS, a program that has supported more than 100 buildings in understanding DC’s Building Energy Performance Standard by offering benchmarking data review, and connecting building owners and operators to resources at DCSEU, DOEE, and to the Retrofit Accelerator.

Another component of success is a workforce that can support high-performing buildings, and that means training people and connecting them to jobs in the community that support buildings in the community. In particular, we need to focus on creating jobs for people and for small businesses that have been excluded from opportunities, so that we move toward an equitable clean energy and buildings economy.

We also need to prepare our industry to electrify, and to rapidly scale up decarbonization and net zero energy so we can meet DC’s—and the region’s—climate goals, and the goal every human on this planet shares: having a stable ecosystem that can provide for us and for future generations

To this end, the Hub is supporting great work happening not only in the District of Columbia, but in Montgomery County and Prince George’s County in Maryland, and also in Virginia. Our vision is to one day be a regional Hub, elevating all the great work happening right here, and demonstrating to the nation and the world what is possible for the built environment.

Of course, none of this would be possible without support. I deeply appreciate our Advisory Board members, the Hub members, DOEE, DCSEU, DC Green Bank, Emerald Cities Collaborative, HAND, and all the private sector partners who helped us administer support services and create resources.

I encourage those who have not yet joined as a member to consider it, and those who have not yet shared their successes and challenges to do so. The Hub is meant to be an evolving entity, guided by people who are living the change every day, experiencing the challenges and rewards of this moment. Please email me your thoughts.

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