Keoni Fleming is the Sustainability
Manager for DesignGroup, an architectural firm in Columbus, Ohio. Fleming was
the speaker as part of a recent lecture series sponsored by the Aetna building
maintenance group along with the Marshall University Sustainability Department.
The talk focused on what sustainability really is and what its benefits
actually are. Fleming said he’s noticing more and more businesses, universities
and people taking sustainability seriously.
“I think college students are very well
informed and generally care. I think among the general public people care about
specific things and they start to make the connections. Energy prices are such
that people start to think about how can I keep energy costs down on their
houses,” Fleming said.
As the DesignGroup’s Sustainability
Manager, Fleming focuses on the integration of sustainable design into all
areas of the firm’s design processes. He’s worked on sustainable projects for buildings
in higher education, libraries and healthcare.
Keoni works as the main
connection for the firm in LEED certification, which is Leadership in Energy
and Environmental Design. LEED certification is done by the U.S. Green Building
Council. The certification illustrates that the building is taking
sustainability and energy efficiency seriously. Fleming said things are
“When we first started doing LEED
buildings like five or six years ago, the contractor would hear the word LEED
or sustainable and add 10 or 15 percent to the cost, but these days most
contractors we see who bid on our jobs actually have LEED accredited people on
their staff and they’re very much engaged and involved and a part of it,”
Fleming says there are many changes that
can be made in construction or renovation of a building by simply using energy
efficient windows and heating and cooling technologies. Fleming says using the
direction of the sun to help heat and using solar power to help power the
buildings is helpful. He said you most often see universities and
businesses looking at LEED certification.
“Generally I think educational and
public institutions are leading the way and partly, it is because there is a
little bit of cost there, so I think that businesses tend to look at the numbers
and question whether they want to do that, but it’s changing really quickly,” Fleming
Marshall is working on making the Applied
Engineering Complex a LEED Certified building. It’s not been built yet. Senior
Vice President for Administration Karen Kirtley said it’s important to the
university to attain LEED status.
“It’s one of the things that our
President was very interested in and that was at the forefront of the
conversation when we started the Biotechnology Incubator Applied Engineering,”
Margie Phillips is the Sustainability
Manager at Marshall and said she hoped that people that left the lecture
realized sustainability is about changing life.
“I think what they’re going to come back
with from today is that they’re actually going to actually know what
sustainability is, and one of the things I try to teach to people about
sustainability is that it’s a lifestyle change, It’s looking at what you do in
your business, how you can change it to look more green and how to help the
environment,” Phillips said.
“From the response we’ve had from the attendees,
they’ve been very excited about these lecture series and the topics we’ve
presented so far, so I think it is a mind change they’re looking at and they’re
interested in how they can incorporate sustainability into their businesses and
it’s been very beneficial to them.”
Fleming is also an adjunct faculty
member at the Knowlton School of Architecture at the Ohio State University
where he teaches design.