In the late 70’s Jonathan Rose became accustomed to receiving blank stares.
When he visited lumber yards, he’d want to know where a piece of wood came from. The employees would tell him to go to the lumber manufacturer and this same scene would then play out with a number of manufacturers.
“You couldn’t be energy efficient,” Rose says. “On the materials side and design side green standards were nonexistent. It was hard to try and be in green in a construction world that didn’t have green standards.”
So, Rose set about to fix that problem, looking for ways to organize information about green building practices and products. But until the U.S. Green Building Council introduced Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), it was difficult to get very far.
“There was no framework before LEED to figure this out,” Rose says. “When LEED came out, it was transformational. All of a sudden there was a framework that organized one’s thinking about what the categories were that made up green building.”
The only hole in USGBC’s platform was green multifamily and affordable housing. The Enterprise Green Communities program filled this role by providing a framework and resources for those looking to build environmentally friendly, affordable homes.
“That has transformed the affordable housing world,” Rose says. “It means almost all new affordable housing is being built green because so many cities and states are requiring that as part of financing.”
Rose helped to mold the Enterprise program by serving on their board and designing and developing projects that shaped best practices in green building, according to Thomas Osdoba, vice president of green initiatives for Enterprise Community Partners.
“Jonathan Rose has been extremely active in supporting not only green building in general but the green communities program in general since its’ inception,” he says.
The next evolution in the sharing of green knowledge, in Rose’s eyes, is USGBC’s Greenbuild, which draws attendees throughout the world and manufacturers of all sizes.
“In a few days, it’s a really deep dive into green building,” Rose says. “You get a general sense of what the state of art is and what the state of the materials are.”
Last year, Paseo Verde, Rose’s 120-unit, 300,000 square feet LEED Platinum building next to the Temple University Train Station was featured on the Greenbuild tour. For, Shelley Poticha, urban solutions program director at Natural Resources Council, it’s appropriate that one of Rose’s properties would play a feature role at a green building conference.
“Jonathan has always been a bleeding-edge developer who promotes the best green practices,” says Poticha, who also served as director of HUD's Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities. “His projects really are about making high quality places for people to live. And he does that by incorporating some really cutting edge environmental strategies that are both about the building itself being as green and healthy as possible and making a healthy place for people to live.”