Accelerating Sustainability with CIRS

Yesterday was the official opening of the Center for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The CIRS building is one of the most innovative high performance facilities in North America that will embody green building design best practices and foster research and collaboration on sustainability solutions.

CIRS inside and out photo credit: Don Erhardt    CIRS at UBC photo credit: Don Erhardt

The grand opening of CIRS coincided with the inaugural Celebrating CIRS | Accelerating Sustainability conference, with renowned speakers such as David Suzuki and Steve Rayner (Thursday opening keynote sponsored by Cisco, introduced by Kegan Adams).

The conference brought together a wide range of industry experts with a vested interest in the adoption of sustainable practices for the creation of next generation buildings and communities. There were three complimentary themes throughout the conference with in-depth breakout sessions on each of them.

The first theme discussed the notion of regenerative buildings and regeneration at a community scale. Regenerative design follows “cradle-to-cradle” processes that “restore, renew or revitalize their own sources of energy and materials, and therefore creating sustainable systems that integrate the needs of society with the integrity of nature”. The second theme dealt with the notion that we have to engage the public and wider eco-system of  stakeholders to drive optimized results and continues performance improvements. It’s where buildings and their users work in harmony, where we achieve greatest sustainability.

Lastly, the third theme recognized that if we want to accelerate sustainability, we have to build new partnerships and create a platform of innovation. Albert Einstein once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.  If we really want to drive (and accelerate) sustainability, we have to change the way we do things—starting with process, people and behavior.

Cisco is a proud partner of UBC and CIRS and we are looking forward to our collaboration in search of improved, optimized, and accelerated sustainability. If you want to find out how Cisco and our IP Networks can help make your business, buildings and communities greener, please come and visit our website.

About Rick Huijbregts

Rick Huijbregts is Vice President of Industry Transformation where he is responsible for Cisco Canada’s IoE strategy and industry business development. The members of his team are industry subject matter experts and each engage in the transformation of their respective industries (healthcare, oil and gas, financial services, education, real estate, and industrial sector). Huijbregts is also General Manager for Cisco Canada’s Smart + Connected Communities practice, including Smart + Connected Real Estate. Huijbregts holds construction and architecture degrees from Tilburg Polytechnic University and Delft University in the Netherlands, and a doctorate from Harvard University. Huijbregts is currently a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Design Executive Education where he teaches classes on Smart Buildings and Smart Cities. He also serves on several boards of Canadian academic institutions and not-for-profits. Rick Huijbregts est vice-président de la transformation sectorielle dont les responsabilités comptent la stratégie de l’internet multidimensionnel et le développement commercial du secteur industriel de Cisco Canada. Les membres de son équipe sont tous des experts dans différents domaines et œuvrent à la transformation de leurs secteurs d’activité respectifs (santé, énergie, services financiers, enseignement, immobilier et industrie). Huijbregts est également directeur général du segment des communautés intelligentes et connectées, dont le volet immotique des immeubles intelligents et connectés de Cisco Canada. M. Huijbregts est titulaire de diplômes en construction et architecture de l’université Tilburg Polytechnic et de l’université Delft aux Pays-Bas ainsi que d’un doctorat de l’université Harvard. Il est actuellement professeur de Harvard à la faculté d’études supérieures pour les cadres en aménagement urbain où il donne des cours sur la gestion intelligente des immeubles et des villes. Il siège également à plusieurs conseils d’administration d’universités et d’organismes à but non lucratif.
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